Meisen is a kasuri (ikat) kimono that was widely popular from early to mid 1900s. With fresh designs, vivid colors and inexpensive price tags, women at the time adored Meisen. For those who dreamt of being an independent woman, Meisen gave them the means to look the way they longed for—working women who could exercise their sense of fashion out of the office. The Meisen kimono is an important historical item that genuinely reflects the modernization of Japan.
Meisen’s popularity is surging again in recent years. Overturning the stereotypical image of the kimono as an expensive traditional wear, the countless charms of this commoner’s attire made with modern textile and bold designs are now widely recog- nized. The towns known for its production—Ashikaga, Isesaki and Chichibu—are ac- tively incorporating Meisen kimono as a part of their regional promotion.
This book introduces approximately seventy pieces of outstanding Meisen kimo- nos from various regions, along with design illustrations and posters of the time peri- od. During preparation, we came to call the Meisen kimono “VIVID Meisen” with re- spect to its bright designs and its distinct portrayal of the time period, and subsequently made it the title of the exhibition itself. We are proud to host the current VIVID Meis- en Exhibition following the same exhibition held at Istituto Giapponese di Cultura in Roma (the Japanese Cultural Center of Rome) from April to June 2016 that commem- orated the 150th anniversary of the diplomatic relationships between Japan and Italy.
We would like to send our greatest gratitude to all the collectors who generously contributed their valuable collections and documents, and the organizations that co-operated and sponsored to make this exhibition come true.