Bilingual Book on How to Dress in Kimono and Obi

Sueko Oshimoto and Kentaro Terauchi sign copies of their bilingual book, “Obi Musubi,” which explains how to properly wear kimono and obi.

By TOMOKO NAGAI, Rafu Staff Writer

Fully licensed kimono instructor and costume designer, Sueko Oshimoto, and kimono stylist and photographer, Kentaro Terauchi, have published a new book in both English and Japanese.

“Obi Musubi” (full color, 224 pages) shows how to wear kimono and obi. With lots of photos and explanations, it’s a great resource for learning how to wear kimono and obi, getting information on the back and forth of Kimono, and just enjoying the beautiful pictures,

Oshimoto, is a certified dressmaker of the Yamano style kimono school in Japan. She and Terauchi run KIMONO SK, a service that offers kimono design, kimono rental, kimono art direction and kimono photography. The Japanese American community welcomes KIMONO SK as the supplier of beautiful furisode kimono to the Nisei Week queen and court for this year’s ceremony and parade.

Oshimoto says he decided to write a book in English in response to the wishes of many people around him. He is proud that there is no other book in English that teaches how to tie an obi.

This book is aimed at beginners to intermediate learners of kimono skills. It includes step-by-step instructions from casual to formal occasions, such as wearing a komon, tying a Nagoya obi, tying a double obi, and various ways to tie a half-width obi, as well as information on kimono and types of bad obi, kimono TPO (time, place, event) and kimono culture. Also included are modern kimono styles such as “vintage” and “kawaii.” He claims that a short obi or a small kimono can be worn with style considerations.

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Each step is explained in English and Japanese. Photos taken by Terauchi are used throughout, and steps can be followed with photos, making it easy to understand. You can learn stylish knots with the help of YouTube tutorial videos with the QR code provided in the book. Styles like “Fuji Darari” and “Agehacho” are perfect for yukata.

Sueko Oshimoto discusses the modern style and design aspects of the kimono in her book “Obi Musubi,” available at the store.

“There are many Japanese traditions and customs that are respected between Japanese and Japanese Americans,” Oshimoto said. “Omiyamairi is the first visit to a shrine with a newborn baby, Shichi-go-san is a celebration for children aged three, five and seven. Upcoming festivals and weddings, too, are associated with mono. They are important cultures that are deeply rooted in the hearts of Japanese people.”

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“On the other hand, I also wanted to write about modern style and design issues.”

Oshimoto insists that he would think that the different styles of kimono should be respected all, with proper distinction. “I divide it by modernity, gaming, and culture by culture. I think it doesn’t matter if we don’t separate by clearly understanding each category. Knowing the basics you need to apply to others. ”

Oshimoto explains how attractive the book is: “I can’t write everything in one book, but I put the most important things. I want readers to enjoy kimono with this book.”

The most difficult thing was the translation, especially how to translate the vocabulary ofkimono in English. Project coordinator and kimono instructor, Sachiko Kamiyama Perry, and editor, Beth Myers Yamamuro, assisted them. They spent over a year working as a team to complete the product.

Writers and a group of publishers recently held a soft-spoken party at Yamamuro’s home in Orange County. The open-house style celebration was attended by friends and guests working in kimono groups and businesses.

Akane Mashimo, vice president of the LA Kimono Club, which organizes the kimono contest held at the Little Tokyo New Year Festival, said, “We offer kimono classes and kimono rentals. English books will be very helpful.”

Keiko Hashimoto, a member of the LA Kimono Club, welcomed the book, saying, “By reading this book in English, the barriers between kimono and English-speaking students will be lowered, and kimono will become limitless.”

In a recent New Year’s pageant produced by the group, women from Africa and Korea wore kimonos on stage. More and more people love to wear kimono. “It doesn’t matter if you speak Japanese, or if you look Japanese,” Hashimoto said.

Elizabeth Cluff said she became interested in kimono after a New Year’s Eve party several years ago. “I don’t understand Japanese … This book cannot replace me. Its value is incomparable.”

In the first edition, 500 copies were printed. These books are available for R45 a copy. Orders can be placed worldwide with print-on-demand. Use this link:

For more information, visit:

Photos by TOMOKO NAGAI/Rafu Shimpo


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