5/12/2009

Shima stripe: The simpler, the more beautiful.

I think things that seem simple are more profound. They would have great potential to produce infinite changes. Whenever I see striped kimonos, I keenly realize the profoundness of the simplicity. A student of my kimono class likes shima striped kimonos very much. When she coordinates a colorful obi sash with her striped kimono, the striped kimono looks more fashionable. I also like shima striped kimonos.

As for shima stripes, there are many many words which means stripes: katuo jima (bonito stripes), komochi jima (seed stripes), sensuji jima (fine stripes), daimyo jima (lord stripes), taki jima (waterfall stripes), tatewaku jima (boiling stripes), dandara jima (multi-colored stripes), mansuji jima (very fine stripes), mekurakin jima (most finest stripes), bou jima (vertical stripes), yatara jima (irregular stripes), yoroke jima (staggered stripes), kapitan jima (captain stripes), touzan jima (exotic stripes), etc.
Shima stripes are named somewhat crudely, because as was seen in “Sougodai zoushi” published on 1528, shima striped kimonos were originally used by persons of humble stations, not by persons of noble origins. But shima stripes gradually became fashionable. I think Japanese beauty sense was so smart!

Shima stripes, which imply more various meanings than concrete designs, are imaginative. We would never get tired of looking at shima stripes. Shirou Oshima wrote the followings in his literature “Shima stripes and Japanese sense of beauty.”

Stripes of yellow and black are used in toll bars of railway crossings or No Trespassing signs, because they are very vivid. (An omission)
But especially from Japanese sense of beauty, undressed self-assertiveness is thought to be shabby. Neutral colors and suppressed designs have been preferable in Japan. You could ask me whether brilliant furisodes suppress designs, whereas traditional beauty designs on furisodes should hide individuals. Audaciousness is not permitted. Furisodes have traditional designs which everybody can accept, so they can be seen without hesitation.

Indeed when my student coordinated a colorful obi sash with her neutral-color striped kimono, stripes looked more beautiful. Shima stripes lack assertiveness, but they have great potential to produce variations. In addition, they develop personal appeals. The simpler, the more beautiful. What a wonderful sentence it is!

It is my striped kimono, purchased in Asakusa, Tokyo.
Its black skirt looks smart.


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