Some of you may wonder why Kagami or Yumi Ochiai, or even their mother Kisumi Torisawa dress up in kimono sometimes. To tell you the truth, let’s take you all the way back to the mid-20th century. Shigeru Ochiai and Asuka Oguchi (which Drillimation has yet to draw), the paternal grandparents of Kagami and Yumi Ochiai, actually make a living manufacturing and selling kimonos. And that’s what they wear on a regular basis.
Shigeru Ochiai and Asuka Oguchi founded Ochiai Kimono Manufacturing Co., Ltd as a way to manufacture and sell kimono products and accessories. They can range from yukata (summer kimono) to even junihitoe (twelve-layer robe generally worn at royal weddings and enthronements). When the couple married in June of 1957, they did so in royal attire and held a private ceremony at a small Shinto shrine that consisted of only a few people, as they did not have much money.
Shigeru Ochiai had no background in fashion merchandising, but his wife Asuka did. As Shigeru Ochiai was a politician, he enforced cheaper prices for clothing, including goods imported from other countries. This was especially true when he served as Kozan’s Prime Minister from 1970 – 1978. Kozan’s prime ministers are only allowed to serve up to two four-year terms. After he left office in December 1978, he returned to kimono manufacturing.
Some of their company’s services include making kimonos and selling them for cheaper prices, and he has even made them for his descendants (including his three sons and their children). Additional services include making them for coming-of-age and graduation ceremonies (hakama included). Even customers can commission sokutai and junihitoe for weddings and can even purchase them, but they come at a hefty price (usually tens of thousands of ingots).
Some artists have even done ukiyo-e-inspired paintings of what they sell. Would you want to start a kimono manufacturing business in the west and help spread Japanese culture? Try doing it.