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The Day I Wore an Imperial Kimono

On November 28th, I wore Juunihitoe for the first time in my life. Juunihitoe is a Japanese traditional kimono for imperial people. In English, Juunihitoe means 'twelve kimonos for one person.'

Putting on the wigBefore I wore Juunihitoe, I only knew that it was worn by people of high rank in the Heian era. And I just felt I am so lucky because I am sure I can’t wear or see Juunihitoe in Japan. But once I started wearing Juunihitoe, I was so surprised by its weight. It was about 40 pounds, including a wig. The wig alone was about 6 pounds and longer than me, so I got a headache. It was heavier than I expected, and I thought I couldn't keep standing. I couldn't even raise my hands after the third layer because of kimono's weight. While wearing Juunihitoe, honestly speaking, I regretted accepting the offer to model it a little bit because it was so hard.

But when I finished dressing, I was really glad and proud of myself. Guests at the event looked so excited and interested in Juunihitoe, so I was so happy. Through this event, I was able to learn a lot more about Juunihitoe than I learnt in Japanese class in Japan. Like each layer’s colors have different meanings, people of high rank in the Heian era put it on daily and wore it even when they were sleeping, and they walked with their knees because Juunihitoe is very heavy.

Before I dressed in Juunihitoe, I just thought I was so lucky and excited. But after that, I feel I love Japan more than before. I didn't imagine that I could wear Juunihitoe in the US. It was one of the most precious experience in my life, so it's going to be a good memory even though I caught a cold after the Juunihitoe event. Thank you Japan Society of Boston and Kyoto Costume Museum for giving me such a wonderful experience. And thank you all who attended this event.

-Honoka Kitaura, Japan Society of Boston Intern

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