Sunday, 9 December 2007

Men's obi

There are two types of obi men wear. They are called 'kaku obi' and 'heko obi'.

Kaku obi are stiff obi that are generally very narrow (5-6cm in width) compared to women's obi and come in dark colours such as navy, brown and black. While it is not the only pale colour used by men, white is still the most commonly seen colour for light-coloured obi. There is usually very little decoration, except for a little decorative stitching in a contrasting colour (eg. navy obi with white stitches, white obi with black stitches, etc.). Men's obi are usually worn off-center in the back and quite low on the waist, below the stomach.^^ Kaku obi is very versatile, and can be used formally or informally. However, like kimono and women's obi, this is limited to the type of material the obi is made of. Silk is, as always, most formal, with hemp being the least formal (although I'm not entirely sure if there are any obi made from hemp).

Different samples of kaku obi*:

Men's obi tied kai-no-kuchi style, front and back view**:

Another method of tying kaku obi, katabasami style***:

Heko obi are obi made from soft fabric that is used for both genders and is usually tied in a simple bow, though there are more feminine variations for women's heko obi. As with kaku obi, men's heko obi are narrower than women's. Heko obi is very casual; I've only ever seen it worn with yukata.

Women's heko obi, various styles^:

Men's heko obi, back view***:

* - from Kyoto Kimono
** - from JP NET Kimono Hypertext
*** - from this Japanese website
^ - from BOKUNAN-DO
^^ - from Wikipedia

No comments: