Guest Curated by Hitomi Harama | Founders Gallery

This exhibition introduces the essence of traditional Japanese Kimono culture. The intent of this exhibition is to showcase the codes and the culture behind Kimono, its artistic form and complexity, along with the etiquette of Kimono attire for different seasons and occasions. Kimono is not simply an article of clothing; it embodies centuries of cultural development and history of Japan.

The Kimono is a traditional Japanese garment familiar to people in the Western world. However, the detail and features that characterize Kimono culture are not so well known.  This is probably because the Kimono wearing tradition and its culture have diminished greatly in modern Japanese society. Presently not many Japanese people even know how to wear a Kimono, nor the culture of traditional Kimono. Although there is a growing subculture of Kimono fashion with an “avant-garde” twist among young Japanese girls, the Kimono is largely a disappearing fashion and tradition in Japan.  

The intricate detail and features that characterize Kimono culture are very intriguing for Kimono-lovers but seem too perplexing for many people, even for Japanese who no longer wear the Kimono as everyday clothing. The tradition of Kimono culture would possibly be lost if no attention was brought to bear.

To understand the true beauty of the Kimono, knowledge of its unwritten “code” is essential. Examples of this code include classification from casual to formal occasions and the seasonal differences within the patterns, motifs and textiles used. 

We are able to show only a segment of the code of the Kimono at this time. However, it would be worthwhile if we could bring attention to the concept of the differences required depending upon the season and occasion. 

This Kimono exhibition will include both my family and local collections. All of my family’s collections have been shipped from Japan for this exhibition. The local collections are borrowed from owners resident in Victoria. 

Additionally, this exhibition contains a digital component providing valuable Kimono examples that are physically unavailable for display at this time.

I would like to thank the AGGV curator, Barry Till, who has a great understanding and profound knowledge of Asian Art and culture.  Without his guidance, this exhibition would not be possible. I would also like to thank Michiko Sakamoto-Senge, who introduced me to Barry and offered her personal kimonos for this exhibition.  Special thanks go to Hiroko Harama in Japan, who loaned her collections of Kimono and supported this exhibition.