It’s the middle of summer here in Gifu. Thankfully, summers are shorter than they are in my hometown, Houston, but hot nonetheless. I was driving to work in my car-turned-oven when I realized something: I’m participating in an iaido embu at a very nice Noh theater in August. I need proper formal wear, but my only black haori (a kimono jacket) with a kamon is a thick, used silk piece for winter. Due to the flimsiness of the fabric for summer kimono, it can be hard to find good quality summer wafuku. The black montsuki (kimono part) isn’t a problem, thankfully. I have one.
There will surely be participants that attend just wearing montsuki without a haori, but as someone who loves kitsuke (dressing in kimono) as well as iaido, I really want to attend dressed as properly as possible. So I had to think fast, because it was about to be August and I was running out of time.
There are fairly inexpensive washable summer kimono options online, so I got this one in black for only about 8,000 yen from Rakuten.
However, without kamon, it’s can’t be considered a montsuki. I still don’t know a good embroidery shop in the area, and even if I did, I don’t know if they’d be able to get it ready on such short notice, so I went the easy route.
I got stick-on fabric kamon.
Most people don’t know about them, but they’re removable, reusable fabric stickers you can use on kimono. This package comes with 6. You only need 5, but it’s nice to have an extra in case one gets messed up.
By the way, my husband used them on his rental montsuki haori hakama set when we had our wedding photos done because he wanted his family’s kamon on them for the photos.
Bear in mind that these will only work on black kimono. The dead space inside the circle is black, so it’ll look unnatural if you stick them to colored kimono.
It looks pretty good. I personally prefer my kamon to be embroidered, but this’ll work.
Because it’s a sticker, the kamon is a bit stiff, but I’d say it’s about the same level of thickness as an embroidered kamon.
I’m not don’t think you should wash them along with the kimono or haori you stick them to. I recommend keeping the backing paper and packaging so that you can remove the kamon and store them when you wash the kimono or haori.
The federation I’m a member of, Zen Nihon Iaido Renmei, doesn’t allow members to wear haori with kamon on them at renmei events until 8-dan. I’ll have a nicer haori made when I eventually get to that point, but this is enough for now. I’d like to have the kamon embroidered on in the future, though. For now, I only need a black haori with kamon when I do embu or attend events at nice shrines and venues.
Note for Kendo Renmei member: Zen Nihon Iaido Renmei goes up to 10-dan, not 8-dan. Once you get to 8-dan, there are actually 4 more ranks to go to reach the top.
Bonus photo of my husband and me. He used stick-on kamon on the rental haori he’s wearing.