At the request of Dr. Hein, a Director of Asian Studies at Florida International University (FIU), I gave a kimono lecture and demonstration to students, entitled “The Past and Future Kimono”.
My lecture was introduced in the home page and Facebook page of FIU Asian Studies a couple of days before the lecture. I realized that this event opened to the public. I felt very pleased to have an opportunity to talk about kimono to public audience including university students.
This lecture was held at the library room in FIU.
At first, using some slides, I introduced my activity as a kimono stylist in US. Then I talked about the history and culture of kimono and emphasized that kimono has over one –thousand-year history and hugely impacts beauty in the world. These photos show that I was talking with slides.
After the slide presentation, audience took part in “Kimono Quiz”.
I asked students to raise their hands on their answers. At the first question, students who answered correctly stood up. Subsequently, students who did not answer correctly, sat down. At last, the last students (male and female) who kept standing became the models of kimono dressing.
The first question is “What is Kitsuke-shi?” The choice of the answer is “A: a person who wears kimono, B: a person who dresses another in kimono, C: a person who weaves kimono”. The correct answer is “B”. The reader of this blog may easily choice this correct answer. When I gave a kimono lecture and asked the same question at the other university, most of students were not able to choice the correct answer. This time, all audience selected the correct answer “B”. Wow! I was surprised that all audience knows Japan very well.
Then, the second question is one that audience who did not hear my lecture may not answer; “What appeared in the Muromachi period (12th-16th centuries) as the origin of modern kimono?” The correct answer is “Kosode”. Surprisingly, many audience selected the correct answer.
This photo shows that students raised their hands to choice their answer.
She is a winner of the quiz. Only she kept standing after several quiz.
Because no male students kept standing at that time, I provided them a consolation quiz. Surprisingly, one boy student has already worn a kimono to attend the seminar!
He is a winner of the quiz.
Next I demonstrated kimono dressing of Furisode. As seen in this photo, I explained about Ohashori folding.
As seen in these photos, I explained about sleeves of Furisode kimono. The students of my kimono class and a professor of FIU, Hitomi, helped me for interpretation, as I am not a good English speaker. To reject boyfriends, “Furu” in Japanese, is derived from waving sleeves of Furisode. In Manyo-shu, the Japanese oldest collection of poems, we see the poem where waving sleeves was described. Waving sleeves means the expression of love in Manyo-shu, while it means both love and hate depending on the way to wave. I talked about this story.
The dressing of Furisode was done. (Photo below) Furisode fitted this young girl very well.
Then, I demonstrated kimono dressing of Montsuki-Haori-Hakama for the winner of the quiz (photo below).
I explained the reason why Kaku-obi sash is wound around body three times: originally, Samurai wore two swords under the kaku-obi. The boy students heard this explanation with their eyes shining. Many students are interested in Samurai story.
The kimono dressing was done. I said “It’s photo time for two”, but I was asked to stand with them (photo below). It made me shy.
During my demonstration, the boy student who had worn kimono showed me his Kaku-obi and told me, “Please tell me how to wind it”. On the photo below, I was checking his obi; in the meantime, Hitomi was showing the obi tying to the audience.
At the end, I wound his Kaku-obi as a part of kimono demonstration.
After the kimono demonstration, we all were taken photos (photo below). The boy students who brought Kaku-obi was standing in the center. The models of kimono dressing demonstration, winners of the kimono quiz, were standing on the right. From left to right, students of my kimono class, Meg-san and Tomo-san were standing. They also wore kimono and became models for my explanation about kimono. The third person from the left side was Dr. Hitomi Yoshio. I appreciate all the help from them very much.
During the question-and-answer session, I said that after the marriage women wear Tomesode instead of Furisode. I was asked if women cam wear Furisode again after her divorce. I explained one Japanese word “Shogai no Hanryo (a companion for life)”. “Old days, brides of Samurai were ready to marry into Samurai families in her bridal kimono with her knives (Kai-ken). They never divorced and did not wear Furisode again.” I hope that the audience understood the Japanese old-fashioned value. But I also think that how we act is different from how we thought.