In the Heian era, clothing evolved to be more suitable to Japanese customs. The style became more elegant, the type nobles tended to like. The female aristocratic style, “Jyunihitoe” (twelve layers) and the males’ “Sokutai” (court dressing) were introduced.
During the Kamakura /Muromachi era, “Kosode” (small sleeves), which had previously been a type of underwear, developed as clothes for common people. This is the prototype of the Kimono today.
After the “Sengoku Jidai” (Civil war period), there was a remarkable growth in arts and craft skills in the Azuchi-Momoyama era. With improvements in dyeing and foil sewing, a more the luxurious and splendid Kimono type started to appear among upper-class people.
In the Edo era during the “Period of National Isolation”, Japan developed its unique culture when it refrained from exchanging with other countries for about 300 years. In addition to aristocrats and samurai, wealthy merchants became enthusiastic about clothing. The merchants’ common clothes called “Kosode” were decorated with beautiful patterns using the Yuzen dyeing technique and gold & silver embroidery. This greatly increased their sense of luxury and is almost the same as today’s Kimono. In the mid-Edo era, the size of the “Obi” (belt) was enlarged and a variety of ways of tying the obi was introduced. It can be said that the shape of the Kimono was determined in the Edo era.
Nowadays, Japanese people who wear the Kimono for daily clothes are not very common. However, according to Japanese aesthetics, the Kimono is essential as a formal dress for celebrations, theatrical costumes or as works of art.
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