Attending many kimono auctions (here in Japan, auctions are separated- auctions for dealers only -- those are the ones we attend), we sometimes see very unique motif kimono/obi. At the latest auction, the obi (above photo) was offered and there was a stir in the auction room. We see war motif kimono once in a while including children's kimono or men's kimono/haori. We even see war motif women's kimono/obi -- we hear war motif became popular during WWII. In Japan, there seem not so many collectors, actually, most inquiries we receive about war motif kimono are from overseas.
This obi was not like anything I have seen before. Since there was printing technique already at that time, we sometimes see war motif kimono with same design or similar design. The motif of three soldiers (these soldiers are called `Bakudan sanyushi' or `Nikudan sanyushi' which means `Three human bombs') are quite often seen. The death of the three soldiers became one of the most heroic story and movies and songs were made after those soldiers. We have seen this motif in the lining of men's haori sometimes. They were praised selfless and heroic attack to the barbed wire entanglement with bomb in their hands - actually it is now said the truth was, they were not willing to rush into the wire entanglement but it had to happen by accident.
When the square bow is tied, this part - three soldiers with bomb and also wire entanglement, they are the main design but there are traditional kiku (crysanthemum) and other old motif. Why they put flowers? It is weired and the design made me think.
What kind of women made this obi ? what for?
War motif kimono with cute children figure make us very uncomfortable. Why mothers at that time made kimono for their children with war motif?
We do not think the existense of these kimono are known to many Japanese. This year is 70 th anniversay from the end of WWII. A TV commentator of news show found these kimono online from our website and his team is coming this week for location. We will be talking in the program but we really wish these kimono could talk about the background story from that time. The memorial day for the end of war is August 15th. We hope to write about the program in our future newsletter.