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Accepted Paper:

Kimono Pattern Books as Merchandise: The Innovation and Universality of the Shōtoku Hinagata  


Aki Ishigami (International Research Center for Japanese Studies)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I consider that the innovativeness of the Shōtoku hinagata is influenced by illustrated encyclopedic dictionaries of the same period. In addition, through comparing kimono pattern books reprinted in the Meiji period, I discuss the reconnection between Edo and modern culture.

Paper long abstract:

Until the first printed hinagatabon was published in 1666, kimono pattern books for women of noble samurai and wealthy merchants were hand drawn for orders at clothing retailers. The fact that printed hinagatabon were now being published demonstrates that the customer base for kimono had spread to the general public and that the variety of designs was increasing. Though most hinagatabon were published from 1684 to 1705, the Shōtoku hinagata (1713) was a ground-breaking project. This paper will discuss the Shōtoku hinagata through both its innovation and universality. This book was the combined work of the publisher Hachimonji-ya and Ukiyo-e artist Nishikawa Sukenobu. Sukenobu was already famous at the time for shunga (erotic prints and books). The Shōtoku designs are separated by gender and class; noble women, military noble women, merchants, courtesans, and kabuki performers Wakashu (youths) and Yarō (female impersonators). One origin of this conceptualization was encyclopedic dictionaries. After the publication of the Kinmō zui(Illustrated Encyclopedia)in 1666, books of natural history, mostly published in Kyoto and Osaka, showing collections of all manner of things became popular, but it was the collaboration of Sukenobu and Hachimonji-ya that applied this classification to people and presented it as a hinagatabon.

This paper will also discuss the readers of this hinagatabon. Previous research has focused on hinagatabon as mainly practical guides for kimono producers, but it is clear in the Shōtoku hinagata that a different reader is in mind. Hachimonji-ya intended to enlarge its target audience by intensifying the aspect of pleasure reading. Finally, the Shōtoku hinagata was reorganized and retitled as the Shiki no yoso'ohi (Clothing of four seasons) in 1896 and influenced dyeing and weaving books of the Meiji period. It was during this period that classical and Edo period culture reappeared in the arts-and-crafts world and like Ogata Kōrin, Sukenobu's work was being reevaluated. By comparing the Shōtoku hinagata and Shiki no yoso'ohi, respectively from the Edo and Meiji periods, this paper will discuss contemporary reconnection to Edo period culture.

Panel VisArt03
Deciphering Edo Period Designs: The Social and Cultural Context of Early Modern and Modern Kimono Pattern Books