Kimono – As the kimono has another name, gofuku ( literally “clothes of Wu “), the earliest kimonos were heavily influenced by traditional Han Chinese Clothing, known today as hanfu (kanfuku in Japanese), through Japanese embassies to China which resulted in extensive Chinese Culture adoptions by Japan, as early as the 5th century AD. It was during the 8th century, however, that Chinese fashions came into style among the Japanese, and the overlapping collar became particularly women’s fashion. During Japan’s Heian period (794–1192 AD), the kimono became increasingly stylized, though one still wore a half-apron, called a mo, over it. During the Muromachi Age (1392–1573 AD), the Kosode, a single kimono formerly considered underwear, began to be worn without the hakama (trousers, divided skirt) over it, and thus began to be held closed by an obi “belt”. During the Edo period (1603–1867 AD), the sleeves began to grow in length, especially among unmarried women, and the Obi became wider, with various styles of tying coming into fashion. Since then, the basic shape of both the men’s and women’s kimono has remained essentially unchanged. Kimonos made with exceptional skill from fine materials have been regarded as great works of art.
Yukata – A yukata is a Japanese garment, a casual summer kimono usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric, and unlined. Yukata are worn by both men and women. Like other forms of traditional Japanese clothing, yukata are made with straight seams and wide sleeves. Men’s yukata are distinguished by the shorter sleeve extension of approximately 10cm from the armpit seam, compared to the longer 20cm sleeve extension in women’s yukata. A standard yukata ensemble consists of a cotton undergarment (juban), yukata, obi, bare feet, sandals (geta), a foldable or fixed hand fan, and a carry bag (kinchaku). Kinchaku are used by both men and women to carry cellphones, sunglasses, wallets and tissue. For men, an optional hat or derby may also be worn to protect the head from the sun. Yukata literally means bath(ing) clothes, although their use is not limited to after-bath wear. Yukata are a common sight in Japan during the hot summer months (starting in July).