Okinawan Kimono

Okinawa is a chain of subtropical islands in southern Japan between Kyushu and Taiwan. It developed its own language and culture while it was an independent kingdom centuries ago. Okinawan kimono, hairstyles, and dances therefore look quite different from the rest of Japan.

On the left is an Okinawan dancer wearing a kimono with her right arm exposed outside the sleeve. The dance is called "Nuchibana" (flower lei) featuring a string of red and white flowers. The dance expresses the feelings of a young woman in love.

The dancer on the right is wearing an Okinawan kimono called the bingata, perhaps Okinawa's most famous kimono. The design is made by applying dyes through a stencil. It was originally worn by Okinawa's royal family members. It is now the costume of a slow-moving Okinawan dance called "Yotsudake."

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