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Japanese Noble's Full Dress


W.Unland
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Hello,

Although not strictly military, this series of photos illustrates the "court uniform" of a higher grade political official during the Japanese Imperial period. This particular example probably dates fro the Taisho period or earlier, and is of the type worn by prefectural governors and cabinet members when attending the emperor. The bullion work is incredible. Unfortunately over the years it has become very fragile, and this piece must be handled with great care to avoid further deterioration.

Because of the rank, there can't be more than a few of these uniforms in private hands. The only other example I have seen is at the Meiji Shrine Museum in Tokyo.

The size of this ensemble is tiny, probably would fit a modern elementary school boy. Obviously Japanese 100 years ago were considerably smaller.

First an overall view.

[attachmentid=53271]

The next photo is a little closer to show the detail on the chapeau and the tunic. VERY heavy bullion work.

[attachmentid=53272]

Edited by W.Unland
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Lastly, a close-up of the detail on the front of the tunic. Unfortunately I am missing the vest that would be worn with this tunic. It would also have been worn with a stand collar and bow tie.

[attachmentid=53275]

Thanks for looking.

Regards,

William Unland

Edited by W.Unland
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Hello,

The weather over here is really tough on textiles. It is really hot and humid in the summer, and incredibly dry in the winter. That coupled with the moths that seem to get in everywhere and it is EXTREMELY difficult to keep my cloth in good order over here. The cotton thread holding the bullion gets really weak with age. A snag or tug will break it. It is really too bad but it would probably cost 10K to have this thing resewn, if I could find anyone capable of doing it. And even if I could find someone I don't have the money. I know the Takashimaya Department store still makes things like this for the royal family officials, but I doubt they will take "private" orders :(

Regards,

Bill Unland

Edited by W.Unland
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Another stunning uniform, Bill. Absolutely beautiful!

You mentioned the size of the wearer......I remember my dad took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York when I was 14 to see the European medieval armor displays. I was very surprised to see that nearly all of the suits of plate armor were made for men who were about 5 feet tall and very slender. The had two suits made for 6 footers and they were rather bulky things that weren't nearly as graceful looking as the other suits. :blush:

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Dear Mr Haynes,

Thank you for your concern, I should have been a bit clearer here as well as with the general's uniform posted earlier, this piece is representative of uniforms worn throughout the Japanese Imperial period, including the second world war. Although I believe this example to be earlier it is IDENTICAL to those worn during the AXIS period, so I believe its inclusion here to be valid.....................but once again, thanks for inquiring.

Rehards,

W.Unland

Edited by W.Unland
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Bill,

There are two different types of waistcoat for this, a black one and a white one. I am fortunate in that I have both with my uniform. One way of keeping them which will stop further deterioration is to put them in a pawlonia wood box (kiribako). The wood acts like ceder and keeps away insects. Use some of the water absorbing packets for drawers & wardrobes that you can buy in the supermarkets in Japan in order to remove the humidity, but even with the box closed you will need to change it every two or three months.

Regards,

Paul

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