Meanings of Symbols in Kimono Patterns
Various symbols are used in kimono patterns, each with a hidden meaning.
Crane 鶴 : Longevity, Marital bliss
It has been used for a long time as a symbol of longevity as it is said that “cranes live for a thousand years”.
In addition, it is also a symbol of a married couple's harmoniousness because the pair of cranes live together for the rest of their lives due to the characteristics of the crane.
For this reason, the crane pattern is often used in wedding costumes.
Phoenix 鳳凰 : Peace, Harmonious couple
The phoenix is an imaginary bird.
There is an ancient saying that "when a peaceful and happy world comes, a phoenix will appear," and like the crane, it has been loved as a water bird that symbolizes celebration.
Shochikubai (bamboo, pine and plum) 松竹梅 : Vitality, Power of Life
Shochikubai is a combination of pine, bamboo, and plum that is indispensable for ceremonies.
"Pine" grows in a harsh environment full of sand and rocks, and has solid dark green leaves even in the middle of winter.
"Bamboo" grows straight toward the sky, and has fresh green leaves throughout the year.
"Plum" opens its buds at the end of the cold winter, earlier than any other flower, and gives off a mellow scent.
Fan 扇 : Bright future
This is one of the most celebrated patterns because of the fan's spreading shape.
As the name "Suehirogari(spreading toward the end)“ suggests, it means a bright outlook for the future.
In Japan, it has been customary since the Muromachi period (1336-1573) to give a fan as a gift for celebration, and even today, people often carry a fan when they wear kimono as formal wear.
Noshi 熨斗: Blessing from many people
"Noshi" is a ribbon-like decoration that is attached to gifts during celebrations. It was attached to an offering to God.
The noshime is a pattern of many noshis bundled together, which means to be blessed by many people and to share that happiness with everyone.
It is also a very congratulatory pattern that represents bonds and connections between people, and is also considered a symbol of longevity because of its length.
Kanzesui 観世水 : Beautiful Future
Kanze water is a blue swirl-like figure.
It represents a beautiful future, like the stream of water that is constantly changing but remains, as in "flowing water never rots“.
Flower car 花車 : Gorgeous and Graceful
It is a design with beautiful flowers of the four seasons on an ox carriage that was ridden by aristocrats in the Heian period (794-1185). It expresses gorgeous flowers and the elegance of the aristocracy.