Thursday, February 18, 2010

Newer Kimono Barbies

2003 Princess of Japan Barbie. This is the palest and skinniest Asian Barbie I've seen. The kimono and obi are made of what seems to be shower curtain fabric, and is accented by shiny white satin in the under-collar, obi-age and obi-jime. She also wears no tabi.
The obi is a deeply pleated tateya that normally is a solid rectangle, but I spread the bow out using pins to hold it open. I like what they did with the hairline on this doll. It's painted in the back to give a natural look.

This is the 2008 Happy New Year Oshogatsu Barbie. Gold Label, Japan Exclusive, very expensive ($160-300). Bobby got me this one for Christmas when it came out. I was reluctant at first to remove it from the package because of the price, but I'm not all about resale value and collectablity, I want to be able to enjoy thoroughly. She's got the most lovely face and many flowers in her hair, and even a bira-bira kanzashi. The kimono is lined a pink satin. There is a white under-collar and a date-eri that is red with tiny white pattern.
The kimono is not removable. The obi is sewn on and can not be removed. The obi is the unfortunate feature. It looks as though they attempted to do a fukura-suzume bow and failed miserably. Also, there is no obi-age. After the release of this doll, the did a remake to sell exclusively at Walmart. Looks the same but with a white kimono instead of pink, and she has a purse instead of a hagoita (battledore). Originally sold for $70, but so few were made that now I can't find it for under $1500. I'm not a die-hard collector, and the quality isn't worth looking into it.
So, that's the collection so far. I hope to start adding kimono Jennys (Japan's version of Barbie) to my collection, and maybe some Licca-chans.

Older Kimono Barbies

My least favorite Japanese Barbie ever made is the 1984 Dolls of the World Japanese Barbie. Thankfully I don't own it (lol), but to give you an idea: link. The Barbie collector photo works to make it look better than it is (That fan she's holding is a cardboard cut-out) Link The whole thing is one nasty, shiny satin mess. Anyways, second least favorite is the 1996 Dolls of the World Japanese Barbie:
Its a very florescent, Hawaiian-looking kimono. The collar is very narrow and the sleeves are sewn closed all the way around. The kimono actually does have a ohashori fold, but its so small that it always hides under the obi and is thus a usless feature when they were making it. Not to mention the perma-bent, robot arms. Obi is white with gold cross-hatch pattern, obi-jime is orange and gold. I actually like the obi-age, it's a sparkly pink netting, and looks like what girls where on modern kimono. The obi is tied in a sad, droopy tateya bow.

I was lucky enough to find a 1964 Barbie in Japan kimono. Originally it came as an outfit only, including kimono, obi, 3 kanzashi, a fan, zouri/tabi, and shamisen. Most sets are incomplete or broken now, especially the strings missing from the shamisen and the zouri ripped into two pieces.
I bought the kimono/obi only for $7 at a doll show and I added my own shamisen and hair accessory and dressed it on a vintage Barbie remake. The kimono has gold wisteria pattern and the obi is white with gold cherry blossoms.
The kimono is lined in white in the sleeves and skirt portion. The obi is tied in a tateya bow and is attached using a snap closure, rather than velcro like most others.

Oshogatsu Barbies

The first two kimono Barbies I got were the Happy New Year, Oshogatsu Barbies. They were made in 1995 and 1996, and they feature the most authentic looking kimono for an American market Barbie.

The first edition Oshogatsu Barbie has a red kimono with gold blossoms. The fabric is textured with a traditional seigaiha pattern. The kimono's seams are almost all correct, except that it does have a seam at the shoulders (the sleeves are composed of two pieces of fabric rather than one folded over). The kimono also has an ohashori (folds at the waist, seen under the obi) that most other kimono Barbies do not have. The obi is white and gold brocade with a gold obi-jime and dark blue obi-age. The zouri are pearl colored with red straps.

