Today I was blessed with the rare opportunity to see one of the older varieties of the Japanese kimono. The kimono was from the Heian Period. This kimono was only worn by the upper class, specifically the emperor and empress.
First I got to see the traditional way it is worn. To wear it there are three helpers to put it on. None of them speak during the process to prevent getting spit on the kimono. The person in front putting on the clothes also never stands because it is a sign of disrespect. All of the helpers also never touch the ground with the palm of their hands to keep the kimono clean.
Traditionally the kimono was twelve layers, which is why it was named “juni-hitoe”–“juni” means 12 in Japanese. Since twelve layers is very heavy, it has since been reduced.
It was a very unique experience. Especially since many Japanese people have never gotten to see the kimono in person, much less wear it.
This is the model we got to see the kimono on. The red and white clothes are the kimono’s “underwear”.
This is the complete kimono as well as a fan that she holds in front of her.
The kimono keeps its shape when removed so members from the audience were easily able to try it on.