At KIM+ONO, our founders’ family heritage has been integral at every step of our journey. As little girls, our co-founders, sisters Renee and Tiffany Tam, had experiences with traditional Japanese kimono and the artisans who created them that impacted them for life. Seeing the heritage and history in each handcrafted piece inspired them to bring their own modern aesthetic to the rich history of this timeless tradition. In addition to their personal experiences with traditional Japanese kimono, Renee and Tiffany were also inspired by vintage Asian art and the way botanicals play such a huge role in these art pieces. They knew that between their love of traditional kimono and their love of vintage Asian art, the botanical was the centerpiece to inspire their modern silk floral robes.
And one of the most important botanicals in both Japanese and Chinese heritage is the cherry blossom. You may be familiar with the Cherry Blossom Festival that occurs in the states every spring in Washington, D.C. But there is a long history of honoring the cherry blossom, and the season it ushers in, in Japanese culture. So today in the journal, we’re exploring the meanings and traditions behind the Cherry Blossom Festival. We’re going to look at the history of this beautiful spring celebration, share the symbolism of the cherry blossom, and introduce you to some of our favorite floral cherry blossom kimono robes, showing you how to use them to create traditions in your own landmark life moments. Ready on for a full exploration of the beautiful, transformative, inspiring cherry blossom!
From the end of March to the start of May, cherry blossoms all over Japan are blooming. And this is when hanami begins. Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the fleeting beauty of florals, most traditionally cherry blossom, known as sakura. Today in Japan, hanami often means having an outdoor party or festival beneath cherry blossom trees, during the day or night. But there is a long and rich history of hanami. Dating back centuries ago in the Nara Period, the sakura (cherry blossom) was used to divine that year's harvest and ring in the beginning of the rice-planting season. People believed in kam (holy powers or spirits) inside the trees and made offerings to them. Afterwards, they honored the moment with a toast of sake. In the Heian Period, hanami would be held in the Imperial Court with poems written and recited, praising the delicate flowers, which were seen as a metaphor for life itself, luminous and beautiful yet fleeting and ephemeral.
Today the tradition of hanami continues in Japan. Folks gather in large numbers beneath cherry blossom trees wherever they are found. In parks, thousands will fill the space and hold feasts and parties, lasting late into the night. In Japan, children begin school in April, so their school year begins and their vacation time ends at the same time these cherry blossoms are blooming — marking a change in a season and offering a celebration for this transition of the year. Most often, folks head to the parks at this time and celebrate hanami with friends, family, and colleagues from work. In cities like Tokyo, the celebrations commonly last well into the night.
Traditionally, the cherry blossom has symbolized a time of renewal. As the flower of the spring, it represents the fleeting nature of life and the botanical embodiment of the idea that “every dawn is a new day”. Sakura ask us to look at the nature of impermanence in life. The cherry blossoms only bloom for a short while, and the trees themselves also have a short-lived timespan. But within that fleeting nature of every moment, there is also the symbol of transition — whether birth and death, or beauty and violence, the cherry blossom is a symbol that encourages us to look at the transitions in our lives, knowing that everything has its moment and everything will pass. They are a central motif in the Japanese worship of nature.
The symbol of the cherry blossom is such an important symbol to us, that it is featured in quite a few of our silk floral robes — our Handpainted Cherry Blossom Kimono Robe, and the Cherry Blossom & Crane design which is available in both our Charmeuse and plus size kimono robes are two fan favorites. And we also feature our Cherry Blossom & Crane Kimono Wrap which is a favorite men’s kimono robe in our collection with its deep black background and stunning red cherry blossoms, coupled with velvet trim. Whether you’re looking for a plus size kimono robe, men’s kimono robe, or silk floral robe, each collection features the beloved cherry blossom.
The intention with the cherry blossom is to remind you throughout your day that renewal is always available to you. You can approach each moment with a new intention, a new dream, a new prayer. You can approach each day with fresh eyes, wondering what will happen next. These silk floral robes are perfect gifts for transition moments in life — the beginning or ending of a job, a wedding, a birth, or a gift for a big move. The cherry blossom brings more to your floral kimono robe than meets the eye, with a rich history of tradition and meaning. We hope whether you’re slipping into your silk kimono robe or plus size kimono robe, you feel connected to the spirit of the cherry blossom: the idea that you are always evolving, that this too shall pass, and that you can bring something new to each and every moment you encounter.
Have you discovered the beauty of the cherry blossom in our floral kimono robes yet? During this special cherry blossom season, make sure to tag us during your own cherry blossom celebrations @kimandono_ and #swaythisway. Let’s celebrate this beautiful season of transition and rebirth together.