Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hiraki Nagoya and Share Fukuro - How to tell the difference!

Most seasoned kimono wearers will know that there are 5 main categories of obi for women: heko, hanhaba, nagoya, fukuro, and maru. These are pretty easily distinguished from one another (see my obi types page if you are unfamiliar with these). Of course, there are more main types, but where things start getting confusing is with the "sub-types", and most commonly, I see share fukuro and hiraki nagoya getting mixed up (I've even done it myself recently). In case you're unfamiliar with these two terms, a share fukuro obi is a fukuro length obi but it has no metallic thread, therefore making it a casual obi. A hiraki nagoya obi is one where the pre-folded part has either been undone or does not exist. Hiraki nagoya do still have the potential to have metallic thread (making it resemble a regular fukuro obi), but they often are more casual. Because these two often look very similar, it's an easy mistake to make.

So how do we tell the difference? (I'm going to talk about modern pieces for the most part, because vintage lengths tend to get more complicated.) The easiest way to tell modern pieces apart is the length. That being said, there is no hard and fast rule about length, but we will use the most common measurements. A hiraki nagoya obi is usually between 3.5m and 3.8m, whereas a share fukuro is usually 4m to 4.2m. When we start looking at vintage pieces, the lengths are typically shorter, but it is still usually proportionate to the modern pieces. For example, a vintage hiraki nagoya may be 3m long and a vintage share fukuro may be 3.5m. We also need to examine the threads used. If  you see metallic thread and the length falls into nagoya style, you likely have a hiraki nagoya. Share fukuro will never have metallic threads. If you are still unsure of what you have, my best advice to ask someone more knowledgeable what they think.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this has helped you a little in your adventure with kimono!

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