Kimono Glossary 着物の語彙

Kimono 着物

Reisou 礼装 (ceremonial dress)

tomesode  留袖 – family of formal/ceremonial kimono with designs only along the lower half of the garment

  • kurotomesode 黒留袖 – black tomesode with 5 crests, usually with an attached white layer called the hiyoku
  • irotomesode 色留袖 – tomesode in any color but black, varying amount of crests
     furisode 振袖 -family of long sleeved kimono of varying formalities determined by sleeve length, not pattern, sleeves are markedly rounded on the end
    • ooburisode 大振袖 – longest-sleeved furisode, formal
    • chuuburisode 中振袖 – furisode with medium length sleeves, semi-formal
    • kofurisode 小振袖 – furisode with the shortest sleeves (still longer than standard sleeves), informal

*Mofuku 喪服 – kimono that is black in its entirety, almost always with 5 family crests; can also refer to obi, and any kimono items that are black in their entirety or have a black-on-black design; worn to funerals

Houmongi 訪問着 – family of semi-formal kimono with large scale, non-repeating patterning

  • houmongi 訪問着  – semi-formal kimono whose designs along the hem cross the seams, varying amount of crests
  • tsukesage 付け下げ – semi-formal kimono whose designs along the hem do not cross the seams, except for the front-most seam, the pattern often pointing upwards
 Fudangi 普段着 – informal wear for around the house, shopping, everyday life
  • iromuji 色無地 – formal to informal kimono that is entirely one  color, rinzu (jaquered) designs of the same color may be present, varying number of crests that determine the formality of individual pieces
    • iromuji can actually be part of the houmongi family as well if it is crested
  • komon 小紋 – informal kimono with repeating pattern of varying scale
  • tsumugi 紬 – actually a type of very expensive silk (see below) some people consider this a distinct type of kimono; regardless of design, these kimono are always considered fudangi
  • yukata 浴衣 – cotton kimono for summerwear, originally used after bathing
 Non-standard kimono – those kimono that are unusual or do not fall neatly into the above categories
  • kurotomesode-houmongi  黒留袖訪問着- hybrid, black and five crested kimono with designs on the sleeves
  • tsukesage-komon 付け下げ小紋- komon whose pattern  is right-side-up on the entire kimono
  • eba-komon 絵羽小紋- komon whose pattern crosses over the seams
  • edo-komon 江戸小紋 – a komon of all one color whose design is made by very small white dots or dots of a lighter version of the kimono’s color; considered to be an iromuji in terms of formality
  • odori kimono 踊り着物 – kimono meant for dance or performances whose design scheme can be that of any other type of kimono, often with bold patterns and colors meant to be seen from afar and often made of synthetic fabric
  • uchikake 打ち掛け- an over kimono of brocade or white that sits over the rest of a wedding ensemble, it is not belted, in the Edo period, it used to be part of everyday wear, therefore, older uchikake may have short sleeves
  • kakeshita 掛け下 – a wedding furisode that trails, either white or subtly patterned that is worn beneath the uchikake
  • hikifurisode/hanayome furisode/honburisode 引き振り袖・花嫁振袖・本振袖 – a wedding furisode that trails, generally worn without an uchikake
  • shiromuku 白無垢- refers to the white uchikake, kakeshita, or the entire white wedding ensemble
  • hikizuri/susohiki 引き摺り/裾引き- trailing kimono, usually worn by geisha, can refer to a geiko’s short-sleeved version, or a maiko’s long sleeved version
  • tomesode-shita 留袖下- white kimono meant to be worn under a tomesode, that is plain, may bear matching crests, or an entire replica of the tomesode’s design
  • dounuki 胴抜き – a layering kimono, either for general use, or for a specific, matching kimono
  • nakagi 中着- a layering kimono for general use that is layered slightly differently than a dounuki
  • *shinishouzoku 死装束- kimono that is white in its entirety, used to dress the deceased and crossed right over left; does NOT include all white obi or other white kimono accessories; should not be confused with tomesode-shita (see above)
  • nibushiki kimono 二部式着物 – a kimono that comes in two pieces, an upper and lower half; usually used as uniforms for their ease of wear
  • maru 丸帯 – a formal obi that is entirely brocade, woven as one piece and sewn into a tube
