Men in Japanese Kimono -Stylish and Charming in the Edo Period

2021, January 6th-20th

Will be closed on January 12, 18, 25.


Young men with gorgeous attire, gentlemen dressed in refined patterns, and hipsters enjoying extravagant costumes. We encounter many fashionable men in ukiyo-e. In the Edo period, men enjoyed fashion just as much as they do today. Kabuki actors were the most popular fashion icons of the time. In their daily lives, men expressed their taste not only through the kimono they wore, but also through items such as hoods, cigarette cases and hair styles. Their elegant look in kimono, is one of the unique charms of the men of the Edo period. Tracing the history of male figures in ukiyo-e, young men with fringes were preferred as models in the early to mid Edo period, while gallant men were more commonly depicted in the late Edo period. This exhibition on men in kimono, presents the rich costume culture of Edo, the charm of men in kimono, and how the idea of an attractive man has evolved over time.

Suzuki Harunobu “Young Lovers Playing a Single Shamisen”

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “One Hundred Views of the Moon: “The full moon coming with a challenge to flaunt its beautiful brow ” -Poem by Fukami Jikyū”

Passion for fashion

There are many courageous men depicted in ukiyo-e -chivalrous men, reprobates, firemen and artisans. Ukiyo-e of these figures were especially popular after the 19th century. Chivalrous men often dressed in eccentric costumes and gallant men wore accessories such as hand towels and short coats over kimono, showing off their dashing charms.

Utagawa Toyohiro “Cherry Blossom Viewing Party”

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi “One Hundred Views of the Moon: Moon through Conflagration”

Men in kimono in stories

This chapter introduce various heroes that appear in stories, legends and kabuki plays. They put on costumes that express the personality of each character. They were often as eccentric as those of today’s manga and anime. Please enjoy the ingenious kimono styles of the fictional world.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi “Kabuki Actor Sawamura Sōjūrō Ⅴ as Shirae Jūemon and Bandō ShūkaⅠ as Komurasaki”

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni Ⅲ) “Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road: Miya, Taira no Kagekiyo”

Kabuki actors as fashionable style icons

In the Edo period, when there was not much entertainment, kabuki actors collected particular popularity comparable to that of today’s entertainers and YouTubers. When it comes to the star actors, their influence was extraordinary. The way they dressed and the color and patterns such as Edomurasaki purple and Kamawanu pattern they wore on stage came into trend. In this section, we present works depicting fashion trends that originated from kabuki actors.

Okumura Masanobu “Kabuki Actor Sanogawa Ichimatsu Operating a Puppet”

Toyohara Kunichika “Thirty-six Selected Flowers and Plants: Windmill Grass, Ichikawa Kodanji as Gosho no Gorozō ”

Highlight of the Exhibition

Katsukawa Shunchō “Young Women Encountering a Young Man on a Bridge”

“Look! He is so handsome!” Perhaps the women are talking like this. The man who seems to be at joy to feel the attention, is wearing a black striped kimono with a purple striped over-garment, with the red color of the obi belt and thongs as an accent. Wearing a black hood around the neck, as well as wearing plain designs such as stripes was fashionable back then. This man shows his refined sense of fashion by layering elegant patterns.
The ornament on the men’s head is an amulet which is a protection from lightning given by Myōgisha in Kameido Tenjin on a particular day of the new year’s holiday. We can understand from this work that people in the Edo period also went out for special events with their favorite clothes just as we do today.

Adult800 yen
University and High school students600 yen
Junior High School Students and belowFree



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