Taisho Furisode–Red Cranes & Waves

Red Silk Adorned With Cranes In Flight Over Wild Waves

This is a delightful Taisho Era furisode, which I believe to have originally been a part of a San-Mai-Gasane, which is a set of three near identically patterned bridal furisode. I have only really seen pictures of sets with all three together, and the ones that I have seen depicted a red, white, and a black furisode. I doubt that I will ever find her sisters, but that would be something.

This was a purchase I made domestically. Most of my kimono collection is actually imported from Japan directly–typically through auction. Buying kimono from here in the United States can be a bit of a gamble, and I’ll go over that in other posts, but I think the person who owned it the longest understood what it was. It has been very well cared for.

One peculiar thing about this piece is that that the whole body is not lined. Only the sleeves and the collar have the proper (in this case, red) lining fabric. Elsewhere, it was either never present or was expertly removed. On the inside where the hakkake (the decorated lower inner skirt) meets the body, there are the tiniest, most perfect stitches holding it in place. Everything is tidy and tucked away with such care. It is actually because of this, I wonder if the lining had been damaged before I took ownership of it, or if perhaps this is a piece that is meant to be a second layer in a bridal ensemble.

This is also one of my few five crested pieces that is not black. (For those just joining in, five crests suggests that it is a garment of the highest formality.) They are Gyoyo Kiku Kamon (Broad leaf and chrysanthemum crests). The whole piece is adorned with kasumi (haze, tsuru (cranes), and nami (waves) and the colour of the silk as it appears on screen–or at least my screen–is correct. It is screaming red. The hem is very slightly padded, giving it a nice weight. I have worn this one a few times, and it’s a delightful, breathable, wonderfully soft kimono.

Speaking of wearing it, I’ve literally had people offer to buy this one off of me. As in…while I was wearing it. Which was weird. It’s not the offer, because that has happened before. But it’s when I’m wearing a haori (jacket), and therefore have other clothes on. Even if I had been interested in selling it, which I am not…


Seriously, though, is that a thing? Do people ask to buy pants off of other people? Did I just miss out on that by having woefully boring pants? I have so many questions.

I will probably wear this one again, so I’ll report back if I ever get an answer to that. I’m technically too old and too married to be wearing furisode. I wear them with subdued obi and musubi (belt and the bow it’s tied in) so as to nod to that tradition. Of course it’s never my intention to be disrespectful, but everything is legal when there’s no cops around! They can pry it off my cold, dead, married body. This is one of my favorite pieces. Get used to hearing that, I typically only buy things I really like.

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