Cultural Appropriation and Kimono

Do people really try to find racism/cultural appropriation where it is not? Am I confined to only wear ‘victorian’ style dresses and morris dancing outfits?

Having a blog always attracts nuisance and spam but when its about kimono you get woes of ‘cultural appropriation’. One discussion pointed me to a blog with passages like:

‘Viewing, enjoying, producing anime/manga is NOT cultural appropriation. BUT wearing a kimono could be.’

and also:

From my experience, Westerners are usually encouraged to try on and wear a kimono at festivals or other special events that celebrate Japanese culture. In this case, it is not cultural appropriation. The difference is due to two main points. First, the kimono is seen in its traditional form and worn correctly. Second, it is worn within an environment that is intended solely to celebrate Japanese culture. Someone from another cultural, even if participating, cannot appropriate it into his/her own.

Clearly this person has never heard of kimono-hime. This was a softer approach to the kimono-cultural appropriation argument, believe me other bloggers have accused us ‘non-Japanese’ kimono wearers of having some kind of sexual fetish.

To me kimono is fashion, wonderful fashion that needs time and appreciation. Do I feel I need to understand the deep cultural meaning of the garment to wear it? Do my jeans have a deep cultural meaning also? (In fact they do have a history but I am a land lover)

I probably do have a sizeable knowledge of kimono and the wearing of kimono. I know the rules so I can break them. I do have a warm fuzzing feeling in the back of my head as I plan to wear my thistle Ro kimono for an early summer lunch. I feel so ‘June/July’ with my thistle motif. If I wear my pinky cotton fukuro obi I will be very summer, even if the Rose motif says ‘April’.

However I feel that’s this kind of knowledge (and collection breadth, you need a lot of kimono and accessories to match each month!) should not be forced down the throats of new kimono wearers as well as the idea of cultural appropriation.

Kimono is wonderful, wear it, use it, incorporate it into your wardrobe and ‘western’ fashion sense. Steam punk it, goth it up, whatever suits you 🙂

Cultural appropriation is generally is applied ‘when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate in social, political, economic, or military status to the appropriating culture.*‘ As Japan is pretty much a super power and not a minority group with respects to the UK. I feel I am safe, however some lump me into the white western tirade of sci-fi domination proportions which I am not sure actually exists. It doesn’t in my life, or in my kimono group. However, some will say I am not educated enough hence the catch 22 and we are back to square one.

Wear kimono, love kimono.

*content from Wikipedia.