9/21/2009

To put ardor in the wedding style


Last Saturday I went out of town on business to Connecticut and dress a bride in kimono for her wedding. It took about 3 hours by Amtrak from Pen Station, New York to Middletown, Connecticut.
How wonderful wedding and couple are!
Because I was asked to dress her in furisode, I would like to try obi tying as aioi, a family of tateya, standing arrow. Aioi, originating from the noh song “Takasago”, is widely used as obi tying for a bride. Aioi means pine tree, where both red and black pines come out from one root. As pine tree represent long life, the song “Takasago” represents long life and harmonization of the couple.

I had asked for the bride’s hope of obi tying, and created the variant obi tying based on aioi. This picture shows the trial piece of obi tying. Although it seemed different from original aioi, I developed and created it with best wishes for the new start of the bride and bridegroom.

It is wedding ceremony before a shrine that comes to mind immediately, associated with wedding and kimono. The first wedding place before a shrine similar as nowadays was the ceremonial hall in Tokyo Daijingu (big shrine), cerebrated for the wedding of Emperor Taisho at the palace sanctuary in the royal palace and built in 1900. At that time, most people held their wedding at the bridegrooms’ home, regardless of social ranks. But in 1950, most people held their wedding before the shrine.
Old days on the day of the wedding, a bride took a bath early in the morning, cleansed herself, and prepared her ceremony. She prayed to Shinto and Buddhist deities for informing them of her wedding. Subsequently, she had congratulatory brunch with her family members and went to the bridegrooms’ home with the matchmakers and people from the bridegrooms’ home. Late afternoon, a bride and groom took their wedding at the bridegrooms’ home, and finally held reception banquet over midnight.

Ms. Masuko Chiba, a famous professional kimono dresser and hair stylist in the Showa period (1926-1989), said, “In my child’s mind, I had admired the view of a bride led by her hand through road between green barley fields, with her face concealed by tsunokakushi, a hood or white silk cloth that fits on the wig of a bride.” which is quoted from the Hyakunichiso web site. At first when I read it, I wondered why a bride had been walking outside. But after I studied wedding dresses, as I mentioned above, I knew that a bride had been led by her hand to her bridegrooms’ home for the wedding ceremony up until not long ago. Little Masuko, born in the Meiji period (1868-1912), also saw a bride led by her hand to her bridegrooms’ home, which should be the beautiful scene.

Japanese wedding costume adds charm to a bride. Originally, uchikake was a formal wear for a woman of samurai families. So, some accessories of shiro-muku-uchikake, a purely white bride costume, represent preparation to marry with a samurai. For example, a dagger means the preparation of death in her emergency, which sounds robust. On the other hand, hakoseko, a fancy box, should be kept inside her collars, which sounds feminine.

Japanese wedding costume includes a lot of interesting stories.

After I was asked to dress the bride in Connecticut, I read the book about Japanese wedding costume again. And I dearly felt that dressing for a bride is pretty wonderful. I hope the forever happiness of the bride and the bridegroom.

Reference book: “Japanese traditional practice and ceremonial costumes” by Michiko Ishikawa, published by Hyakunichiso

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