Art · Culture · Non-Fiction

Kimono Now by Manami Okazaki

What is it about?

Kimonos are an exquisite symbol of Japanese elegance – but how are they made, what do they mean, and how are they surviving in the modern world? Manami Okazaki answers all these questions and more in a series of fascinating interviews with those who know Japan’s traditional dress best – those make them, love them, and wear them. In Kimono Now Okazaki looks at traditional kimonos and the avant garde, as well as the art and subcultures they have influenced. The subjects covered in this book range from traditional Japanese dying techniques to the modern phenomena of cosplay.

Is it any good?

If you’re interested in kimonos or Japanese culture in general, then yes! This book is a great resource for those wanting to learn more about the diverse world of the kimono, illustrated with lots of gorgeous photographs that will make you wish kimonos were in fashion where you live. There is a good balance between text and images, and the sections are organised in a way that makes sense (e.g. the various dying methods are spoken about before the interviews with kimono makers so that all they have to say makes sense). Kimono Now reads somewhat like a magazine, in the respect that it is easy to dip in and out of – a perfect coffee table book for any Japanophile.

Rating: 9/10

How long did it take to read: two days

For fans of: Geisha by Liza Dalby, glossy fashion magazines, Kyoto: City of Zen by Judith Clancy

This book tastes like: melted sugar

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