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Welcome to my sewing, historical reenactment, and CosPlay blog! Here on this blog you will find all of my random thoughts about sewing, the SCA, manga, anime, CosPlay, costume making, embroidery, sewing historically accurate Japanese costumes, and my fandom of Lord Sesshomaru whom I CrossPlay as.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Warrior's Kimono: Looking at what Sesshomaru wears


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A Warrior's Kimono
Looking at what Sesshomaru wears:


Kimonos are T-shaped, straight-lined robes that fall to the ankle, with collars and wide, full-length sleeves. Kimonos are wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial) and secured by a wide belt called an obi, which is usually tied at the back.



Nagajuban

Nagajuban or simply juban are kimono-shaped robes worn by both men and women beneath the main outer garment. Since silk kimonos are delicate and difficult to clean, the Nagajuban helps to keep the outer kimono clean by preventing contact with the wearer's skin. The sleeves of the Nagajuban are 3/4 length and do not have the long drapes as a Kimono does. Only the collar edge of the nagajuban shows from beneath the outer kimono.


Lord Sesshomaru's Kimono: Anime & Manga


Besides being the world's most powerful demon, Lord Sesshomaru is both a warrior and nobleman, a wealthy and powerful Feudal overlord (daimyo) and much feared aristocrat and as such wears a style of ceremonial Kimono which is only worn by the elite few of his social standing. This can be seen by the fact that he wears white, a color reserved only for royalty, brides, and the dead, and by the fact that there are so many imperial crests embroidered onto his Kimono.

Sesshomaru's Kimono is a very ceremonial style, of solid white, with full swinging sleeves that sweep in lengths just above his ankles. The lower quarter of each sleeve is dyed red, and the left shoulder is also dyed red.

On the front and back of each sleeve, near the boarder of the dye are embroidered three family crests (twelve in all). The crest is repeated on the neck and shoulder of the left side.

Each crest consists of a triple hexagon with a six petaled white plum/cherry blossom in the center of each red hexagon, surrounded by a white boarder.

There is some debate among fans as to the lower edge of the kimono and what it should look like, since the hem of Sesshomaru's kimono is never seen in either the books or the show. There is also question as to just how long the kimono he wears is; again, he wears a hakama over his kimono, so we never see the hem edge of it.

In the areas of Lord Sesshomaru's costume where we do not have a visual reference to go by, we must instead look to the history books and find out what a real warring lord of Endo Japan would have done, and in doing that, this is what my research told me:

When worn by common folk, soldiers, and laborers, the length of a kimono worn under a hakama would have been knee length. However, the kimonos worn by noblemen, lords, and aristocrats would have been long full length kimonos.

The length of Lord Sesshomaru's kimono should be long: very, very, very long. My study of Japanese fashion history tells me that a war lord of Sesshomaru's status, would have worn a kimono of overblown proportions, not only are the sleeves abnormally long, but so to would have been the length of the kimono, which in some cases would have a train several feet long in the back! All of this extra fabric however would not be seen, because it would be girdled with a braided cord, and stuffed into the legs of the overlaying hakama, thus helping to give the hakama it's huge ballooning pant-legs-effect.

Additionally, my research tells me that the hem edge of the kimono would be patterned and decorated to match the pattern of decoration on the sleeves and left shoulder. Note that the fact that the pattern is ONLY on the left shoulder, is an indication that this is not only a lord, but a lord of near Shogun status. Lord Sesshomaru is a very high ranking lord.

So my advice? I would say to make his kimono at least 4 inches longer than floor length for the wearer, and dye the lower 8 to 12 inches red to match the sleeves, and add imperial crests staggered at the same intervals as on the sleeves..

Beneath his Kimono Sesshomaru wears a white (or sometimes red flower print) Nagajuban.

This is the ONLY version ever to be drawn by Sesshomaru's creator Rumiko Takahashi. All other versions of his costume were created by the tv anime artists and manga inkers.

On occasion, Sesshomaru is seen wearing a slightly different kimono. This can be considered either a mistake on the pat of the anime artists, or an indication that he has not one, but four different kimonos.

Alternate Kimonos #1 and 2 are essentially the same as his regularly worn kimono, the only difference being the color of the dye and patches.

Alternate Kimono #3 is completely different and is much less formal as is has no crests on it at all.

If you want to make one of the alternate kimonos, they are described as follows:


Alternate Kimono #1 (Manga Only)




Sesshomaru's Alternate Kimono #1, is a very ceremonial style, of solid white, with full swinging sleeves that sweep in lengths just above his ankles. The lower quarter of each sleeve is dyed purple, and the left shoulder is also dyed purple.

On the front and back of each sleeve, near the boarder of the dye are embroidered three family crests (twelve in all). The crest is repeated on the neck and shoulder of the left side.

Each crest consists of a triple hexagon with a six petaled white plum/cherry blossom in the center of each purple hexagon, surrounded by a white boarder.

Beneath his Kimono Sesshomaru wears a white (or sometimes purple flower print) Nagajuban.

This is a rarely seen alternate version of Lord Sesshomaru's kimono. This is the second most commonly drawn version featured in non-cannon daijoshi manga.


Alternate Kimono #2 (Manga Only)


Sesshomaru's Alternate Kimono #2, is a very ceremonial style, of solid white, with full swinging sleeves that sweep in lengths just above his ankles. The lower quarter of each sleeve is dyed blue, and the left shoulder is also dyed blue.

On the front and back of each sleeve, near the boarder of the dye are embroidered three family crests (twelve in all). The crest is repeated on the neck and shoulder of the left side.

Each crest consists of a triple hexagon with a six petaled white plum/cherry blossom in the center of each blue hexagon, surrounded by a white boarder.

Beneath his Kimono Sesshomaru wears a white (or sometimes blue flower print) Nagajuban.

This is a rarely seen alternate version of Lord Sesshomaru's kimono, however, once it surfaced, it quickly became the most beloved one used by fans, as when wearing blue, Sesshomaru seems less fierce than when wearing red. This is the most commonly drawn version featured in non-cannon daijoshi manga.



Alternate Kimono #3 (Movie Only)



Sesshomaru's Alternate Kimono #3, is of a less formal style than the other three. This is the kimono we see him wearing before he became a Lord, seen only once during a flash back. This kimono is the one he wore when he was still quite young, aged at about 14 or 15 years old in "human years". Once again, it is of solid white, with full swinging sleeves that sweep in lengths just above his ankles. The lower quarter of each sleeve is dyed a deep-bright reddish-rose pink, more accurately called a shade of magenta.

On the front and back of each sleeve, floating just above the boarder of the dye, is painted three very large and bold lotus flowers (twelve in all). The flower pattern is repeated with yet another large lotus flower on the neck and shoulder of the left side extending down to the sleeve.

Beneath his Kimono Sesshomaru wears a white (or sometimes lavender flower print) Nagajuban.



What's your take on this? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post. Leave a comment and share your views!



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