Mastering The Art Of The Kimono

Episodes

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20111123

The kimono may be one of Japan's most enduring cultural symbols, but the kimono industry is now in steep decline, and soon there could be no craftsmen left with the skills to make them.

Younger Japanese prefer Western clothes to eye-wateringly expensive and impractical traditional kimonos.

As kimonos have gone out of fashion, the number of companies making them has also plummeted.

There can be a thousand processes or more involved in making one kimono, each carried out specialist craftsmen.

It takes years to master a single technique, but most craftsmen today are over 80 and within the next 10 years, many will pass away.

Can the kimono survive?

The BBC's Japan Correspondent Roland Buerk reports on the crisis in the industry, and the efforts being made to ensure ancient skills are not lost.

Producer: Ruth Evans

A Ruth Evans production for BBC Radio 4.

Younger Japanese prefer Western clothes to eye-wateringly expensive and impractical traditional kimonos. As kimonos have gone out of fashion, the number of companies making them has also plummeted.

There can be a thousand processes or more involved in making one kimono, each carried out specialist craftsmen. It takes years to master a single technique, but most craftsmen today are over 80 and within the next 10 years, many will pass away. Can the kimono survive?

Roland Buerk reports on the crisis in Japan's declining traditional kimono industry.

2011112320111123 (BBC7)
20121231 (BBC7)

The kimono may be one of Japan's most enduring cultural symbols, but the kimono industry is now in steep decline, and soon there could be no craftsmen left with the skills to make them.

Younger Japanese prefer Western clothes to eye-wateringly expensive and impractical traditional kimonos.

As kimonos have gone out of fashion, the number of companies making them has also plummeted.

There can be a thousand processes or more involved in making one kimono, each carried out specialist craftsmen.

It takes years to master a single technique, but most craftsmen today are over 80 and within the next 10 years, many will pass away.

Can the kimono survive?

The BBC's Japan Correspondent Roland Buerk reports on the crisis in the industry, and the efforts being made to ensure ancient skills are not lost.

Producer: Ruth Evans