Walking the Kimono Path

The idea of wearing kimono came to me from three different, but converging sources of inspiration: music, martial arts, and marriage.  As an ethnomusicologist I have taken up shakuhachi studies and, more recently extended that interest to shinobue and shamisen.  Those paths led to an interest in budo; the philosophical study of the classical martial arts of the samurai, particularly for me iaido and kenjutsu.  Both fields of interest are connected to kimono as the traditional attire for practice and performance.  While my participation in these pursuits would certainly have led me to wearing some form of kimono from time to time, it was a much more personal life event that has made kimono an important part of my teaching: marriage to my wonderful wife Mako.

A short time before our set wedding date, Mako surprised me with the idea of traveling to Japan to meet her aunts and uncles…with just two weeks to pack!  It was an incredible first adventure and her (and my soon to be) relatives were excited at my deep interest in traditional Japanese culture.  In particular her Aunt Kaeko was very encouraging of my pursuit of music and wearing kimono…not only did she give me my first lessons in kitsuke, but she had some family kimonos (complete with the family crest of Mount Fuji san)  altered to fit me and advised me on the purchase my first kimonos.  Other relatives and an ever expanding network of friends in Tokyo and Kyoto added their support.

Music, Martial Arts, Marriage…

Thus began my journey of kimono contemplation…IMG_0233

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