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Kanji, Kana & Pronunciation
Kimono komon 17.jpg
Romaji Komon
Kanji 小紋
Kana こもん
Audio Coming Soon
(n) fine pattern

Komon literally means "small print". This term applies to any kimono with a print covering the entire surface of the kimono, with no particular direction or layout. The actual design can be any kind of pattern or weave -- "komon" is only an umbrella classification.


  • Repeating all-over pattern.
  • Stripes (horizontal or vertical).
  • Larger patterns are for younger people.
  • Made from linen, hemp, wool, synthetic and silk.
  • Ranges from around the house casual (fudangi) to semi-formal.


  • Bokashi komon - A komon where the design consist only of colour gradations (bokashi). The more subtle the gradations are and the more uniform the impression, the closer the piece is to iromuji.
  • Edo Komon - A komon consisting of tiny dots that create a subtle design and look to be a solid colour from a distance. Edo Komon and are closer to iromuji in formality.
  • Eba Komon - A komon where the design is "one direction" and always "right side up" along with the pattern being carefully matched over the seams to create a seamless look. Depending on the fabric type, Eba komon could be considered semi-formal due to the time and care placed in the construction. Often geometrics.
  • Tsukesage Komon - A komon where the design is all facing the same direction, discernibly right side up. This means that the motif has to change orientation at the shoulder so that it remains upright on both sides of the body.

Antique Hybrids

During the Greater Taisho Era there was a lot more ambiguously and variety between design and formality and often an odd piece that seems to be a cross between komon and houmongi or irotomesode seems to pop up. During this era, there was a stylistic movement for formal kimono with vertical stripes. The stripes could either be dyed into the background fabric or in form of silver or gold urushi pinstripes and the feature design by way of houmongi or irotomesode pattern placement.

By modern day standards, stripes are generally classed as informal and are usually only seen on komon, however these antique pieces should not be considered komon and their formality levels should be considered along the same lines as either houmongi or irotomesode, with the number of kamon (if any) featured taken into account.

Not all hybrid variations are with stripes, however. There have been those with irotomesode pattern placement with small, yuzen petals scattered over the body, or those with an interesting all over repeat weave with irotomesode pattern placement. Again, formality and TPO should be determined by the type of pattern, the type of weave and how many kamon.

Komon Examples

Variation & Hybrid Examples

Formality & TPO

While komon are casual kimono, they are considered one of the most versatile pieces in a kimono wardrobe (along with Iromuji). Depending on the fabric type, motif type and size, and variation of komon, it can be dressed up with appropriate accessories to increase formality.

When deciding upon wearing a komon to an event, it is important to take into consideration appropriate formality of the komon: whether the piece is considered Fudangi or semi-formal. For instance, it would be inappropriate to wear a casual wool Kasuri komon to a wedding reception as it is considered Fudangi and Townwear, but it would be appropriate to wear a silk or synthetic komon with larger patterns, especially if the motifs are of celebratory nature.

TPO - Within Japan

Occasion Semi- Formal
Hotel Wedding Reception Yes OK No
Restaurant Wedding Reception Yes Yes No
Formal Party Yes OK No
Casual Party Yes Yes No
Dinner Yes OK No
Lunch Yes Yes No
Tea Gathering Yes OK No
Graduation Ceremony Yes Yes No
Practice Yes Yes No
Theatre, Concert Yes Yes No
Exhibition Yes Yes No
Travel Yes Yes OK
Townwear Yes Yes OK
Errands (grocery shopping, etc) No OK Yes
Around The House No Yes Yes
Yes - Acceptable to wear.
OK - OK to wear, providing you have no suitable alternatives.
No - Unacceptable to wear.

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions

Authors & Contributors

Author/s: Naomi Graham Hormozi (Immortal Geisha (IG Username))

Contributors: Erica Pai (Iyolin (IG Username))