Lesson 4: Advanced kitsuke books

This lesson will cover more advanced kitsuke books, which mainly focus on different obi musubi (obi knots or bows). At the moment I only have two, but these two books are so full of information that they should satisfy most anyone’s needs. See also Lesson Three: Basic kitsuke books, where four all-around kitsuke books are introduced.

Some knowledge of Japanese is highly recommended, because although the photo directions in these particular books are good, at this level the written directions can make quite a difference in your understanding of the obi musubi. I’m an intermediate beginner in Japanese, and can nonetheless work my way through using a kanji dictionary. It is a great way to increase your vocabulary.

1. Obi Musubi [best select 50]
A selection of 50 obi musubi for all kimono types and occasions. Very nice addition to your kitsuke library.

o Preface with photos and descriptions of outfits, highly informative if you read Japanese
o Diagrams rather than photos in most cases, which make the directions very clear (photos can’t show everything)
o Innovative ways to tie the double-fold (fukuro obi, formal) otaiko musubi and the Nagoya obi otaiko by yourself
o Eleven other “taiko” styles (including fukura suzume)
o How to tie a bunko musubi by yourself, wearing a furisode
o Twelve other “bunko” styles
o Eight “tateya” styles, but not including the basic tateya musubi
o Five “freestyle” obi musubi (one informal, four formal)
o Eight hanhaba obi musubi
o Two men’s obi musubi (including “samurai musubi”)
o Men’s obi musubi adapted for women
o Six ways to wear obiage (including variations)
o Three ways to tie obijime (including variations)

2. Furisode kitsuke to obi musubi hyakka – dentou to shin kankaku no furisode obi musubi 103 shu
(Furisode dressing and musubi types for study – 103 kinds of furisode obi musubi traditions and new sensations)

A veritable encyclopedia (and in fact, the two characters read as “hyakka” are the same two characters that form the first part of the word for “encyclopedia” in Japanese) on furisode. All directions are photographed, with written explanations for each step. A must-have for furisode lovers, and anyone who wants to know how maiko (Kyoto geishas in training) dress. Read the overview for more!

[Note that there is another book that looks quite similar: Teihon kitsuke to obi musubi hyakka, translation: “Authentic book on kitsuke and obi musubi types for study”. I don’t have this one yet, but they say they have 100 original “flower” musubi, 105 musubi in all, and focus on ceremonial kimono.]

o Preface with photos of different furisode (beautiful!)
o Short section on skin tone, appropriate makeup and kimono color combinations
o How to wear furisode and graduation hakama
o How a maiko puts on her makeup and kanzashi
o How a maiko wears her juban, long furisode and darari musubi [please note that this is a type of obi which is only worn by maiko, and is much longer than the normal fukuro and maru obi – it’s very difficult to find]
o Dressing in jyuunihitoe (12-layered Heian dress)
o Wedding makeup, how to wear shiromuku: the pure white wedding nagajuban, kakeshita, fukuro/maru obi and uchikake wedding set; plus how to wear a Japanese wedding wig (katsura)
o Twenty-six “taiko” variations
o Twenty-six “bunko” variations (including basic bunko musubi)
o Sixteen “tateya” variations (including basic tateya musubi)
o Thirty-four “new sensation” obi musubi (very complicated and beautiful)
o Kitsuke points (body padding, collar line, obi, etc.)
o Fourteen furisode hairstyles and four yukata hairstyles
o Nine ways to tie obijime
o Nine ways to wear obiage
o Three bridal furisode obi musubi (kotobuki tateya, meiotobana, iwai suehiro)
o Furisode “manners” (taking off zori, opening and closing doors, sitting down and standing up, bowing while seated and standing, walking up and down stairs, etc.)
o Yukata kitsuke
o Twenty-two yukata obi musubi
o How to fix problems which arise when wearing furisode (and other kimono). Such as: date eri showing too much, back han eri showing too much, ohashori fold coming out, front panel falling too much, etc.
o How to fold kimono and obi.

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