This week has been the hottest so far in Sacramento this summer. (I’d like to claim that’s why I haven’t blogged as I should, but the truth is I’ve just been busy lazy).
In medieval Japan, people wore lightweight clothing during the spring and summer, and heavier winter kimono through the colder months. The change from summer to winter clothing (and vice versa) was controlled by the calendar, not the weather. The Japanese have a term for this: koromogae, which means changing clothing at the turn of the seasons.
During the Edo Period (1600-1868), koromogae took place on April 1 and October 1. Although the winter change-date remains October 1, modern Japanese perform the spring koromogae on June 1 instead of in April.
The concept of koromogae appears in my upcoming debut novel, Claws of the Cat. The novel takes place in May 1565 – after koromogae. In the novel’s opening scene, Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo finds himself wearing a summer kimono in weather that’s anything but warm – and wondering why!
The term koromogae doesn’t appear in the novel, but the wearing of summer kimono after the proper calendar date reflects Father Mateo’s adherence to this Japanese custom.
2 thoughts on “Shinoy Dinglehoppers: Koromogae”
Origins, customs, and rituals give the reader a sense of authenticity, a way to relate to the period of your novel. A reference if you will, to jump off from into a pool of anticipation, “and then what happened?” Claws of the Cat is much anticipated.
Thanks Sandy! And I completely agree…I love authenticity. It’s the little historical details that make the atmosphere come alive. And I hope you like Claws of the Cat!
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