What’s The Damage? Fowl Play–Featuring A Conversation About Western Market Insanity

Aaaaaand there ain’t no party like a peacock party because the peacock party don’t stop!

You know what my favorite thing about this antique hikifurisode (a furisode meant to trail) is? The process of purchasing it was basically surrounded by enough misconceptions about kimono to fill a bingo card. Let’s go over some of them.

It’s all things thing’s fault:

Holy what in the actual flying blue fuck, did I need a moment to recover from this when I first saw it. Look at this little card of horrors.

Because of the title on this vaguely kimono shaped tag card, I now know why so many western listings I’ve seen before have insisted on calling the garment an “obi kimono.” Ever be shopping and run into that? Someone lists one thing as several things? It’s this company’s fault apparently.

Not shocking, after all this happens inside the pretty well versed groups, too. When there’s a language barrier, shit gets mixed up. My ass thought rinzu (silk woven to be shiny) was jimon (a pattern woven in to the silk) for a good long while. Tons of people think “dounuki” is a noun, mostly because of listing translation errors/character limits. Shit happens.

We’ll start from the printed nonsense. Let me address the “no two are alike.” Are we just gonna sit here and pretend that mass production hasn’t existed for well over a century? Are we doing that? Or do white people just tend to think that kimono are so magical that there’s only one of any of them? These are the questions. But in the case of this delightful little peacock? Well here’s two more that I can find literally right now:

If you want them, they’re on Yahoo Japan Auctions and Mercari Japan respectively. What you might notice is that the only difference between these is that mine has pale bamboo instead of green. I assume, since this is a heavily stenciled design, that it has several more twinsies out there, and I will eat my own fucking shoes if there aren’t any with different colored bamboo.

With the bullshit assertation that all kimono are completely one of a kind out of the way, let’s address the hand written nonsense.

Pictured: Bullshit

They dated this piece as being Circa 1870. And when I read that I think I took psychic damage. Holy shit.

This is a spot where, really quick, I will take a moment to point out that the person I bought this from is not the person making these claims. They read the tag and made the listing, sure. But they were trusting this Obi Kimono company to know more than horseshit about what they were selling, and I think that’s actually pretty reasonable of them. I had a perfectly pleasant interaction with the seller of this piece, although they did not appreciate my blog’s potty mouth. Hahaaa, it’s not for everyone. But I’m the manager here, so here the fuck we are.

But this Obi Kimono company? They were out here acting like they had some authority on this subject. If they are going to do that, then I absolutely do expect more of them. Nobody who knows better is looking at this thing and saying: THIS IS DEFINITELY A MID-MEIJI ERA PIECE unless they also have a fucking dough hook embedded in their skull.

This is an earlier Showa Era hikifurisode. I would date it to be mid to late 1930s, and I’m fucking right about it because I used my goddamn eyes to tell. So they’re a good sixty fucking years wrong. There is so much development and so many style changes in that time period that you bet your sweet ass I expect a company that names its damn self “Obi Kimono” to be able to ballpark shit better than this.

I feel pretty comfortable shit talking these people because they do not appear to be in business anymore. Or at least they’re not particularly easy to search up by popping in “Obi Kimono Los Angeles” to any of my search engines. But if you’re reading this, anyone from this company: DO BETTER.

Let’s get to condition issues, then. The middle to later 30’s furisode of this kind had a tendency to be heavily stenciled and just plastered in kinsai, and this one is no different. And because it’s me, and we’re here, and why the fuck not–a huge amount of that kinsai needs a touchup.

There’s also this fun tendency with these healthy stenciled pieces where the kinsai just misses its mark a lot. I’m probably going to fix that.

Pictured: Almost.

It’s also just very dirty. There’s something about these pieces that makes them dirt magnets, and I actually think that it’s just that they tended to see more mileage than their older counterparts. The 30’s hikifurisode tend to get rode hard as hell. Most of it is kind of non-descript grime:

But some of it is most certainly moisture/sweat. Like this delightful blobs of bleh:

And those are the reasons I don’t just straight up lick everything that comes my way. There should be a better reason than that but there really isn’t. It was a lesson learned and not a common sense held, too. Imagine the flavors. LOL taste the rainbow or some shit. Possibly literally shit.

Moving inside, we have a cream lining and it’s in shit shape. I’m pretty sure that this is not the original lining because there are actually chunks of momi (red silk lining fabric) that are just kinda…left places. It’s weird. I don’t have a great photo of that and I already took it off the iko (kimono stand), so I’ll grab another picture to update with when I eventually do the lining repair. Because ugh:


But at least the hakakke is in good shape. Other examples of this design had a hiyoku (partial layer sewn in to give the appearance of multiple kimono), and this one does not. I’m thinking I’ll probably install one.

I mean, let’s be real. This thiccc, juicy hem deserves a companion, doesn’t it?


Aside from these things, I’ll need to do some tailoring. The sleeves need to be reaffixed to the body because they always fucking do. I do this repair so often that I can do it standing up and with the piece still hanging on the iko. Which doesn’t say a lot about the structural integrity of the design of the garment to begin with, but it does say a lot about how lazy I am when it comes to getting pieces of furniture to hold shit for me.

I actually think someone has tried to do this repair before. You know, just a hunch:

… … …


I’m being overly mean. I’ve seen way worse. Someone recently shared that someone tried to put couching threads back on a kimono with fucking super glue. My soul left my body for a moment. Like, yes, that’s recoverable on the silk but WHY?!

And then to sum up, I suppose, I will leave you with these to stuck up motherfucking birds. Because mother of god are they glorious.

Nothing says glorious wedding quite like anger chickens, I suppose.

Join me next time when I’ll be doing a small run of yet more Meiji Era uchikake. One of which was sent to me from the sunny coast of California to fix up for the fun. And from the Dangle Balls of Florida, another special guest will make an appearance on my iko–a glorious show piece with snow that is just goddamn filthy. I’ll be fixing them up and sending them home because while I don’t do this for pay, I absolutely will take in requests for repairs for the low low cost of not a damn thing except me being allowed to scream about it here if the project interests me enough.


One thought on “What’s The Damage? Fowl Play–Featuring A Conversation About Western Market Insanity

  1. To be fair, even the Japanese sellers date these kimono as Meiji period which tells a lot about actual kimono knowledge😅 This one is something else tho. Great work as usual!


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