Tokyobling's Blog

Parade of Kimono – University Graduation

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on May 24, 2012

In March, the traditional month for all university graduations in Japan, I happened to be in Tokyo’s Kudanshita district, just near the Budokan in the Kitamaru Koen. This was the big day for all students at Nihon Daigaku, the biggest university in Tokyo and in Japan with almost 70 000 undergraduate students. The graduation ceremony had ended and hundreds of the most wonderfully dressed young women paraded past me, of course I had to snap a few photos! The traditional graduation dress of women in Japan consist of the kimono over which a hakama is worn, the trouser like skirt also often worn by martial artists. It’s a gorgeous combination! To this form of kimono, it is common to wear boots of the 1920′s era rather than the more traditional sandals.

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  1. Coal said, on May 24, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Interesting observation about the boots—had been wondering about that myself. I notice none of the men are wearing kimono. Men should definitely wear them more often.

    Disclaimer: I have a kimono which I have worn exactly once ever. Mrs Coal won’t let me wear it because it’s invariably the wrong season for that particular type, or somesuch. She knows her kimono etiquette, and adheres to it strictly.

    • tokyobling said, on June 2, 2012 at 12:47 am

      Coal – I agree! Most men look awkward in western clothes but perfectly relaxed in Kimono! I’m glad I’m not the fashion dictator of this country (^-^) I know what you mean about the kimono, at least you have the physical build to look decent in one – a twig of a man like me could never pull it off. (^-^;)

  2. arialuna said, on May 24, 2012 at 7:13 am

    so nice! fantastic color! thank you

    • tokyobling said, on June 2, 2012 at 12:48 am

      Thank you for the comment Aria! (^-^)/

  3. Matt said, on May 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Love all the spring colors, and the boots seem like a very practical combination. You know this is one of the first times I’ve seen women wearing kimono with braided hair.

    • tokyobling said, on June 2, 2012 at 12:50 am

      Thank you Matt! I would imagine the boots being easier to walk around in than the sandals, but having never worn either I don’t know for sure. Yes, this kimono style has as a perk much more interesting hair styles, although in the last decades the hairstyles have gone from simple braids as a decoration towards the more full blown coming-of-age-day style of hair styling. (^-^)

  4. schronienie said, on May 24, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    this is gorgeous!

    • tokyobling said, on June 2, 2012 at 12:51 am

      Thank you for the kind comment Schronienie! (^-^)/

      • schronienie said, on June 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm

        schronienie means refuge :)

        • tokyobling said, on June 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm

          Is it Polish? I haven’t been there for 12 years! (^-^;)

          • schronienie said, on June 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm

            yes, it’s Polish. why did you go to Poland?

          • tokyobling said, on June 3, 2012 at 2:57 am

            Tourist! There’s soooo many reasons to visit Poland! My best memory was of visiting a Bar mleczny in Warsaw. (^-^)

          • schronienie said, on June 3, 2012 at 9:56 am


  5. Al said, on May 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    love the gate perspective, interesting insight into Japan’s graduation ceremonies, very, very nicely done.

    • tokyobling said, on June 2, 2012 at 1:03 am

      Thank you Al! (Or is that AI?) Glad you liked it! (^-^)

  6. dafarmer said, on May 27, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Wow great set! I love the colors of the kimono, must have been tons of people taking pictures since I see some people actually posing. :P

    • tokyobling said, on June 2, 2012 at 1:08 am

      Thank you Dina! I think a lot of them are actually taking pictures of each other, I think they were confused as to why a foreigner was there shooting with a professional looking camera… (^-^)

  7. graduate jobs said, on June 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    amazing photographs. I wore hakami myself during Aikido, but I didn’t know they were also female dress. They look really good combined with the kimono. It’s interesting to see the old (kimono, hakami) with the new (Louis Vuitton handbags and mobile phone.)

    • tokyobling said, on June 12, 2012 at 10:38 am

      Thank you! The hakama is only very rarely seen worn by men outside of shrines or the dojo these days. The combination with the posh handbags and smart phones we see quite often though! (^-^)

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