  • fukuro 袋帯- formal or semi-formal obi (depending on the presence of gold and silver) that is patterned one one side and plain fabric on the other, either 100% patterned (全通 zentsuu) or 60% patterned (六通 rokutsuu), and either woven in one piece (本袋 honbukuro) or as two pieces, then sewn together (縫い袋 nuibukuro)
  • fukuro-Nagoya 袋名古屋帯 – fukuro obi partly sewn to half-width
  • Nagoya 名古屋帯 – semi-formal or informal obi  (depending on the presence of gold and silver) that is shorter than the fukuro obi, half of which is often sewn to be half-width
  • chuuya or hara-awase 昼夜帯・腹合わせ帯 – informal, short, fukuro-like, reversible obi with two distinct or contrasting fabrics on either side
  • hanhaba 半幅- informal, short, half-width obi
  • tsuke or tsukuri 付け帯・作り帯- an obi consisting of a waist part and musubi part that are combined for easy wear
  • kakae 抱え帯 – a very thin obi worn under the main obi in wedding ensembles
  • kaku 角帯- stiff men’s obi that is half the width of the hanhaba
  • heko 兵児帯 – informal, soft obi more commonly seen for men that is simply tied in a bow
Komono 小物
  • obiage 帯揚げ- piece of fabric that covers the obi-makura and shows above the obi in front
  • obijime 帯締め- cord that fastens the obi musubi (knot) and ties in the front
  • obidome 帯留め – broach-like decoration to put on the obi-jime
  • date’eri 伊達衿- piece of fabric that emulates the look of an under-kimono by showing slightly at the collars
  • han’eri 半衿 – plain or decorative piece of fabric sewn over the collar of the juban
  • nagajuban 長襦袢- full-length under-kimono that protects the kimono whose collar keeps the kimono in place
  • hadajuban 肌襦袢- undershirt for under the nagajuban to protect the kimono
  • hanjuban 半襦袢 – top half of a nagajuban
  • susoyoke 裾除け – wrap-around skirt that acts as the bottom half of a hanjuban
  • himo 紐- lengths of fabric that hold the kimono and obi on the body; also karihimo 仮紐 – temporary himo, munahimo 胸紐 – himo tied at the chest, and koshihimo 腰紐 – himo tied at the waist
  • datejime 伊達締め –  wide accessory secured around the midsection to help further secure the kimono
  • korin/kimono belt コーリン・ベルト- an elastic belt with clips on each end to help secure the collars
  • obidomekanagu 帯留め金具- a clip put on the back of the obi with a small protrusion to hold up the obi-makura
  • emon-nuki/kantan’eri 衣文抜き・簡単衿 – a special han-eri and/or piece of fabric with loops sewn to the juban collar to draw the collar off the neck
  • obi-ita 帯板- stiff  board put inside the layers or under the obi that prevents it from becoming wrinkled
  • obi-makura 帯枕 – pillow that adds volume to almost all musubi
  • eri-shin 衿芯- a stiffener for the juban collar that allows the collars of the kimono and juban to hold their shape
  • hakoseko 筥迫 – a small wallet inserted between the kimono collars, usually used as decoration in wedding ensembles
Coats (Uwagi) 上着
  • haori 羽織- an overcoat whose panels are all rectangular, fastened by cords (haori-himo) rather than crossing over
  • michiyuki 道行- overcoat or raincoat with buttons and a (usually) squared (or at least not kimono-like) collar
  • douchuugi 道中着- overcoat whose construction is similar to a kimono’s with ties on the inside and out
  • tonbi トンビ- men’s wool coat designed after the inverness capes of England, popular in the Meiji Era
  • kakusode 角袖- long, winter coat with kimono-style sleeves for men
  • sodenashi haori 袖なし羽織 / jinbaori 陣羽織 – a haori without sleeves
Footwear (Hakimono) 履物
  • zouri 草履 – thonged, wedge sandals of vinyl, fabric, or brocade
  • geta 下駄- thonged sandals with a distinct heel, usually made of wood (often paulownia) carved into various shapes
    • futatsuba geta 二つ歯下駄 – geta with two equally-sized “teeth”
    • ukon geta ウコン下駄 – thin, flat geta
    • senryou geta 千両下駄 – geta with one “tooth” in the back and a front that tapers
    • gakusei geta 学生下駄 – futatsuba geta with a kind of domed underside
  • okobo/pokkuri/koppori おこぼ・ポックリ・コッポリ- type of geta, more or less a block of wood with one angled side worn by small girls or maiko
  • tabi 足袋- bifurcated, patterned or plain socks worn with all footwear, and mandatory for non-yukata kimono
  • hakama 袴 – a pleated skirt worn on top of the obi; men’s hakama have thin himo attached and a stiff board (koshi-ita 腰板) in the back, women’s hakama have thick himo and no koshi-ita
    • umanoribakama 馬乗り袴 – “horse-riding hakama” are split and have two legs, like pants
    • andonbakama 行灯袴 – “lantern hakama” are not split, like a skirt

