Japanese American National Museum
Collections & Research

[Dark brown chirimen montsuki kimono with shochikubai design]

[Dark brown chirimen montsuki kimono with shochikubai design]
Enlarge Image (87.8KB)

L: 57 in, center back: 23 in

, 1914


Gift of Barbara Kawakami


1 dark brown chirimen (silk crepe) montsuki kimono with hand-painted design (suso moyo) of shochikubai: the pine, bamboo, and plum motif : silk ; 57 x 23 (center back) in., sleeves 21 x 12 in., collar 4.5 in. wide.

Kimono originally black in color.

Kimono is lined with natural muslin three-quarters on back panel and half of front panels, and same dark brown silk as outer fabric along bottom panels. There is a Kamon (family crest) design of maruni-mitsu-gashiwa (three oak leaves in a circle) on center back below collar, back of both sleeves and front chest. White thread basting stitches along sleeve openings and green thread at top of collar.

Shochikubai is an auspicious design especially felicitous for wedding decorations and gifts. It symbolizes the virtues of physical and spiritual disciplines, endurance, and used as design motifs on costumes, furniture and items for happy occasions. An idea which originated in China, these three plants were called "the three friends of winter." The pine is known to be strong and rugged and stays forever green throughout its long life. The bamboo, straight and enduring, bends under heavy snow but never breaks. The plum, sweet and pure, blooms bravely in its season even through snow. These three trees are mentioned in the Confucian ethics as examples of the virtues that a man must follow when faced with the adversities of life. For the issei woman, these symbols had a profound meaning.

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections Management & Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (



Jump to Top of Page Japanese American National Museum home   •   Privacy Policy   •   Copyright Policy
Copyright © 1998-2020 Japanese American National Museum
100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles California 90012   ▪   phone: 213.625.0414