The 2nd edition doll wears a pink kimono with a retro-bamboo-type textured fabric and gold cherry blossoms. The obi is also white and gold brocade, but a different pattern with more gold. The obi-jime is yellow and gold and the obi-age is light pink. Her zouri are pearl color with pink straps.

I think the most amazing feature on the Oshogatsu Barbie's kimono is the fact that it is lined!! 1st edition is lined in light green, 2nd edition in yellow. You can see the lining also in the openings of the sleeves and the date-eri.
If you remove the kimono you will see that there is a white full-length, sleeveless juuban. (Please don't remove the kimono unless you know how to put a kimono on yourself, neatly. Otherwise the Barbie will look sloppy if amateurishly redressed.. Also, there is a slight amount of clothing adhesive used to keep the kimono dressed neatly, undressing her will loose the benefit of that adhesive.) The juuban also doesn't have a true collar, but isn't well noticed when dressed completely. She also has 2 belts underneath. One is for padding, to soften Barbie's curvy figure, and the other is an elastic date-jime under the obi to keep the kimono neat and slip-free.

The obi are tied differently on both dolls.

Maiko Barbies

I have a glass case in my living room that houses my kimono Barbie collection. Now, I'm not a "Barbie Collector", embarrassing my husband in front of his friends with frilly dolls displayed around the house, but rather I'm a "Kimono Collector" (with over 200 real kimono!) so I only have kimono-clad dolls.

That being said, I'm sure the next posts will mostly appeal to fellow kimono-junkies, so I'll focus on the kimono authenticity aspects mostly. Before I get to the bought Barbies, I'd like to share the two that I made myself. Both are maiko (apprentice geisha). I made them using dolls and fabric purchased from the thrift store.

The first one was made from a Mulan Barbie doll. The kimono was made from a polyester shirt with a plum blossom pattern, and the obi is from a scrap of Japanese craft brocade. The flower kanzashi are actually paper, but the yellow flowers and yellow obi-jime contrast well with all the pink and purple. The obi-dome is a cloisonne bead cut in half and matches the green leaves in the pink kimono.

Back view, you can see the pretty fabric of the darari obi. I didn't have the patience to create a okiya crest on the tail. I attempted it for the sake of looking authentic, but I didn't like the result. The hairstyle is ofuku.

Second maiko I made, I'm not as proud of. Only after I fixed the hair and painted the face did I realize this doll's arms do not move upward! Makes posing impossible, but kept going because of the effort already put into it. I love the fabric of the kimono. The lighting is bad in the picture, but its a nice purple with yuuzen-style print. The flower kanzashi are silver flowers, and the obi-dome is actually an oriental shaped button bought at Joann Fabrics.

The obi is made of Chinese brocade also from Joann Fabrics, in a pastel yellow with purple and orange butterflies that go well with the kimono. Her hairstyle is wareshinobu. Because her arms don't move, she appears to be very long and skinny. Oh well, she looks nice on display.


Recently I had the routine test for gestational diabetes (pregnancy related diabetes, goes away after pregnancy) and it came back high, 185/140, so my doctor sent me to get a thorough test done. The second test wrecked me! It was a 3 hour long test that included fasting, drawing sample blood, drinking a glucose solution as fast as possible, and then drawing blood 3 more times, each an hour apart.

20 minutes after drinking the glucose on an empty stomach I became rather nauseous, compounded by the smell of an old ladies strong perfume sitting next to me in the waiting room. I went outside for a breathe of fresh air but it smelled like urine, probably homeless people use the area at night. The lab guy was nice and let me use an examination room to lay down in. I stayed laying down the rest of the 3 hours.

Thankfully my results came back negative! I was worried I'd have to take insulin until baby was born. So, I think the only complication I've had in pregnancy so far is mild anemia.

Recently, I haven't posting any crafts. I've been thinking of what I haven't shared, and I'd like to post about some temari I've made, my kimono Barbie collection, and bonsai.