Valentine’s Day in Japan

Valentine’s Day in Japan

They do things differently in Japan. On Valentine's Day in Japan it's the girls who give to the boys, and it's always chocolate. A girl can give chocolate to as many men as she likes but the quality and quantity will indicate how she really feels: giving just a little...

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The Orange Kimono, by Giuseppe de Nittis

The Orange Kimono, by Giuseppe de Nittis

Giuseppe de Nittis, born 1846 in Italy, was the 'Italian Impressionist' or nowadays, perhaps, the 'Forgotten Impressionist'. Despite exhibiting in the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874 and despite his great talent, today he is little known outside of...

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Cranes as symbols in kimono design

Cranes as symbols in kimono design

The crane - white-feathered, soaring and graceful - is a popular motif on the Japanese kimono. Not only for its beauty, but for what it symbolises: faithfulness and longevity. Cranes mate for life and perform elaborate courtship dances to strengthen the bond,...

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Coming of Age Day in Japan

Coming of Age Day in Japan

The Coming of Age Day (Seijin no Hi) festival in Japan is celebrated on the second Monday in January, and honours young Japanese who reach the age of 20 in the current year (from April to April). Twenty marks the transition to adulthood, and is also the age at which...

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What is a yukata?

What is a yukata?

A yukata is the most informal type of Japanese kimono. Made from light-weight unlined cotton and easier to wear than traditional kimonos, it is a popular casual garment for men and women during Japan's hot, humid summers; it is commonly seen at festivals and hot...

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How to fold a kimono

How to fold a kimono

It is not difficult to fold a kimono once you have learnt a few simple steps. We include a step-by-step diagram below, followed by an excellent video in which a Japanese lady demonstrates the technique slowly and clearly. You definitely do not need to understand what...

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Whistler and the kimono

Whistler and the kimono

In the 1850s, after centuries of seclusion, Japan suddenly opened its doors to the West. Japanese porcelain and prints began to appear in Parisian shops and galleries, and a wave of interest in things Japanese flooded the French capital. A young American artist living...

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Silk cultivation: from moth to kimono

Silk cultivation: from moth to kimono

"With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown". An elegant Chinese proverb, though in practice with a few tons of mulberry leaves, a large number of silkworms and the right conditions, a kimono's worth of raw silk can be produced in a couple of months....

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