An American lady living in Ohio State asked me to take kimono lessons during her stay in New York City. She had stayed in Japan for two years and had an experience to wear a kimono. She had tried to put on a kimono by herself looking at the book of kimono dressing, but she could not put on it as shown in the book.
On her mail, she asked me to make her lesson for telling how to put on a kimono by herself and how to tie a fukuro obi in the plump sparrow, fukurasuzume, style. It is difficult especially for beginners to tie by themselves a fukuro obi in the plump sparrow style. So, I suggested her that it is capable to tell somebody how to tie it for her. Surprisingly, she wanted me to tell her boyfriend how to tie it in the plump sparrow style.
At the day of her lesson, she truly came to my class room from Ohio State with her boyfriend.
In the first one hour half, I coached her to put on a kimono. As she might have tried to put on a kimono by herself several times, she was quick to acquire it. But she was struggling with Nagoya obi tying in the proper otaiko style.
Then, after a short break, I coached her boyfriend how to tie a fukuro obi in the plump sparrow style for almost two hours. She put on a furisode like as a trial horse.
I think it’s very cool to see that a man ties an obi! Her boyfriend looked an otokoshi
, who dresses maikos in gorgeous kimonos and tie a long darari
obi as only a male professional in Hanamachi
, Kyoto. Usually I use not only my arms but also my whole body to hold an obi-makura
for keeping a shape of obi’s hill and to bind the band of obi-makura
. On the other hand, her boyfriend used only his arms to make a beautiful shape of obi’s hill easily. How powerful man is!
I felt a little frustrating, but I realized that man’s muscular strength is suitable for obi tying, when I saw his obi tying. In the Edo period (1603-1868), Segawa Roko, an onnagata
(a male actor who specialize in female roles) created an original form of otaiko
-style obi tying. After his bunko
-style obi tying unfastened on stage, he quickly fastened the short end of obi and made obi a new shape: Roko musubi
. I think it was highly visible that the onnnagata
kabuki star tied a long heavy obi on stage. Similarly, I believe it seems impressive that man tie a long and heavy obi.
This photo shows his obi tying in the plump sparrow style for her. Because he mostly acquired this obi tying, I further wanted to tell him the hiyoku
) style and demonstrated it to them. But he said, “It seems more difficult to have balance in the hiyoku
) style. It’s OK only for acquiring the plump sparrow style today.”
When I folded up kimonos after our lesson, he continued to review his operation.
Recently I received an Email from Ohio. She wrote that she reviewed how to put on a kimono and could put on it by herself, and further her boyfriend dressed her in furisode
in the plump sparrow style. I am pleased to hear that she and her boyfriend want to acquire other styles of obi tying in the near future.
I think it is wonderful that a man learn how to tie an obi for his girlfriend.