Imagine an ideal condition where all the people in the world wear the same dress.  A dress that has patterns and designs of all that is popular and existing in their land; flowers, animals, insects, landmarks or any other significant existence of the country from which a person originates.

This is the concept behind the creation of ‘IMAGINE ONEWORLD Kimono Project’ in Japan. One hundred and ninety six kimonos representing each country in the world will be designed and the kimonos will be ready for the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to welcome the athletes from different countries participating in the event.

Kimonos for 53 countries are so far complete. The kimono of Bhutan is depicted with the colours of yellow and orange. The dragon takes the centre portion of the kimono and there are other unique patterns which we don’t see anywhere in Bhutan. We see our national flower, blue poppy shown as a Buddhist flower motif and our national butterfly, Ludlow’s Bhutan swallowtail, depicted for the first time on a dress.

Thirty five Kimonos were on display in Nagoya for one week in December 2016 and I went twice to the exhibition hall because one visit could not satisfy my eye’s desire to appreciate our kimono and all the others that were displayed in the room. A room full of colours, patterns of flowers, animals, temples, rivers and every important aspect that we have studied in geography class. I became mesmerised by the project as a whole.

The Bhutan Kimono took the centre stage in the Nagoya exhibition hall and the representative director of the project and Bhutan Kimono concept founder, Yoshimasa Takakura, was overseeing the display and explaining the idea and concepts behind each Kimono.

He spoke warmly about Bhutan and praised the Royal Visit of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen to Japan in 2011 and how it touched the hearts of many Japanese. He also praised Bhutan’s concept of Gross National Happiness.

The description about the Bhutan Kimono also mentions that Bhutan is one of the few countries which has “advanced textile” and traditional dyeing techniques from ancient times which was passed onto younger generations.

All these concepts have been used in the creation of the Bhutan Kimono. Bhutan’s Kimono was the third to be conceptualised and designed.

Mr Takakura is a founder of the Kimono project and the expenses for creation of the kimonos were managed through sponsorship from private individuals and companies.

As we hear news about a world on the verge of divide every morning on major world news channels, such concepts and creations to promote a united world deserves appreciation and promotion.

I, for one, couldn’t be happier being a part even though just as an observer of such a noble concept as it takes shape and form. I eagerly wait for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to see 196 women dressed in Kimonos of all the countries of the world, standing to welcome every athlete that comes to join the event.

It will be a ceremony where the world unites showcasing their rich culture and tradition on a Japanese kimono.

Contributed by 

Sangay Thinley