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Geisha Culture and Arts for Use at

Amatsu Okiya in Second Life

Anatomy of a Kimono

 Kimono have many parts and each part has its own name and meaning. Being a symmetrical garment, the same name applies to both sides of the kimono. This is not meant to be exhaustive material, but again to give you an introduction into something you could spend many hours on individual study.

Doura - 胴裏 the upper lining of the inside of the kimono. Not seen in women's styles, but in men's this may be elaborately decorated.

Eri - 衿 the collar - same width as okumi, but folded in half

Fuki - the hem guard at the bottom of the kimono

Furi - the part of the sleeve that 'swings' below the armhole. It contains the tamoto

Mae-Migoro - 前身頃 the wide panel of the body of the kimono that extends from front over the shoulder without a seam. There is a seam across the back hidden beneath the obi. The seam connects the MaeMigoro to the Ushiro-Migoro

Miyatsukuchi - present only in a woman's kimono. The armhole on the body under where the sleeve is attached.

Okumi - 衽 or 袵 the narrow panel on the front body of the kimono. This adds extra width allowing the garment to wrap around the body rather than being left open like a coat

Sode袖 - This is the term for the sleeve as a whole, while other parts of the sleeve are divided into terms such as the Furi, Tamoto, Sode-Guchi, Sode-Tsuke, etc.

Sode-Guchi袖 - the sleeve opening around the wrist where the hand emerges. Sometimes there is extra material sewn in that can be manipulated for use in traditional dance and theater.

Sode-Tsuke - 袖付 - the armhole seam that connects the sleeve to the body of the kimono

Susomawashi - 裾回しThis is the lower lining of the kimono. In women's kimono, it is often made of more attractive fabric than the Doura, because it is more likely to be seen when the Okumi flaps open while walking, or if the hem becomes lifted when ascending stairs or stepping over puddles.

Tamoto - 袂 The sleeve 'pouch', essentially, the interior portion of the Furi that forms a 'pocket'

Referenced 4.19.15 fro

Types of Women's Kimono

 Kimono are chosen very carefully. The type of kimono worn is based on the time of year, woman's age, marital status and level of formality.

Kuro-tomesode is a black kimono patterned only below the waistline. This is the most formal kimono for married women. They also may be completely black with five kamon (family crests).

Iro-tomesode is single color (not black), patterned only below the waistline, worn by married women and may have kamon. It is only slightly less formal than Kuro-tomesode.

Homongi are worn by both mature and young women. It is characterized by patterns that flow over the shoulders, seams and sleeves.

Tsukesage a tsukesage has more modest patterns that cover less area, mainly below the waist, than the more formal homongi. They may also be worn by married and unmarried women

Iro-muji: single-colored kimono that may be worn by married and unmarried women. They are mainly worn to tea ceremonies etc. The dyed silk may be figured (rinzu, similar to jacquard, or damask silks), but has no differently colored pattern

Komon: 'fine pattern' in English. Kimono with a usually small, repeated pattern over the entire fabric. Somewhat casual: may be worn around town or dressed up with a nice obi for a restaurant. Both married and unmarried women may wear komon.

Edo komon: Edo komon is a type of komono characterized by tiny dots arranged in dense patterns that form larger designs.

Yukata: informal unlined summer kimono usually made of cotton, linen, or hemp. Yukata are most often worn to outdoor festivals, by men and women of all ages. They are also worn at onsen (hot spring) resorts, where they are often provided for the guests in the resort's own pattern. Yukata are worn as house robes and bathrobes too

Dancing kimono: these are called odori kimono and are often made of synthetic silk. They are more easy-care than silk. Many of them are tomesode kimono, with wonderful, striking designs and embroidery on them, no less beautiful or precious than the silk ones.

Furisode kimono: furisode literally translates as swinging sleeves-the sleeves of furisode average between 39 and 42 inches in length. Furisode are the most formal kimono for unmarried women.

Uchikake kimono: a striking, wonderfully ornate and very heavy kimono, worn open as a coat by a bride, over her wedding furisode kimono. Uchikake have plump, padded hems and are very long, the end is carried by bridesmaids as the bride walks. the wedding furisode worn beneath the uchikake also has a padded hem, but to a much lesser extent. Uchikake are often covered in sumptuous embroidery and the quantity of fabric and amount of embroidery makes them very weighty.

Retrieved on 4.19.15 from

Types of Obi

 The first obi were simply long, braided cords that could wrap around the body a few times and tied in the back, front or side. With time and the influence of Kabuki, the wide obi became more popular. Some say there are more than five hundred ways to tie an obi! The first popular musubi or knot was the darari obi which is still worn by the geisha apprentice today.

 Taiko (drum) musubi resembles a box. It is suited for both young and old and is suitable for any kimono except for furisode. 

There are so many types of Obi and they are clearly identified here

Other information retrieved 4.19.15 from

Maiko 1B: Kimono

Stages of getting dressed 

Underclothes: Clothing worn under a kimono varies by geisha choice. Some geisha wear nothing so as not to spoil kimono line. Others may wear a bra or some a linen wrap called a sarashi

Make-up is the next step. Face, neck and upper chest are painted with the white shironuri make-up. You learned of this in another lesson. Eyebrows are penciled in and red eyeliner is applied. The wig is applied. This style is specific to Kyoto geisha and worn only by geisha under the age of 30 years old. Tabi socks go on during this stage as well.

Hadjuban resembles a long, button-less blouse. It is worn right next to the skin - just like we might wear a slip under a dress.

Nagajuban is the main undergarment that goes on over the hadjuban. It is essentially a light-weight under kimono. A collar or eri is stitched on. Usually this is in a light, pastel color.

Finally, the main kimono is worn over all. Usually patterned according to the season. The less decoration, the more senior the geisha. The obi is worn of the obi-age, to help keep it solidly in position. Obi may be decorated in many ways: braids, pins additional layers of fabric - obi-jime.

Traditional footwear is zori sandals. 


1. Write and give a presentation to the okiya or your oneesan, Okaasan on a topic of some part of geisha dress. (accessories, obi, shoes, kimono, kanzashi, etc)

2. Perform ozashiki using a parasol or fans with streamers in your dance.

3. Do not proceed to next lesson until you have gained approval from Okaasan. 

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