Karakusa Kimono


Karakusa Kimono

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The popularity of arabesque pattern or Karakusa patterns dates from the second half of the Edo period (1604-1867). The patterns were first introduced into Japan during the Asuka (592 – 710) and the Nara (711 – 794) periods via trade with the Chinese mainland and is often combined with botanical motifs, although is not limited to that. The arabesque is an ornamental pattern consisting of intertwined flowing lines that originated in the western Asian region and gained popularity internationally after.

The original pattern was called Karakusa, it was followed by more decorative patterns of Renge and Ungyo, the latter of which was worn by court nobles, aristocrats and priests. With the advent of the Kamakura period (1192-1333) and with the samurai class gaining more and more power, the samurai began to use these patterned fabrics both for their everyday clothing as well as for their amour. 


These kimono uses the technique of Kasuri. Kasuri (絣) is the Japanese term for fabric that has been woven with fibers dyed specifically to create patterns and images in the fabric, typically referring to fabrics produced within Japan using this technique. It is a form of ikat dyeing (resist dyeing), traditionally resulting in patterns characterized by their blurred or brushed appearance.

Some sources claim that kasuri was invented by a young girl, Den Inoue (1788–1869). Ikat techniques were practiced in the Ryukyu Kingdom (modern-day Okinawa) in the 12th or 13th century, and kasuri textiles were produced for export in the 14th century. After the invasion of the Ryukyu Kingdom in 1609, kasuri techniques entered southern Japan and had moved northwards to the Nara area of Honshu by 1750.

Increases in production continued until the 1930s, when the national government outsourced it to new colonies. By the last quarter of the 20th century, few people could afford the time necessary to dye and hand weave their own cloth. However, contemporary artisans continue to produce highly prized textiles using traditional methods.

Care Instructions

  1. Dry clean (recommended) / Handwash.
  2. Store in cool and dry place away from direct sunlight without plastic covering to avoid trapping humidity and mildew
  3. Note: As with most vintage clothing, there might be slight stains and small holes dependent on the condition of the piece.