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Yamanaka Norio

Kitsukepeople yamanaka 01.jpg
Romaji Yamanaka Norio
Kanji 山中 典士
Kana やまなか のりお
Location Tokyo
Year Born 1928-
Known For Founder and Chairman of the Sōdō Kimono Academy
Website http://www.n-yamanaka.com/
Audio Coming Soon

Yamanaka Norio is the founder and chairman of both Japan's first kimono (etiquette) academy, Sōdō Reihō Kimono Gakuin (Sōdō Kimono Academy), and the All-Japan Kimono Consultant Corporation.

Yamanaka is an advocate for using kitsuke to spread peace around the world. His focus is to achieve peace and well-being throughout the world by promoting the spiritual foundation of kimono culture: love, beauty, courtesy, and harmony. Just as tea ceremony has a or a way, he believes there is a way in wearing kimono and that by deeply understanding that way can one rediscover the traditional cultural values that have been lost in modern times.


Yamanaka Norio was born in Shiga Prefecture in 1928. In 1943, he took the navy's aviation preparatory course, and in 1945 joined the navy flying corps before the end of the war. After being demobilized, he returned home and found in his mother's kimono-clad figure a symbol of peace and true love.

In 1948, Yamanaka began to work on his kimono business plan, but as he had no money he had to keep working while studying. He slowly formulated his personal kimono philosophy of love, beauty, courtesy, and harmony over the next couple of years. By 1963, he had become financially stable and was finally able to follow his dream.

In 1964, Yamanaka founded both the Sōdō Kimono Etiquette Academy and the All-Japan Consultant Corporation to spread kitsuke and his personal philosophy. Starting in 1968, Sōdō began holding an Annual National Kitsuke Competition at the NHK Hall in Tokyo. From 1970 on, the winners of the competition have been included in the Sōdō Kimono Culture Delegation dispatched to countries around the world, to spread peace and promote Japanese cultural wisdom to other countries.

Yamanaka wrote The Book of Kimono in 1986 and it was translated into English the following year. The Book of Kimono was the first kitsuke manual available in English. A second revised edition was released in 2012.

Yamanaka was invited to lecture at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in 1980 and 1982. Yamanaka has met with and presented kimono to two popes, Pope John Paul II in 1985 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.

Yamanaka has appeared on television and print to promote his philosophy. In 2004, he had a one-hour special on Japanese Culture Channel Sakura called the "Sōdō Hour" to talk about 'The Heart of Love, Beauty, Courtesy, and Harmony.


Yamanaka Norio presenting Pope Benedict XVI with a kimono in 2007
  • "Since it is what is inside that gives the kimono its true form, it is meaningless for the wearer to merely imitate another person’s outer or physical presence. Those who would make the beauty of the kimono their own must first make their own spirit and character a thing of beauty. This is the wisdom of beauty for those devoted to the kimono... the kimono reveals, rather than disguises, the wearer’s inner qualities. There is no other garment which does so uncompromisingly."

Books Published

Kimono & Other

Kitsukepeople yamanaka book 04.png Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
Polish Your Heart Day by Day Readings
PHP Research Institute
4569777481 Buy [n/a] [n/a]
Notes: Published in 2010

Kitsukepeople yamanaka book 02.jpg Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
Japanese Revival of Wisdom: Wearing Kimono Opens Japan's Future
Munesato Publishing
488474716X Buy [n/a] [n/a]
Notes: Published in 2005

Kitsukepeople yamanaka book 01.jpg Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
Japanese Wisdom Unknown by Japanese People - Crowded Kimono, Heart of Love, Beauty, Courtesy & Harmony
The Book
4309904963 Buy [n/a] [n/a]
Notes: Published in 2002

Kitsukepeople yamanaka book 03.jpg Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
Even More Beautiful - A Guide Classified by Age
Nihonkyo Fumisha
4531062981 Buy [n/a] [n/a]
Notes: Published in 1997

Books no cover.gif Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
Recommended Philosophical Path of the 21st Century - The Heart of Love, Beauty, Courtesy & Harmony
Munesato Publishing
4884743849 Buy [n/a] [n/a]
Notes: Published in 1996

Books no cover.gif Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
Kimono and a Beautiful Life
Sōdō Kimono Academy
4391115913 Buy [n/a] [n/a]
Notes: Published in 1993

Books no cover.gif Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
Showing Love and Wisdom - Kimono Heart
Yomiyuri Shimbun
4643623209 Buy [n/a] [n/a]
Notes: Published in 1986

Kitsukepeople yamanaka book 05.jpg Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
The Book of Kimono
The Complete Guide to Style and Wear
Kodansha International 0870117858 Buy Buy Buy
Notes: Book Review - The Book of Kimono, published in 1986

Books no cover.gif Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
Your Pull-out Beauty Book
Kairyuyama Doude Version
4304040049 Buy [n/a] [n/a]
Notes: Published in 1985

Books no cover.gif Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
Kimono World Ambassadors 50 Hard-fighting Accounts - Entrusting the Wish of Peace & Love in Kimono
Wakabayashi Publishing Project
494871805X Buy [n/a] [n/a]
Notes: Published in 1984

Kitsukepeople yamanakanorio book 02.jpg Book Title Publisher ISBN Amazon
JP :: USA :: UK
Beauty in Kimono
 ? N/A [n/a] [n/a] [n/a]
Notes: Published in 1972

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions


Image Credits

  • Bio picture taken from Yamanaka-san's website.

Authors & Contributors

Author/s: tzippurah (IG Username), Erica Pai (Iyolin (IG Username))

Contributors: N/A