HYAKUNINIn KIMONO world, there are special bi-color patterns called “KASANE-IROME” in which the specific pairs of various Japanese colors are thought to emphasize the beauty of KIMONOs.

This idea is said to have started approximately 1,000 years ago, during the HEIAN period, for Imperial court lady’s’ KIMONOs which were worn in layers, known as “JŪNI-HITOE”.

JUNI-HITOEThose ladies were likely to enjoy applying these color combinations in their KIMONOs by giving particular name even to each pair.

The number of the pairs is ranging seemingly to 200 kinds. Each color tone is reflecting nature and each name also has terms of seasons or natural sceneries; amazing sensitivity possessed by those ladies!

 

 Now, let’s see some pairs of KASANE-IROME depending on each season:

 

Spring

KOBAI

KŌBAI

A pair called “KŌBAI”, portraying rose plums in blossom in early spring, using two Japanese colors known as “KŌBAI” (front) and “SUŌ” (back).

KIYANAGI

A pair called “KIYANAGI”, portraying leaves of willow sprouted in early spring, using two colors of Japanese light yellow (front) and green (back).

Summer

AOI

AOI

A pair called “AOI”, portraying beautiful violet hollyhocks among midsummer leaves, using two colors of Japanese light green (front) and light violet (back).

YURI

YURI

A pair called “YURI”, portraying star lilies bloomed from May to August, using two colors known as Japanese red (front) and “KUCHIBA” (back).

Autumn

OMINAESHI

OMINAESHI

A pair called “OMINAESHI”, portraying Golden Lace flowers scattered on the tip of its stem, using two colors known as Japanese “TATE-AO-NUKI-KI” (front) and green (back).

OCHIGURI

OCHI-GURI-IRO

A pair called “OCHI-GURI-IRO”, portraying the scenery of late autumn with fallen ripen chestnuts, using two Japanese colors known as “SUŌ” (front) and “KŌIRO” (back).

Winter

KAREIRO

KAREIRO

A pair called “KARE-IRO”, portraying the tranquil withered field of winter season, using two colors of Japanese “USU-KŌIRO” (front) and green (back).

TSUBAKI

TSUBAKI

A pair called “TSUBAKI”, portraying winter camellia conspicuously gracefully bloomed amid winter, using two colors of “SUŌ” (front) and Japanese red (back).

 

 

These are only part of the pairs of KASANE-IROME.

In those days, I think Japanese people admired the four seasons and its natural features and then embraced its colors into their costume.

From then on, a method of “KUSAKI-ZOME” (natural dyeing with plants) developed.
For KUSAKI-ZOME, let’s talk in a future article!