Stocking up on juban

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I’ve just bought juban from a favourite vendor.

Flashy red wool juban

This week saw a bit of a change for me – the first time I’ve bought kimono other than on Ebay.

It was from a seller I know well, though – Ryuji, who used to go under the Ebay name Ryujapan and now sells via his own store, Shinei (, if you want it in English).

Shinei stocks an enormous number of kimono, but it was juban I was really interested in. Until yesterday, I owned five: a pale pink ro summer juban with long sleeves, a cream wool muslin one with orange asanohana, a pink silk awase with red shibori that I ruined in the wash, a fantastic mustard silk one with multicolour shibori and – the most recent – a fabulous multicolour floral viscose one with a red lining.

Orange juban with clouds

I am spitting nails about giving away my awase synthetic juban, which was a gift from a vendor. It happened at a time that I had pretty much stopped wearing kimono and I never liked the feel of the fabric, but I now really regret it.

You can, at a push, also use yukata as juban – I have a couple of very thin yukata, including a cotton ro, that can be used in this way – but I also thought it was about time to invest in some hitoe juban that are easy to wash, as I am a bit reluctant to use my good awase jubans, having no proper kimono underwear. This has led me, very often, not to wear kimono as much as I might, because I don’t have a clean juban.

Mint green juban

Wool muslin (what we might call wool chalis in the West) is a great fabric – cool in summer, warm in winter – and I was very surprised to find some really pretty muslin juban on Shinei, with the kind of Taisho Roman gigantic patterns that I find so attractive. Although I have a great fondness for loud Taisho Roman kimono too, I also dearly love my quiet brown tsumugis and stripes, and to have some really loud juban under them would be pleasingly iki – the Japanese aesthetic of hidden beauty.

Pale blue and pink jubanPink juban with red clouds

There were dozens of beautiful juban on Shinei and I could have bought far more than this, but I confined myself to what I felt were the best five, meaning that I should now be able to find a clean juban on any given day. Here they are: a wonderful flashy red one with plum blossoms that makes your eyes strobe; an orange one with cloud patterns; a mint-green one whose design is more muted but whose cool colour I think is really beautiful, a pale blue and pink one with patterns of maple leaves and water, and one described as ‘combined weaving’, which I assume means synthetic, in palest pink with red clouds.

I plan to put a good white han eri on each one, then add a coloured collar if I feel like it and have time, probably fixed with press-studs.

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