Parts of the Kimono 着物の部分

  • eri 衿・襟 – collar
  • tomoeri 共衿 – over-collar
  • sode 袖 – sleeve
  • sodeguchi 袖口 – armhole
  • miyatsuguchi 実八つ口 – opening at the armpit
  • furi 振り – the section of the sleeve not sewn to the body
  • maemigoro 前身頃 – the main front panel
  • ushiromigoro 後身頃 – the main back panel
  • okumi 衽 – the half-width, trapezoidal front panels
  • ohashori おはしょり – the tuck of excess fabric at the waist
  • suso 裾 – the “skirt” (the part of the kimono below the ohashori
  • dou’ura 胴裏 – the upper lining
  • susomawashi 裾回し – the lower lining
  • sechuushin 背中心 / senui 背縫い – center-back seam
  • yuki 裄- the measurement from the center back seam to the end of the sleeve (half of the “wingspan”
  • mitake 身丈 – the measurement from where the center-back seam meets the collar to the bottom of the kimono
  • sodetake 袖丈- the sleeve length (ie its height/measurement up and down)
  • mae/ushiro-haba 前・後幅- the width of the main-front/main-back panels, respectively
  • tsumashita つま下- the measurement of the length of the okumi under the end of the collar on the edge of the kimono

Commonly Used Kimono Fabrics 着物の生地、織り方、と染め方

momen 木綿 – cotton
asa 麻 -hemp
kinu 絹 -silk
tsumugi 紬 – “wild” silk spun from the cocoon or from the leftovers of the cocoon; used to be used by kimono makers for their clothes, but gained popularity for the soft texture it eventually attains and certain types are now among the most expensive silks (namely Ooshima Tsumugi 大島紬)
omeshi お召し – silk crepe which is dyed before it is woven; the threads are twisted when woven, creating a stiff texture
chirimen 縮緬 – silk crepe which is dyed after it is woven; the threads are twisted when woven, creating a stiff texture
habutae 羽二重 -“fine” silk usually used for men’s kimono; threads are woven normally
ro 絽 – silk gauze which has characteristic small, horizontally oriented holes resulting from the weft threads being composed of 2 (or 3 or 5) twisted threads
tate-ro 経て絽 silk gauze which has characteristic small, vertically oriented holes resulting from the warp threads being composed of 2 twisted threads
sha 紗 – silk gauze made by crossing two warp threads after the insertion of every weft thread
ra 羅 – open weave silk which has large holes resulting from passing the weft thread between the spaces between intertwined warp threads
joufu 上布 – high-grade linen
asa-joufu 麻上布 – high-grade hemp
yuuzen 友禅 – rice starch resist dyeing
bingata 紅型 – resist dyeing technique that produces distinct polychromatic designs with white outlines
shibori 絞り – minute and painstaking ti-dyeing technique
aizome 藍染 -indigo dyeing
kasuri 絣 – a type of weave that generally produces geometric designs that do not have neat boarderlines
hakata 博多 – a special type of weaving in which the fibers are drawn tightly
meisen 銘仙 – a type of weave which uses pre-dyed glossy silk threads that often produces geometric designs
kinsha 金紗 – smooth silk crepe
rinzu 綸子 -satin silk
egasuri 絵絣 – kasuri weave the produces pictures
kinpaku 金箔 – gold-leaf
katazome 型染め – one sided stencil dyeing
hakeme 刷毛目 – a weaving technique in which warp and weft are alternated one-by-one dark and light threads, producing vertical stripes on one side and horizontal stripes on the other

Other Kimono Terms その他の言葉

  • awase 袷 – lined
  • hitoe 単 – unlined
  • usumono 薄物 – summer clothes (made of ro, sha, or ra)
Kimono Terms with Kanji Breakdown and Etymology

着物 -kimono, from: -verb 着る kiru  -to wear (from the shoulders down) and 物 mono -thing
帯 -obi, from: -verb 帯びる obiru -to wear, carry at the waist
帯揚げ -obiage, from:-verb 揚げる ageru  -to hoist, raise (today usually written as 上げる)

