The Atomic Era Kimono

The Atomic Era Kimono is a curious artifact of the Space Age. Even after WWII and the bombing of Hiroshima, the atom was perceived to be a symbol of hope, because many people saw atomic power as the solution to an impending energy crisis. This wonderful silk haori features an atomic design in blue silk and metallic threads:

Traditional kimono motifs during the Atomic Era morph into suggestions of atoms, solar systems and stars. If you have ever seen a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram for the classification of stars or a Periodic Table of Elements illustrating the relative sizes of atoms, you may understand why I think this is a spectacular example of an atomic kimono featured in the WordPress blog Daily Japanese Textile:


Circles in traditional Japanese textiles can represent family crests, chrysanthemums or snowflakes. Japanese Daily Textile has suggested that circular designs in traditional Japanese textiles represent an “Enso,” or circle, a common Zen Buddhist symbol.

Sara Sakakibara, of TokyoModern on Etsy, has a wonderful collection of Atomic Era kimono textiles for sale. Here is a spectacular example of overlapping stars in silk meisen:

This is another atomic kimono textile I purchased from TokyoModern. Again, a circular element is used. I see atoms or stars in this design.

Perhaps distant galaxies or cytoplasmic streaming come to mind ?


This beautiful example featured in Japanese Daily Textile shows atomic symbols woven in red silk meisen:


You can finish off your look with an electromagnetic spectrum obi:



One thought on “The Atomic Era Kimono

  1. Gorgeous fabrics and an interesting bit of information on the atomic era of Japanese fabrics. These are so much more beautiful than the barkcloth atomic designs of American designers of my youth.


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