If it wasn’t for the pandemic, Japan would have been flocked by tourists from all over the world supporting their athletes and countries at the games. However, although it’s a subdued Olympics, Japan being Japan, still kept the spirit and gesture of unity amongst countries through their “KIMONO Project”.
Created in August 2014 by Japanese corporation Imagine One World, this project took six years to complete in order to meet the deadline of the games and aims to pay appreciation to the many countries that would be participating in the Tokyo Olympics through luscious kimono designs inspired by each country’s scenery, history and culture.
Led by Yoshimasa Takakura, designer and founder of Imagine One World, the initiative’s production cost of roughly one million yen (RM38,700) was covered by donations.
Today, the organisation made a statement that the last Kimono of the project has been completed and released a special website where people could view them.
That aside, we are in awe of their design for Malaysia’s kimono as it features our national flower and flag along with our most prized skyscraper, The Petronas Twin Towers. It also pays homage to batik and other elements of what our country is known for such as the Wau Bulang, Rajah Brooke Butterfly, Rafflesia flower and even a badminton shuttlecock because that’s the sports that our country is best known for.
The kimono was made by 40 students from Fukuoka Prefectural Kurume High School who used the technique of Takehana dyeing.
As for the obi, which is the stash of the kimono, its design was heavily influenced by Peranakan culture and the pattern of chintz is luxuriously hand-woven using genuine gold leaf.
Many Malaysian netizens were impressed by how our Malaysian Kimono turned out and expressed their opinions on social media, especially on Twitter when user sharifahyasmiin brought it up.
Check it out:
Just found out that Japan prepared a kimono for each country participating in the Olympics. I’m in love with Malaysia’s design – of beautiful batik and the Twin Towers! #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/M4CzuLQQye
— Sharifah Hani Yasmin (@sharifahyasmiin) August 2, 2021
The batik degins on that kimono sooo pwettyyy really represents https://t.co/TDd0T7LtgK
— Lady Shilzz ☕ (@shilzzOnly) August 3, 2021
very nice https://t.co/mtLu6qylXr
— Lin_Lin (@LinLinPartyBebe) August 3, 2021
— ✧*:.｡. .｡.:*✧ (@misslonely_85) August 3, 2021
Besides making kimonos for countries, the project had also thoughtfully included a special kimono designed for refugees as a statement that Japan stands in solidarity with them and they are always welcomed to the country.
The design was inspired by ‘The Tree of Life’ as it has a white outer surface accompanied by a torus pattern and bold colours. The obi was inspired by ‘The Tree of Ying and Yang’ where colourful stripes were woven on the other side to represent diversity.
This project is said to be on display in Osaka and Kansai Expo in 2025 so hopefully by then, we would be able to see them up-and-close when we visit Japan.