Propaganda Kimono
Woman’s Kimono  |  Rayon  |  46”x 47”

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Propaganda Kimono

Few women's kimono have been found with propagandistic imagery. This design linking modern war with Japanese aesthetic tradition is a rare survivor of a tumultuous time.

Japanese suicide pilots (called tokkotai, and later, kamikaze) would paint cherry blossoms on their planes before a mission or take an actual twig of the tree with them, an association evident in the pattern of this woman's garment. The state, under de facto military control, utilized the ephemeral petals of cherry trees to represent casualties of war, and blooming cherry blossoms to symbolize fallen soldiers reborn at Yasukuni Shrine, the national memorial dedicated to honor the spirits of Japan's war dead.