Photo/Illutration “Meisen” kimono made from waste cocoons and leftover threads in the Taisho Era (1912-1926) and the early years of the Showa Era (1912-1989) are lined up in the front row of a section of the exhibition venue at the Tokyo National Museum. In the back is a modern design collection influenced by Western art. (Rei Kishitsu)

A special exhibition tracing the evolution of the kimono, from its inception in the Kamakura Period (1185-1333) to outfits designed by modern-day rock stars, has kicked off at the Tokyo National Museum.

Hosted by The Asahi Shimbun and other sponsors, “KIMONO: Fashioning Identities” displays about 300 items, including accessories and paintings, in the capital’s Ueno district.

Featuring natural and seasonal motifs, as well as customs and folkways, the rich colors of the kimono have reflected the beauty of Japan and shown the aesthetics of people through different times.

The traditional garment has also incorporated different cultures in a free and bold manner, and has had an impact on art and fashion scenes outside Japan.

The kimono continues to attract worldwide attention.

The exhibition brings together a wide range of kimono, including rare and historical pieces worn by feudal warlords Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) and Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), and Atsuhime, the wife of the 13th shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, to ones painted by Ogata Korin and other notable artists.

Other exhibits include modern kimono designed by artist Taro Okamoto and Yoshiki of the rock band X Japan.

The exhibition runs until Aug. 23.

Admission is 1,700 yen ($15.80) for adults, 1,200 yen for college students and 900 yen for senior high school students. Reservations for assigned times are necessary and can be made on the official website at (