Beige furisode juban with colorful ume, kakitsubata, kikyo and nadeshiko flowers.
Dress Length: 132 cm | 52"
Sleeve Length: 33 cm | 13"
Shoulder to Shoulder: 62 | 24.4"
Handmande in Japan
Silk crêpe and cotton
Furisode kimonos are worn by unmarried women. Furisode means swinging sleeve and comes in three types, each with progressively longer sleeves – the longer the sleeve, the more formal it is. Ko furisode is the shortest sleeved one, with sleeves that are around 85 cm in length. "Ko" means small. One might wear a ko furisode, for example, for a graduation ceremony. Chu furisode has sleeves that are around 100 cm in length. "Chu" means "medium". Oh furisode, the third type, has the longest sleeves of all. "Oh" means big and this specific kimono has sleeves of 114 - 115 cm. It is the unmarried woman's most formal kimono, for wear at formal, special occasions and very colourful versions of oh furisode are worn by brides and known as kakeshita or hon furisode. Jyusan-mairi is a girl's first furisode, which she gets at the age of thirteen.
Juban is an underwear kimono, worn under the outer kimono. Only the very edge of the collar (at the edge of the outer kimono's collar) and the bottom of the juban (when the outer kimono is held up when walking) are seen. It is much shorter than an outer kimono, as it is not worn with the big fold over at the waist that outer ones are worn with.
Hanakotoba is the Japanese form of the language of flowers. The Japanese have a long tradition of associating meanings to flowers, and they have influenced numerous aspects of their culture from kimono to war. Flowers such as the sakura (cherry blossom) and kiku (chrysanthemum) are national symbols of Japan. Such flowers have the power to invoke powerful emotions and they are engaged in the people's thinking. Beyond these national symbols, others have more subtle meanings. In Japan, they are a traditional gift for both men and women, and are often used to convey what can't be spoken. Even nowadays, flower meanings make occasional appearances in modern popular culture such as manga and anime.
Ume is the plum blossom. Because plum trees bloom in winter, there is a saying that "the plum is the first among flowers". Prior to the Nara period (710-94), the word "flower" generally indicated the plum blossom, and in the Man'yoshu, an eight-century anthology of Japanese poetry, there are more verses about plum blossoms than cherry blossoms. A cherry tree now stands to the left of the Hall for State Ceremonies at the Imperal Palace, but originally a plum tree stood there and remained until after the Heian period (794-1185). In the Legend of the Flying Plum Tree, the cherry tree withers and dies after its master, Sugawara, leaves, but the plum and pine trees fly through the sky to be with him. However, the pine tree loses strength and falls to the earth in Settsu Province. Only the plum tree miraculously continues its flight and in a single day and night arrives at Daizaifu where its master resides and where it takes root. Ume is commonly associated with luck, nobility, purity, devotion and protection against evil.
Kakitsubata (iris) are beautiful flowers that bloom in Japan around May. The Japanese iris is distinguished by a yellow line at the base of the petals. If the line is white, it is a rabbitear iris, while a mesh pattern indicates a flag iris. The elegant forms of irises have made them popular as kimono designs since olden times. They are often depicted with flowing water on summer kimono and are especially valuable as motifs for expressing the water's edge. They are also often shown with yatsuhashi, bridges that run in a zigzag course. Iris root has a pleasant fragrance and in the Heian era was used by noble families as gifts or to decorate roofs. The flower offers protection from evil spirits.
Kikyo is the bellflower, a white five petal flower that takes its name from its bell-shaped nodding head. The plant blooms from late summer into early autumn. There are both wild and domesticated varieties of the bellflower, and when chanced upon in the mountains, a cluster of these is a visual treat. Symbolizes unchanging love, honesty and obedience.
Nadeshiko (dianthus, pink or wild carnation) has always had a strong association with women and love. The Waka poets saw the Nadeshiko as a personification of a girl who has been raised by a man and its association with women is still just as strong today. With its pretty flowers and delicate leaves, the pink takes its Japanese name from the tenderness it inspires, similar to the feeling when patting a child affectionately on the head (naderu). One of the Aki No Nanakusa (The Seven Flowers of Fall), it blooms around August and September, bringing forth five delicately separated pink-edged white petals. In olden times, it was also known as tokonatsu, or "everlasting summer". In the modern world, the term yamato nadeshiko is used to describe the ideal Japanese woman.