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Chuuya obi

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Kanji, Kana & Pronunciation
Romaji Chūya Obi
Kanji 昼夜帯
Kana ちゅうやおび
Audio Coming Soon
(n) day-night or noon-night obi

Chūya obi are always black satin on one side, a color on the other. Kimono scholar Liza Dalby suspects that this style may have originated among geisha (who influenced so many kimono fashions) because, upon rising around noon, they could well have worn such a thing until they changed into elaborate brocades for their evening's work of entertaining. Although she has never read anything that suggests this origin, the designs on so many of these old chūya obis are often quite chic - just the sort of thing one readily imagines a geisha wearing. (Liza Dalby's Kimono, Footnote 4.16, pg 342)


  • always reversible with black satin on one side with colors or patterns on the reverse
  • commonly hanhaba width, but do come in full width
  • tend to be soft or "floppy", not stiff

Chūya Obi Examples

Formality & TPO

When kimono were worn every day, they could be tied with a great variety of obi. Many of the informal obi styles, like the soft, black-satin faced chūya obi, have disappeared. (Liza Dalby's Kimono, Chapter 4: Kimono in Modern Japan > Types of Obi, pg 186)

There is a vintage kimono shop in Kyoto, for example, that has shelves piled with soft obi faced in black satin. These are pliant hand-painted silks rather than brocade, worn through the 1930s as casually stylish everyday clothing. These obi are friendly, not forbidding. They are also obsolete. (Liza Dalby's Kimono, Chapter 4: Kimono in Modern Japan > The Feminist Critique, pg 140)

TPO - Within Japan

Occasion Acceptable
Hotel Wedding Reception Maybe
Restaurant Wedding Reception Yes
Formal Party Maybe
Casual Party Yes
Dinner Yes
Lunch Yes
Tea Gathering Maybe
Graduation Ceremony Yes
Practice Yes
Theatre, Concert Yes
Exhibition Yes
Travel Yes
Yes - Acceptable to wear.
OK - OK to wear if no suitable alternatives.
No - Unacceptable to wear.

Article Notes

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