Yukata (informal summer kimono)
Several shibori techniques

In the book Wearing Propaganda, in the chapter Extravagance is the Enemy, author Jacqueline Atkins refers to cotton shortages resulting from the Japanese war effort, and governmental restrictions on the use of cotton put into effect in late 1939. Among the materials replacing cotton was rayon, so-called “artificial silk”. Atkins writes that in 1942 the government also mandated shorter sleeves on kimonos. The short sleeves on this yukata may reflect compliance with that regulation.

The large, bold design on this yukata (the design seen here is called manjugiku – chrysanthemum shaped like a manju, or bean paste bun) is typical of the ’30s, but the rayon content might place it closer to the end of that decade, or the beginning of the next decade. Most likely this yukata was made in the Arimatsu – Narumi area, which has specialized in shibori production for over two hundred years.

Double click on the photo above to see the smooth, shiny rayon fibers.