Japanese Obi

What is Japanese Obi?

Japanese obi is a sash for traditional Japanese dress Kimono. When we wear kimono  we use Obi (sash) as a belt. Obi’s have beautiful design and are woven. Obi is an important item to make your kimono stunning! When you wear kimono that obi comes to the center of your body so it definitely catches people's eyes.

Nowadays, a woman's formal obi can be 30 cm (12 in) wide and more than 4 m (13 ft) long, and moreover, there are same types of woman's obi with various designs, colors, and ways of tying the knot.
It is said that today's Japanese obi style originated from Kabuki (Japanese classic drama) in the mid Edo period (17 th century.) To emphasize femininity, a popular actor wore a wider obi than general ones in those days and tied it on his back. (In Kabuki, male actors play female role.)
The new style he did was very beautiful and elegant, and, became popular among female townspeople. By the 20th century, it was firmly established as the basis for the modern obi.

Japanese obi types.
There are many types of obi. The fanciest and most colorful  obis are for young unmarried women.
The contemporary woman's obi is a very conspicuous accessory, sometimes even more than the kimono robe itself. A fine formal obi might cost more than the rest of the  outfit. Obis are categorized by their design, formality, material, and use.

Maru obi

Maru obi is one of the highest grade obis,and therefore the most valuable. It is made by folding a cloth in two and both front reverse sides are fully patterned with the same design. Since Maru obi is very heavy and expensive, Nowadays it is obsolete and only used by Maiko (Geisha, Japanese traditional dancing girl) and brides as a part of their wedding outfit. The lighter Fukuro obi has taken the place of Maru obi, therefore most Maru obi on the market are old and scarce. These are beautiful and gorgeous arts of Japanese culture and you can proud of owing it.

Fukuro obi /Rokutsu obi
Fukuro Obi
Fukuro obi is less formal than Maru obi but the most formal obi actually used today. It is made by either folding cloth in two or sewing two pieces of cloth together. Fukuro obi has replaced heavy Maru obi  as common obi used for ceremonies and celebrations except marriage outfits, because it is almost impossible to distinguish Fukuro obi from Maru obi when they are worn. The most formal and expensive Fukuro obi is fully patterned on front side from end to end, called Zentsu The most popular Fukuro Obi is the Rokutsu obi.  It is patterned only 60% areas on both ends of its front side. They are designed so where the Obi is tied is where there is no pattern only cloth; they are relatively easy to own less expensive.

Han hada obi with Yukata 

Han hada Obi

Han hada (Half-width) Obi is an unlined and casual obi that is used for YUKATA(light cotton kimono for summer ) and everyday kimono. It is 15 cm  (5.9 in) wide and 3 m (9.8 ft) to 4 m (13 ft) long and relatively easy to tie up. It is reversible and is popular because it can be folded and twisted in several ways to show color effects when used for Yukata. Han haba -obi has many variations of colors and designs today.

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