Ever since the Meiji period, the kimono has been commodified — nationally and internationally — as the Japanese national dress, symbolising Japan as a land full of exquisite, exotic traditions. While kimono production is now in decline, its image is still thriving, actively promoted and marketed to attract tourists — domestic and international ones alike — in quest of an “authentic”, sometimes premium, Japan experience.
As a result, the kimono consumed by visitors in Japan, especially in the emblematic “traditional” Kyoto, becomes an object that can be placed at the nexus of content and fashion tourism as well as pilgrimage, with the rental kimono practices or second-hand kimono purchases employing similar liminal dynamics.
This article analyses the interactions the kimono entertains between design and marketing, experience and global consumerism, tourism and pilgrimage; mapping the different territories shared by kimono pilgrims and their communitas by first looking at kimono as contents and secondly, kimono as rental / second-hand object.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Lucile Druet