帯締め -obijime, from: -verb 締める shimeru -to tie, fasten

結び -musubi, from: -verb 結ぶ musubu  -to tie

留袖 -tomesode, from: -verb 留める tomeru -to truncate; and 袖 sode -sleeve
振袖 -furisode, from: -verb 振る furu  -to shake, wave, swing; and 袖 sode -sleeve
黒 -kuro -black (adj 黒い kuroi -black)
白 -shiro -white (adj 白い white)
色 -iro, meaning “color” (black is inherently not included in this word)
色無地 -iromuji, from: 色 iro -color; and 無地 muji -plain, unfigured
小紋 -komon, from: – noun 小 shou/ko -small (the size) (adj 小さい chiisai -small) and -noun 紋 mon -family crest, figure, design
訪問着 -houmongi, from: -noun 訪問 houmon -call, visit  and 着る kiru -to wear (from the shoulders down)
付け下げ -tsukesage, from: noun 付け下げ tsukesage -a method of petterning tradtional Japanese clothing, the tops of all the patterns being pointed at the highest part of the shoulder (from verb 付ける tsukeru -to attach; and verb 下げる sageru -to lower, hang, wear)
黒紋付 -kuromontsuki (see above: kuro(i), mon, tsukeru)
浴衣 -yukata, from: verb 浴びる abiru -to bathe; and noun 衣 koromo -garment, clothes
伊達締め -datejime, from: 伊達 date -elegance, having style and verb 締め jime (see above)
打ち掛け -uchikake, from: verb 打ち掛ける -to hang/drape over
掛け下 -kakeshita, from: verb 掛ける kakeru (see above); and noun 下 shita -under, below
白無垢 -shiromuku, from: 白 shiro(i) (see above); and noun 無垢 muku -purity

喪服 -mofuku, from: 喪 -mourning and 服 -clothing
長襦袢 (ジュバン) -nagajuban, from: adj 長い nagai -long; and noun 襦 shitagi -underwear (now 下着); and noun 袢 han -summer kimono, short clothing
肌襦袢 -hadajuban, from: noun 肌 hada -skin; and 襦袢 juban (see above)
*note -juban (early jiban) comes from the Japanese approximation of Portuguese jibão. It is written in katakana when written alone and as a noun, means “singlet, undershirt”
半幅 -hanhaba, from: noun 半 han -half; and 幅 haba -width
袋 -fukuro, noun meaning “sack, bag, pouch”
丸 -maru, noun meaning “circle” (adj 丸い marui -circular, round)
昼夜 -chuuya, from: noun 昼 hiru -daytime, noon; and noun 夜 yoru -night, evening
付け -tsuke, from: verb 付ける tsukeru (see above)
作り -tsukuri, from: verb 作る tsukuru 作ります tsukurimasu -to make
角 -kaku, meaning “angle, square”
兵児 -heko, from: noun 兵 tsuwamono -soldier; and noun 児 ko -newborn, child
羽織 -haori, from: verb 羽織る haoru -to drape over the shoulders (from 羽 hane -feathers; and verb 織る oru 織ります orimasu -to weave
道中着 -douchuugi, from: noun 道中 douchuu -along the way, journey (from noun 道 michi -road, way; and noun 中 naka -middle, whilst); and verb 着る kiru (see above)
道行き -michiyuki, noun meaning “going down the road, eloping” from: 道 michi -road, way; and verb 行く yuku (iku) -to go

死に装束 -shinishouzoku, from: 死に shini -death and 装束 souzoku -clothing (from 装 sou/shou -clothing and 束 taba -bundle)

Radicals -you may have noticed that many kanji above have parts that are the same. These components are called “radicals” and can (not usually) be helpful in determining what a kanji means.

巾 -chikiri, kire -towel, handing scroll, turban

衣 -koromo, kinu, ~gi -garment, clothes, dressing

糸 -ito -silk, thread

衤 -koromo -clothes (radical only)

Adjectives Commonly Used to Describe Kimono

suteki (na) 素敵・な – lovely
subarashii 素晴らしい/すばらしい -wonderful, amazing
utsukushii 美しい -beautiful, gorgeous
jimi 地味・な -subdued, somber
hade (na) 派手・な -gaudy
hare (na) 晴れ・な -fancy, best (referring to clothes)
kawaii 可愛い/かわいい -cute
kirei 綺麗/きれい・な -pretty, beautiful (more superficial than “utsukushii”
omigoto (na) お見事・な -marvelous
iki (na) 粋・な -understated chic