Japanese Beauty, Breadth of Mind -The Charm of Japanese Clothing-

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kimono When I think of Japan, Mt. Fuji, cherry blossoms, Japanese clothes, kabuki, anime are usually the images that pop into my head. Japanese clothing exists as a distinctive and characteristic symbol that can represent Japanese culture. As a result, it is not just Japanese people, but also people from other countries who like Japan that are drawn to and continue to admire it. I am one of those fans. It was the first time I wore Japanese clothing. One of the professionals working there recommended a purple kimono, and when I wore it I was surprised by how beautiful it was. It was a beauty that would be recognized even outside Japan, a masterpiece. As soon as I put on the kimono we went outside to walk around. I could feel the old history in the way the town was constructed. The calm atmosphere, the fantastic designs and colors combined to make a pretty scene and I was moved by it. We experienced a Japanese tea ceremony, and even though I am not Japanese, I felt that the four most important elements of the Japanese tea ceremony (harmony, respect, purity and tranquility), and wabi, a quiet refinement, resonated perfectly with me.   kimonoWhen women walk while wearing Japanese clothing, the way they walk naturally becomes more ladylike, allowing them to walk in a supple and beautiful manner. Furthermore, it makes their movements and behavior more elegant. What was even more mysterious was that the feeling of wearing a kimono was different compared to wearing regular western clothes to the point that it reached deep into my mind. All of a sudden I was able to feel as if I was transformed into the main character in an ancient Japanese drama, and I was able to feel a woman’s happiness, delicateness, and even joy. By wearing kimono, I believe that woman can feel confident in their beauty and intellect. Before the Tokugawa Shogunate, wafuku (Japanese clothing), was called gofuku. Japan was influenced by a place called Gokoku that existed during China’s three kingdoms period .As a result, the clothing style took hold, continued for generation after generation while characteristic components were incorporated. Different tastes that varied from season to season would become a motif for the clothes themselves and develop into what they are today. As the clothing was applied to the everyday lives of the people back then, it allowed for the creation of a proud world of Japanese culture with a rich spirit; borne through many years and continues to be inherited and developed even now. The Chinese character, Wa (和) has many meanings such as calm, quiet, non-opposing, harmony, and getting along. Japanese culture or Wa no bunka values the pursuit of harmony with nature, a balanced human society, and breadth of mind. kimonoJapanese people continue to love and take pride in their traditional culture, passing it down through generations. I really admire their efforts in developing it further and doing their utmost in conveying its appeal to the world. Thinking about that suddenly reminded me of the preservation and passing down of China’s traditional culture. China has five thousand years of history, and within that history lies a countless number of wonderful cultures that were created and spread throughout the world, especially Asia. However, as a result of wars and other causes, a majority of China’s cultures were destroyed, unpreserved, and have become lost. After learning the old traditions and customs of Japan that have been conveyed up until now, I think that it is truly important to remember the preciousness of those traditions and to make use of them. From my experiences as a coordinator for international relations, I believe many Chinese people will be able to feel the richness of the spirit of Japanese culture. At the same time, I believe that when the time arrives that Chinese people are able to think about the importance of culture in their lives and develop a breadth of mind, surely the day that China can rethink and rebuild its culture will follow.

Written by Du Chunhong

kimonoThis web page introduces the remarks and comments written by CIR (Coordinator of International Relations) of Shimane Prefectural Government who tried Sekishu-Banshi Japanese Paper making.