This piece showcases an abstract sakura pattern. Although the sakura has always been a popular motif in Japan, patterns featuring the flower were limited. This is largely due to the correlation of how the cherry blossom season is so short, thus in the past, the wearing of kimonos bearing the sakura motifs were also short.
Large patterns were mainly kept for traditional japanese dance and kabuki theater, due to how recognizable they were. When used in kimonos for fashion, the patterns are generally much smaller in size, and even used as stencil motifs. They range between featuring single blossoms, to branches laden with blossoms and also as part of a weeping cherry tree. The sakura are also combined with other motifs, such as flowing water in the sakuragawa (cherry blossom river) design, and atop a raft as in the hana-ikada (floral raft) design, and are also mixed with scenery to create depth.
These kimono likely 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.