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Neither East Nor West: Japanese Fashion in Modernity

Toby Slade

Source: Modern Fashion Traditions. Negotiating Tradition and Modernity through Fashion, 2018, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

Toby Slade analyses how the opening up of Japan during the Meiji period (1868–1912) resulted in the abolition of feudal sumptuary laws as a product of economic and social embourgeoisement that transformed aesthetic tastes. In particular, it resulted in the popularization of samurai tastes that were previously the province of the elite. One sign of this was the availability of imported fine textiles such as cotton and silk to ordinary people who embraced the spirit of modernity and expressed throu

Kimono

Alan Kennedy

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion, 2010, Berg Fashion Library

Encyclopedia entry

The kosode takes its name from the adjective ko, meaning “small,” and sode, for “sleeve.” In that a kosode/kimono sleeve has the appearance of a large pouch, it is difficult to consider the kosode sleeve as being small. In fact, what is small relative to the overall sleeve size is the opening through which the hand passes. The kosode sleeve opening is so-named in contrast to the ōsode sleeve, which is entirely open and unsewn.

Overview of Japan

Annie M. Van Assche

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Asia, 2010, Berg Fashion Library

Encyclopedia entry

The Chinese introduced many items into Japan, including dress types. One, a Chinese court robe, became the prototype for Japan’s signature kimono. Evolving from a simple form to become richly meaningful, kimonos are economical in fabric use and practical in application and can be made in various materials to suit temperatures. Their form has changed very little since their inception during the eighth century. A single garment type serves both sexes throughout life. Those fluent in the language of

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