Kitsune – Yokai Halloween 2018

The Kitsune is quite possibly the most well-known Yokai. Not only are foxes representative of tricksters in so many cultures and traditions around the world, the kitsune figure appears in so much Japanese media that nearly everyone has, at the very least, a passing familiarity with them.

Kitsune are neither inherently good nor evil – there are so many stories and so many variations. There are helpful ones, vengeful ones, playful ones, and ones who punish the wicked, to name a few. I didn’t have one particular variant in mind when I decided to feature this particular yokai, because it’s impossible to choose. I’d like to think she’s more friendly and playful than outright malicious though.

Since kitsune are so varied, I knew I had a lot of creative liberty for this particular outfit. I decided to go with the first kimono and obi I ever purchased, because this particular kimono feels so quintessentially Japanese to me. The bright red colour and iconic white chrysanthemums pop, and the kitsune mask I painted plays off them so well. The finishing touches were a lovely furry tail and ears. Initially I wanted to put the tail at the hem of the kimono but it’s not very large and got a little bit lost, so I put it below the obi instead, and think it looks very cute there.

And just because I’m really proud of how it turned out, especially considering I freehand painted the whole thing, here’s a close-up of the mask.

Items used in this coordination

 

Yuki-Onna – Yokai Halloween 2018

Halloween season is upon us! If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll know that I like to pick a theme and run with it every October. While I stress heavily that a kimono and in of itself is not a costume, I do think that there are plenty of ways to build a costume or even a series of costumes using kimono as a base.

This year, I thought I would pay tribute to some of the spookiest or most famous female yokai in Japanese folklore. There are so many to choose from, it was difficult to narrow it down to a reasonable number. To start, I decided to go with Yuki Onna, one of the most iconic and well-known women of the spirit world.

Yuki-Onna (雪女, snow woman) is a beautiful maiden with snow-white skin and black hair, typically depicted in white kimono. She is freezing to the touch, thrives in blizzards, and may melt if exposed to fire or hot bath water. I knew I wanted to start with my shiromuku, giving me a clean white base and the drama of long sleeves and a trailing skirt. My beloved Kanbara obi was the perfect focal point. I could absolutely see Yuki-Onna in this landscape! I anchored the outfit with a black skirt underneath and echoed it with a black obiage and obijime. Initially I was going to use this white haneri with snowflakes on it, but it contrasted oddly with the ivory of the kimono and felt a bit too cute and cartoon-like. Instead, I used the solid black reverse side of the other one and accented it with a few glittery snowflake stickers. I love the way they catch the light and sparkle like the sun on snow and ice. A rhinestone and pearl brooch reminiscent of a snowflake completes the ensemble.

Items used in this coordination