Over the Blue Horizon

Kimono Sash and the Colors of Japan

"Kimono Sash and the Colors of Japan" is a wonderful resource about Japanese obis (sashes) worn with kimono. 

Author Katsumi Yumioka began his career as a hair stylist, even participating in Christian Dior shows. Eventually he became a kimono stylist and started collecting antique kimono, which led to the establishment of his antique kimono shop, Ichinokura.

Japanese people have been highly aware of color and have a unique aesthetic sense when it comes to combining colors, which resulted in the development during the Heian period (794-1185) of a color scheme method called "kasane-no-irome" where outer and inner kimonos formed layers of different colored fabrics. This book introduces obi made in the last years of the Edo period (1603-1868) to the middle of the Showa period (1926-1989), and focuses on color schemes used on the obi. The images on the obi have been classified by the combinations of colors using distinctively Japanese descriptive expressions. On the pages explaining the color schemes, there are circles containing the colors used in the pictured obi and commentary on the traditional Japanese colors in the obi are provided. The techniques and patterns of special obi and the history of the period when they were made are also included. The table of contents for the book is arranged by these color combinations. 

Two of the best features of the book are the gorgeous photographs and the fact that the text is in both Japanese and English. An education in Japanese design and culture! Anyone interested in color theory or design can use these color combinations as inspiration and a reference - the color combinations are all set out for you in the obi designs!

Yumioka has written other books in this series - "Kimono and the Colors of Japan", "Child Kimono and the Colors of Japan", and "Summer Kimono and the Colors of Japan".

"Kimono Sash and the Colors of Japan" is a brand-new 240-page softcover book published by Pie Books in 2008. This book is a wonderful introduction into Japanese obi and color theory as well as Japanese culture and design.