Boy’s padded kimono with flags
Tsumugi silk, cotton ties, partial cotton and silk lining, waste silk padding
Stenciled warps and wefts

This kimono subtly supports Japan’s early 20th century expansionist policies. The three flags shown are Japan’s national flag (red disc on white ground), its military flag (red disc with red rays), and the flag of what was then the Japanese colony of Manchuria (parallel stripes). The colors are inaccurate, possibly relating to dye shortages occasioned by the military effort.  The extra flap of cloth, sewn down all across the hips, can easily be unstitched, and kept the child from outgrowing the kimono too quickly.


An interesting touch is the maker’s careful alignment of all the flags along the seams. As seen in previous instances, the person sewing the kimono may have little regard for matching or contrasting the designs on the left and right panels. More interesting still is the fact that the maker has taken special care to place the national flag just below the nape of the neck – exactly where the family crest would be on a more formal garment.

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