Kimonos for Foreigners: Orientalism in Kimonos Made for the Western Market, 1900–1920

by Allie Yamaguchi


In the late nineteenth century, whilst Japanese goods were becoming more prevalent throughout Europe and America, kimonos, too, were widely available to consumers in the West. “Kimonos for Foreigners” were designed specifically for the Western customer. This paper outlines how these exported garments started to appear in catalogues in Britain and Japan from 1900 onwards. It explores how they were represented in Britain between 1900 and 1920 in order to gain a deeper understanding of the process of cross-cultural appropriation in Japan and Britain, as well as Japanese cultural self-exoticism for the purposes of commercial export.

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