Bon-Odori, Japanese folk dance at Morikami Museum

We had the Lantern Festival at the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens in Florida on October 19, Saturday.

The park and museum are named after George Morikami, a native of Miyazu, Kyoto, Japan, who donated his farm to Palm Beach County to be used as a park. George Morikami was the only member of the Yamato Colony, Florida to stay Delray Beach after World War II. The Museum was opened in 1977, in a building that is now named the Yamato-kan. The principal museum building opened in 1993. Construction of the Roji-en gardens began in 1993. The Yamato Road is also located near the Morikami Museum.

The Lantern Festival has been held in summer every summer, but as it was often hit by hurricanes or thunderstorms in summer, it is moved to October with the stable climate this year.

It was fine with comfortable breeze on the Lantern Festival.
I attended Bon-Odori, Japanese folk dancing this time. This is the picture of Bon-Odori.
Our Bon-Odiri presentation was held three times during 3-8 PM. We danced around Taiko, big Japanese drums.

Bon-Odori, Japanese folk dancing, varies from one district to another, but as many Japanese from various districts of Japan as well as American attended this dancing, we danced various Bon-Odori, Japanese folk dancing, originated from various districts.

The following are the list of the dances this time. Ms. Mihori-sensei directed us.

The First Show – Women dance
Hanagasa Ondo: Dance of Yamagata Prefecture 
- Hanagasa means type of conical hat adorned with flowers. Ondo means dance song.
Soma Bon-Uta: Dance of Fukushima Prefecture
- Bon-Uta means Bon Festival dance song.
Sakura Ondo
- Sakura means cherry blossoms.

The Second Show – Women dance
Hanagasa Ondo
Miyazu-Bushi: Dance of Kyoto Prefecture
- Miyazu is one of the sister cities of Delray Beach. Bushi means song. 
Sakura Ondo
Miyazu Ko-uta: Dance of Kyoto Prefecture
- Ko-uta means a Japanese ballad accompanied on the samisen.
Soma Bon-Uta
Tokyo Ondo

The Third Show – Men’s Dance: Women dancers dance like men
Zenkoku Go-Shonai Ondo
- Zenkoku means all Japan. Go-Chonai means town.
Nippon Daiko
- Daiko means Japanese drums.
- Soran-Bushi is a folk song for fishermen in Oshima peninsula in Hokkaido.
Soma Bon-Uta
Ohara-Bushi: Dance of Kagoshima Prefecture
Tanko-Bushi: Dance of Fukuoka Prefecture
- Tanko means coal miner.
In the Womens dance, we wore the same Yukata with double katanawa obi tying. In the Men’s dance, we wore Happi coats.

As you know, I am a kimono dresser but this time Ms. Mihori-sensei dressed all of us in yukata and she also dressed me. When the towel was about to fall down during my dressing, I kept the towel to support, but she said “Don’t touch when you are dressed”, which reminded me how I am dressed by the kimono dresser. Because I have had no chances to be dressed in the United States until this time, I was very impressed by Ms. Mihori-sensei’s kimono dressing. 
My kimono mentor in japan often said, “You can learn a lot when you are dressed by others”. We can realize many things from our various experiences.

The last photo shows the dance of Tokyo Ondo with audience. Ms. Mihori-sensei taught them how to dance. I enjoyed dancing next to her.


Kyo Yuzen kosode kimono designated as the Japanese important cultural property

Previously I wrote the blog entry about the article of Kyo-Yuzen dyeing published in the New York Times. 

Let me introduce Yuzen dyeing a little more. I show you the wonderful Yuzen kimono this time. 
The exhibition “Kyoto Kimono: Inspired Grace and Elegance from Momoyama to Edo” was held in the Museum of Kyoto from October 29 to December 11, 2011. One hundred eighty kosode (literally, small sleeve), the prototype of the kimono, were displayed. Those kosode were mainly produced in the Edo period(1603–1868).

A friend of mine living in Kyoto sent me a colorful catalogue of the exhibition. This catalogue demonstrates all the kimono photos along with the precise comments. The photo shows the cover of this catalogue.
This catalogue gave me goose bumps. All the kosode kimonos look brilliant and marvelous. I think it would be impossible to see all these wonderful kosode kimonos at the same time in the future. I regret that I was not able to visit this exhibition.

This is the furisode (long-sleeved kimono) with auspicious noshi bundles designated as the Japanese important cultural property. It was made in the Edo period (18th century), owned by Yuzen Shikai.

Because kimono fabrics become severely deteriorated, not many kimonos are designated as the Japanese important cultural properties. 

I am interested in the episode how this kosode kimono was owned by Yuzen Shikai. 
Originally, this kosode was owned by Shojiro Nomura, an antique dealer and researcher based in Kyoto before WWII. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. visited Japan in 1921 and mediated the donation of this kosode from Shojiro Nomura to Yuzen Shikai.
He actually provided Shojiro proportionate amount of money and asked him to donate it to Yuzen Shikai. When he mediated this donation, he said “I donate this kosode to beloved Kyoto.” I am very impressed by his kindness to leave this kosode in Kyoto. I think this kosode should be too brilliant to move from Japan.

This episode could imply that kimono is located best in Japan, which seems contradictory to my activity, but I always think that kimono will spread to all over the world when kimono is recognized as “art” or “fashion”. Actually, many fashion designers in the world have gotten inspired by kimono and applied kimono fabrics and/or forms to their dresses.

Ken Kirihata wrote a note for viewers of this exhibition in this catalogue as follows: 
“National costumes in the world, intimately connected to the local area, touch our hearts by their designs and techniques, but I thought that Japanese kimonos, especially ones which we can see in this exhibition, would be something different. I was not able to recognize kimono as other than the Japanese natural costume. In 1993, when I visited the exhibition of kosode in the Edo period held at the State Museum in Los Angeles, I was impressed by the title of that exhibition: When Art Became Fashion. I finally recognized that the essence of kosode beauty is Art.”

Reading Kirihata’s words, I go back to my first objective that I would like to introduce kimono fashion to the world.


Opening the website of Kimono Hiro in Florida

We are pleased to announce that we now open the website of Kimono Hiro in FL and start kimono business for Florida people.

When I am invited by the consul of the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami to the reception for the Emperor's Birthday held in the ambassador's residence at the end of last year, I was impressed to see many people wearing kimono. 
I had an opportunity to meet and talk with the consul general at this reception. He invited me to the other receptions this year. He always told me “Please spread kimono fashion and culture to Florida.” 

I have spent about one year for the start-up, but finally can open our kimono service in Florida. I appreciate kind help provided by the person who help me for opening our website and who direct me to start our business in Florida. 
We would like to keep a good relationship with these people. We hope to assist many people for kimono wearing and styling in Florida.

website  http://www.kimonoflorida.com