Kimono is one of the most recognizable and elegant elements of the Japanese culture. Every year at The Cherry Blossom Festival a kimono is given to the queen on the coronation night. This tradition was started in 1973 and more than four decades later the queens continue to receive this generous gift courtesy of Fujiyasu Kimono Company.
Fujiyasu Corporation, previously Fujiyasu Shoten Co., has a long history of making and selling traditional Japanese clothing. Established as a small business with just one small shop in Shiga, Japan, the company expanded to many other parts of the country over the years. It survived The Great Kanto earthquake of 1923 and bombing raids during the Pacific War in 1945. Every time the firm was rebuilt and renewed thanks to the hard work and dedication of its owners. Despite the natural disasters and uncertain economic times, Fujiyasu Kimono Company prospers till these days.
Mr. Seishichi Ato, the fourth president of Fujiyasu, started donating kimonos to the Queen Programs of various festivals that celebrated Japanese communities in the U.S. He became one of the major benefactors of the queens for the NCCBF for presenting the kimonos. Unfortunately, Mr. Ato passed away in February of this year but he will always be remembered as someone who commenced the tradition of helping to connect Japan and its descendents in the United States.
Benh Nakajo, NCCBF Queen Program Director, perfectly described Fujiyasu Company’s contributions to the event: “Over the decades, the Cherry Blossom Festival queens have received 42 kimonos from Fujiyasu. In addition to the Queen’s kimono, the festival has also received 12 sets of full kimonos donated by Fujiyasu. Without the generosity and support of Fujiyasu, the festival and the queen program would not have been successful and sustainable for so many decades and passing on the tradition and legacy to future generations.”
The iconic garment of Japanese fashion is quite a generous donation considering the fact that it costs thousands of dollars. Every kimono is a unique expression of bold colors and motifs as well as symbolic meanings and conventions. It is an absolute masterpiece with an auspicious significance. It is no wonder that a single kimono takes up to a year to complete. Almost immediately after the queen gets her kimono, Fujiyasu Company starts designing and manufacturing a new one.
When Mr. Shotaro Kawazoe became the fifth President of Fujiyasu, the company has been presenting a set of Furisode kimono to the Cherry Blossom Queen in San Francisco as well as the queens in Honolulu and Washington DC annually. His successor and the current president of Fujiyasu Kimono Company, Mr. Kazunari Mochizuki kept this wonderful tradition that ties Japan with the Japanese American community. The Cherry Blossom Festival will proudly display a wide range of kimonos on April 11th, 2015 during the Queen Program.
For more information about the NCCBF Queen Program, please check HERE.
See all the collection of Fujiyasu kimonos over the decades HERE.
by Halyna Yakubovich
NCCBF Social Media Guest Blogger