Kimono Demonstration at Van Gogh Museum

The event "Van Gogh Museum and Keukenhof Celebrate Spring" was held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on April 15th. Last October, I got an offer from Van Gogh Museum to make the kimono demonstration for the event.
This event is a part of FRIDAY NIGHT at the museum. As you imagine, FRIDAY NIGHT was held at Friday night. I had an opportunity to make our event on April 15th, 2011. First, Mr. Shogo Kariyazaki, from Japan, demonstrated Ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement) from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. Then I produced the kimono event, named as KIMONO DEMONSTRATION, from 7:45pm to 8:20pm. It’s been a pleasure to perform our demonstration surrounded by flowers which Mr. Kariyazaki arranged. Many people came to see our event.

Our event consisted of two parts. On the first part, I talked about the over-1000-year kimono history with slideshows from 7:45pm to 8:05pm. On the other part, we produced kimono & Jyunihitoe fashion show from 8:10pm to 8:20pm.

Today, I would like to write about the first part of the event.

The twelve layered kimono (Jyunihitoe) which I demonstrated at the event was the reproduction. The princess Masako wore the original one during her wedding ceremony.
Color gradation is important for twelve layered kimono. We call this gradation as KASANE-NO-IROME (重ねの色目). Princess Masako’s wedding was held on June, so the gradation color of her kimono implied early summer. Please check the photo of the slide. 

The color gradation we showed was called “HANA-TACHIBANA.” “HANA-TACHIBANA” means flower of mandarin orange, which flourishes early summer. You may see the flower on the picture below.
Old days, Japanese sense of color is different from current one. For example, “HANA-TACHIBANA” is not a single color, but the color combinations, including deep bright yellow, bright yellow, white, green, light green. Furthermore, green was defined as one of the blue colors about 1000 years ago.
I was wondering if I could not properly tell the audience KASANE-NO-IROME (the gradation color of twelve layered kimono), because the audience was not familiar with the twelve layered kimono and KASANE-NO-IROME is thought to be complicated concept.
But fortunately, many people understood the traditional Japanese sense of color, which originated from plants, which represents that the Netherlands is a flower country.
Photo provided by Ms. Linda Kole
The twelve layered kimono (Jyunihitoe) was provided by Oume Kimono Museum, Japan. Also as an expert of the twelve layered kimono dresser, called EMONJYA in Japanese, Ms. Yoko Odashima came from Japan for this demonstration. When I had been a student of Komagome Waso Academy, she was my mentor.
The twelve layered kimono (Jyuunihitoe) is usually clothed in by two dressers, but at this event, Ms. Odashima clothed in the twelve layered kimono alone just with my assistant. She demonstrated how to clothe in upper layered kimono (Uwagi) over five-layered kimono (Itsutsu-Ginu). When I saw the pictures of the demonstration later, I was so impressed that her movement looked really beautiful. The woman you can see on the right side in the pictures is Ms. Odashima.

After she finished her procedure, she kneeled on her knees and sat down behind the Jyunihitoe model. This is a polite manner in Japan.
Photo provided by Ms. Linda Kole
I asked my mentor to stand up, but she seemed that she could not stand in front of the person in twelve layered kimono. In Japanese culture, we have to respect the person who wears twelve layered kimono and it is not a good manner to stand or even sit in front of the person in twelve layered kimono. I felt that she was really concentrated on Kitsuke, dressing kimono. Finally, Ms. Odashima stood up and bowed to the audience. The audience gave massive applause to her.

I think her beautiful movement is originated from her heart. She naturally concentrates on Kitsuke and respects the people who wear kimono, the people who make kimono, and also the kimono itself.
I realize that I need more and more training to become like her. The phrase says that the relationship between a master and his apprentice continued for life. I appreciate her very much.
Every time I overcome a challenge, I find a next new challenge.

I was back to NY the day after I performed Kimono Demonstration at Van Gogh Museum. The meeting with Ms. Odashima reminds me of love to kimono and enhances my motivation to familiarize kimono in the world. Now I am working for kimono with fresh feeling here in NY.
I really appreciate Mr. Suzuki at Oume kimono Museum. He rent us the twelve layered kimono (Jyunihitoe) for this event. I believe I can make some steps toward spreading kimono and kimono culture not only to USA, but also to the world.

This is a cover of the event brochure.


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