Kichiya musubi (吉弥結び)

Kichiya musubi was a way of tying an obi for kimono that was in style during the Genroku era in Edo Period. It was devised by Kichiya UEMURA I, an actor of female roles who had won immense popularity on stage during the Enpo era.

It was a way of tying an obi in the length of ichi-jo ni-shaku (about 3.64m) into an one-sided knot; and the style of hanging the obi longer with this knot still in place was called by a different name, 'mizuki musubi', in association with Tatsunosuke MIZUKI who was an actor of female roles during the Genroku era.

Obi during the Genroku era

Before the introduction of Kichiya musubi, women's obi were standardized article with a length of rokushaku gosun (about 1.98m), and there was only one way to tying.

Kichiya UEMURA devised a new style of obi tying by stitching weights on to a broad obi of 3.64m, and dangling both ends of the knot like the ears of a large hound (Large hunting dogs produced in Europe); he created the beginning to the fashion of broad obi. It can be understood that Kichiya musubi was well received at the time, as it continued to be in style until the Tenmei era.

Women who wanted to imitate Kichiya's obi tying sought for broad obi which at the time was not in distribution, so Obi shops in Kyoto that were quick to meet their demands made great profits.

Since then, as the obi grew longer and bigger, the practice of tying it in the back spread from young ladies to decent women in general, and a more luxurious obi were sought as obi tying became more complex, resulting in a great turning point in the history of Japanese fashion.

[Original Japanese]