Japanese Fashion Designs - Part I

June 10, 2010

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How does clothing fashion begin in a specific culture? I've always been curious about it. I am convinced that clothing is not only a necessity but an "art" which expresses the social feelings, likes and dislikes people share into a culture. I am deeply fond of oriental clothing fashion, perhaps because it exposes a plenitude of magical experiences profoundly related to the origins of these people and at the same time of human history.

Searching for data about the ancient use of clothing in Japan I understood how old, fascinating and mysterious the origins of this culture are. How deeply they are hidden among the first vestiges of humanity's appearance on earth.

The Japanese Paleolithic period began around 100,000 to 30,000 BC, when experts found the earliest stone tool implements dating the human presence. Over a period of several cultural phases a transition occurred. The change from the "Palaeolithic" culture to the "Jomon" culture was a gradual transition with no hint of a clear break, or disconformities between the two cultures in either the cultural materials or the dates when these implements have been found. This archaeological evidence was identified after the Second World War, through radiocarbon dating methods. Based on these methods it is accepted that the Jomon people created amongst the first known pottery vessels in the world, along with daggers, jade, combs made of shells, and other household items known as Jomon Pottery, as well as the earliest ground stone tools. These remains belong to the Japanese Paleolithic, which ends around the 14th millennium BCE, although the specific dating is disputed, at the end of the last ice age, corresponding with the beginning of the Mesolithic Jomon period. The denomination Jomon means patterns of rope, and decoration on most earthware resembled designs made by rope. It is believed that mostly they ate or stored their food in the pots they made.

It seems Japan has not always been an island. During the Ice Ages, experts say that all four main Japanese islands were connected. The southern island of Kyushu was connected to the Korean peninsula while the northern island of Hokkaido was connected to Siberia by means of land bridges. Stone Age humans crossed these land bridges before 11,000 BC when it is most generally accepted they were disconnected from the continent after the last ice age.

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