Sodo Kimono Contest

Sqeeeeeeee!  Today I watched the Sodo School of Kimono (makers of the biyosugata) preliminary round for Shikoku and Chugoku.  A few of my friends were competing in the contest (I decided not to due to an extremely hectic work schedule) so I had people I was cheering for!

The itinerary was women’s furisode (using the biyosugata to create a plump sparrow bow), women’s tomesode, women’s casual, men’s category, children’s category, foreigner’s category, and the team category (think synchronized swimming but with kitsuke).  Contestants in each category had eight minutes to complete their kituske, but the fastest kistuske of the day was 2:19! He was a 16 year old who practiced three hours a day.  He ended up winning the men’s competition!

The opening ceremony.  I mentioned it in a previous post, but privacy laws are strict in Japan.  I could only get permission from a few friends to post their photos so I have to censor everyone else's faces to protect their privacy.

The opening ceremony. I mentioned it in a previous post, but privacy laws are strict in Japan. I could only get permission from a few friends to post their photos so I have to censor everyone else’s faces to protect their privacy.

The women's furisode competition.

The women’s furisode competition.

The women's tomesode competition.

The women’s tomesode competition.

The women's casual competition.  The judges are examining their obi.

The women’s casual competition. The judges are examining their obi.

The men's competition.  This is the first place winner.  He's only 16 years old, but he practices three hours a day!

The men’s competition. This is the first place winner. He’s only 16 years old, but he practices three hours a day!

The children's competition.  Contestant #2 wasn't having anything to do with it.  The organizers eventually had to come out, dress her, then take her off stage when she started crying.  She didn't win, but she stole the show!

The children’s competition. Contestant #2 wasn’t having anything to do with it. The organizers eventually had to come out, dress her, then take her off stage when she started crying. She didn’t win, but she stole the show!

These four and five year olds were some of the first children to finish dressing.  The first completed kitsuke clocked in at 3:32.

These four and five year olds were some of the first children to finish dressing. The first completed kitsuke clocked in at 3:32.

The team competition.  Everyone dressed in sync, and at the end, they all checked each other to fix any tucks or wrinkles that may have been missed.

The team competition. Everyone dressed in sync, and at the end, they all checked each other to fix any tucks or wrinkles that may have been missed.

Kimono and hijab work really well together.  This team is from one of the local universities and I think they're from Indonesia.

Kimono and hijab work really well together. This team is from one of the local universities and they’re from Malaysia.

The foreigner competition!  I focused on my friend here because I can actually show her face and she was placed right in front of me so getting photos was easy!  Here she is tying her obi with the biyosugata.

The foreigner competition! I focused on my friend here because I can actually show her face and she was placed right in front of me so getting photos was easy! Here she is tying her obi with the biyosugata.

lining up the eri.  All the competitors had to turn to the side to avoid flashing the judges.

Lining up the eri. All the competitors had to turn to the side to avoid flashing the judges.

Adjusting the ohashori.

Adjusting the ohashori.

tying the obiage after putting on the obi.

Tying the obiage after putting on the obi.

One final check before going to the judges.

One final check before going to the judges.

Second person to finish!  This is my other friend, the only man in the foreigner competion.  I wanted to get more pics of him,  but he was on the other side of the stage and my camera couldn't handle the distance in a dark theater.  Sorry!

Second person to finish! This is my other friend, the only man in the foreigner competition. I wanted to get more pics of him, but he was on the other side of the stage and my camera couldn’t handle the distance in a dark theater. Sorry!

Getting interviewed.

Being interviewed.

Getting interviewed again.  It's really nerve wracking and easy to forget your Japanese when EVERYONE is looking at you!

Being interviewed again. It’s really nerve wracking and easy to forget your Japanese when EVERYONE is looking at you!

Getting the obi judged.

Getting the obi judged.

After the competition, before they announced the results, there were a couple of demonstrations.  First was, I kid you not, dancing while putting on kimono.  Synchronized kitsuke to the max!  A friend of mine managed to film it in two sections.

After that, there was a demonstration of obi tying in the shape of flowers.  Absolutely stunning!

kiku obi!

Kiku (chrysanthemum) obi!

Momo/peach blossom (I think) obi

Momo/peach blossom (I think) obi

 

Finally, the results.

Guess who got first place in the foreigner's category?  CONGRATS!

Guess who got first place in the foreigner’s category? CONGRATS!

She'll get to go onto the national competition in Tokyo next year.  Good luck!

She’ll get to go onto the national competition in Tokyo next year. Good luck!

The is the kimono queen, the grand prize winner of the contest accepting her prize.

This is the kimono queen, the grand prize winner of the contest accepting her prize.

 

 

 

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Kiku (菊) Chrysanthemum

Name: kiku (菊) Chrysanthemum

Seasonal Association: Autumn

When To Wear It: All Year

Auspicious: Yes

History:

Kiku was introduced from China during the Nara period. They typically bloom in late summer and will last until the first snowfall. Because of their hardiness and medicinal properties, kiku are often associated with longevity. Perhaps because of this, the kiku was adopted by the Japanese imperial family as its crest and the official flower of Japan. The Japanese emperor is said to sit on the chrysanthemum throne and it is the longest uninterrupted line of monarchs in the world making the long-lived kiku a very appropriate symbol.

The crest of the imperial family shows a kiku with 16 petals in the front and 16 almost completely hidden petals in the back. Only the emperor can use the 16 petaled kiku, so kiku found on kimono, official documents, Japanese passports, and the 50 yen coin will all have a different number of petals.

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forgive my poor photography skills.

Traditionally, kiku are celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth month (according to the old Japanese calendar) during the Choyo Festival, but this tradition has fallen out of favor in modern times. The Choyo Festival was traditionally the signal to change from unlined hitoe kimono to lined awase kimono.

Identification:  There are four distinct types of kiku found on kimono.

1: Kiku 菊(Chrysanthemum)

The standard kiku has tightly packed petals that are either round or elongated, but are always smooth around the edge. Kiku with round petals tend to have more than one layer. Kiku with elongated petals tend to have only one layer of petals.

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Kiku with elongated petals.  The first example has a double layer of  petals while the second example only has a single layer.

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Kiku with more rounded petals and many layers.

2: Nejigiku 捻じ菊(Twisted chrysanthemum)

This flower resembles a regular kiku with elongated petals, but the petals are twisted around the center.

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please note, the flower with five petals is not a kiku but an ume (plum blossom). 

3: Koringiku/manjugiku* 万寿菊 (Steamed bun chrysanthemum)

This is a very stylistic depiction. It was first created by the artist Korin Ogata, and took its name from him, but it also resembles a manju (steamed bun) and was given this colloquial name as well. This kiku is very round and has no defined petals.

*manjugiku also means marigold in Japanese.

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4: Ragiku 乱菊 (Spider chrysanthemum)

This kiku has clusters of long, narrow petals with a distinctive upwards curl at the end of the petal.

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