Why are kimonos never padded, despite the cold winters?
Peasants did wear padded kimonos, but all the traditional clothes that are still popular are high status upper class ones
Why do kimono have those squares that hang under the arms?
Although you can use them for pockets, it is mainly just a result of the way a kimono is made, from 4 rectangular sections of equal width cut from the same long piece of cloth.
Why is the obi (belt) worn so high?
“[It] gives the illusion of a silhouette with longer legs” Kimono by Sophie Milenovich
Why do formal kimonos have such long sleeves?
As “so as not to be hampered in their movements,peasants and fishermen in the old days wore working kimonos with sleeves tapered round the wrist” (Kimono by Sophie Milenovich) , the impracticality of the long sleeves makes a point about the specialness of the occasion and the wealth of the family that can support a daughter who doesn’t work, however temporarily
Why long sleeved kimono for unmarried women and short sleeved for women?
The possibilities are: the impracticality of long sleeves in contrast to the work-like short sleeves is a way of looking lady like and showing your status, or unmarried women needing to cover themselves more
Why are obi (帯- kimono belts) tied at the back?
It proves you can afford someone to tie it for you, and it further demphasizes curves
Why are kimonos still popular? Second attempt
The fact that there are strict rules and someone at the hairdressers or kimono shop to explain them to you means it’s a safer choice with less chance of faux pas than, for example, a dress
Why would a group of fashion obsessed teenagers want to call themselves”yamamba”(old mountain hags)?
Why was it specifically Louis Vuitton that the Japanese went so crazy for?
Why did some geta (下駄-wooden clogs) have only one thin “heel” like stilts?
It made walking in mountains easier
Why do Japanese construction workers wear baggy trousers? Don’t they get in the way?
Apparently that is the point. By being unwieldy and easy to catch on things they are supposed to make the people wearing them move more carefully.
Why are multi toed socks (like gloves for your feet) popular in Japan?
It’s a fairly obvious step from traditional tabi socks- worn with just the big toe separate to make it possible to wear them with geta (wooden sandals). It also ties in with the unabashed Japanese love of comforting stuff like cute cartoon characters, heated kotatsu tables and “healing” music
Why do the Japanese reuse their brand goods paper carrier bags?
It’s an Asian thing, but not sure why.
Why do the Japanese wear such dull business clothes?
It’s partly not wanting to stand out and partly a class- even more than other countries bright colours and flashy clothes are restricted to the mafia and nouveau riche and their wannabes.
Why have kimonos stayed popular when other traditional clothes such as monpe pants have disappeared or become restricted to folk festivals?
Monpe pants, for example, were a sign of poverty and are particularly associated with the restrictions of WWII and the post war period, so people got rid of them as soon as they could afford to. Kimono, in contrast, have always been a status symbol like tatami, Japanese gardens etc. In fact many working class families have not been able to afford to buy real kimono for non-ceremonial occasions until quite recently.
Why did the samurai topknot hairstyle disappear?
Apparently the first impetus to cut off the topknot (just the same as the start of wearing Western clothes and eating Western food) came from the Meiji period conscription army that replaced the samurai class. As the topknot would not fit under western-style military hats and helmets it had to be cut off. This was spread slowly to the rest of the country by a government campaign to get rid of all traditions (also spitting, mixed bathing etc) that could make foreigners think the Japanese were “uncivilized” and so extend the amount of time the Japanese had to suffer under the indignity of the same “unequal treaties” on trade that the Japanese had forced on the Koreans.
Why do young Japanese guys have such girly haircuts etc?
Just like the UK in the 70’s, when macho guys started wearing high heels and make up, the main male fashion leaders in Japan are gay but not out.
Why are there so many hair care products for men?
It could be because other parts of a school kid’s or businessman’s appearance is so standardized that it is the only part they feel they can express themselves in. There is also the factor that looking older than your age with grey hair etc. in a seniority-based system can make it look like you have been passed over for promotion.
Why do some men hold handbags?
While this is well passed its peak (in one survey in the bubble years “office ladies” voted it the single most annoying thing about their male colleagues), you do still see it amongst those who haven’t realized the 80s is over yet. The fashion reasons were copying everything that happens in Italy and many of the male fashion role models being gay and (needless to say in Japan) not out. The practical reason could be that it is rude to carry a big bag like a backpack in a busy train, and absolutely taboo to leave it on your back.
Why do some middle aged guys still wear white fluffy socks and slip on shoes long after the 80’s are over?
The slip on shoes do have a practical purpose, seeing as you have to take them off several times a day at home, in Japanese style bars etc, but the main reason could be that the Japanese, Chinese and Indian factories that were making these products for the European market in the 80’s are now flooding the Japanese market with very cheap ones now that it has died a death in the UK etc. (they are also east to spot in India and Korea).
Why has the kimono stayed popular while other traditional clothes like monpe baggy pants or jimbei jackets have disappeared or been limited to summer festivals?
In fact, for many Japanese families the years since the amazing growth of the economy is the only time they have been able to afford decent kimono, so it is a real status symbol to wear one.
Why did Japanese women blacken their teeth and why did they stop doing it?
Showing your white teeth was thought to be like showing the white of your bones. The blackening liquid was also thought to preserve the teeth. The practice was outlawed in the Meiji era in order to not offend foreign visitors or more generally to gain their acceptance as a Westernized and therefore equal nation.
Why is facial hair so rare in Japan?
Some Japanese guys have problems growing a full beard, but it is more a case of image. For example, bushy beards are still usually a sign of radical politics if not actual communist party membership
Why do Japanese esute beauty parlours offer young men depilation of their stubble?
It could be the influence of Photoshop (photos from Europe are retouched again to make the skin look ultra smooth before they are used in Japan), or it could be because so many “stylish” male celebrities are gay but in the closet, a New Mannish attempt to get popular with the ladies, a way of showing they are looking after themselves and therefore are available, or a reaction against their gruff macho fathers. Or the Marxistish version is that is simply shows off their ability to afford it.
Why are bright colours for clothes such a no no in Japan?
If you check which train the girls in the brightly coloured clothes are coming off you will easily see that it is mainly a lower class- traditionally summer festival yukata are always blue. The most common word for brightly coloured things is hade- gaudy, a totally negative expression.
Why do most Japanese women dye their hair?
Although it might have started off as wanting to be different, nowadays if an OL doesn’t dye her hair her female colleagues will ask her why not. If they reply that their boyfriend prefers it that way most people could quickly guess that he is foreign.Dyed hair is considered akarui- bright, cheerful- also one of the most important personality traits in Japan.
Why is it okay to wear a tiny mini skirt or hot pants but not stomach, shoulders or cleavage?
Maybe they get used to tiny skirts at school. Legs are also not a big erotic focus in Japan
Why do Japanese women shave their faces?
Why do some Japanese guys pluck their eyebrows, have electrolysis on their beards etc?
Why did Japanese women paint their teeth black? Second attempt
“in order to magnify the brightness of their snow-like complexions” Geishas, Berenice Geoffroy-Schneiter, pg 11
Why are some Japanese women so precious about their white skin?
Just as in Europe since the middle ages, having white skin has been a sign that you are rich enough to not go out and work in the sun. As the sign of wealth is becoming being able to afford to take tropical holidays instead, this is gradually changing.