Puzzle – Japanese girl in Kimono

A simple 6 piece wooden puzzle from the Children of the World Tuzzles range. The puzzle depicts a Japanese girl, wearing a traditional kimono, with her hair in a bun held by decorative hair sticks.

KANZASHI

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Puzzle – Japanese girl in Kimono

Description

A simple 6 piece wooden puzzle from the Children of the World Tuzzles range. The puzzle depicts a Japanese girl, wearing a kimono tied with an obi. Her hair is in a bun held by kanzashi (hair sticks) and she is holding a folding Japanese fan.

Cultural notes

Kimono

The kimono is a traditional Japanese garment. Kimonos are often worn for important festivals or formal occasions as formal clothing. Kimono are wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial) and are secured by a sash called an obi, which is tied at the back.

Today, kimono are most often worn by women, particularly on special occasions.  A few older women and even fewer men still wear the kimono on a daily basis. Men wear the kimono most often at weddings, tea ceremonies, and other very special or very formal occasions. Professional sumo wrestlers are often seen in the kimono because they are required to wear traditional Japanese dress whenever appearing in public.

Kanzashi (Hair Sticks) 

Japanese women are often depicted in Western illustrations, costumes and cartoons wearing their hair in a bun, with chopsticks crossed in their bun. This however, is not an accurate representation of Japanese culture, instead it is seen to be disrespectful as chopsticks are solely for the purpose of eating.

There are however, ornate hair sticks known as Japanese Kanzashi. Kanzashi are hair ornamentation, who when first created were simple rods. believed to be able to ward off evil spirits. Since their creation Kanzashi have grown more complex, with a wide variety of styles and even serving multiple purposes, some adapted to aid in self defense. The most stick like of the Kanzashi would be the Kogai and the Tama (but this is actually pronged).

Nowadays, kanzashi are most often worn by brides, geishas and in Japanese tea ceremonies. However, there is currently a revival among young Japanese women who wish to add an elegant touch to their business suit. There are many varieties and many styles of wearing kanzashi. The way a geisha wears her kanzashi indicates her status immediately to an informed audience according to the type and location of the kanzashi. Maiko (apprentice geisha) usually wear more numerous and elaborate kanzashi than more senior geisha and progress through several hairstyles where the kanzashi must be worn in a fixed pattern.

 

Japanese Fan

The folding Japanese fan is very important in the culture of the Japanese society. Even though a fan is conventionally meant to provide a cool breeze during hot weather, these fans can also be seen to be associated with some traditional dance forms and other cultural aspects of Japan.

There is various symbolism in Japan associated with fans. The fan itself is a symbol of prosperity as it spreads out when we open it, similar to that of a blooming flower or the widening of wealth. As the fan starts from a single point and the wooden strips go out to various directions, they are considered to resemble the various paths leading us through life after the single point of birth.

Usually, the fans with patterns have an odd number of pictures printed on it, as odd numbers are considered lucky. The colour and the pictures on a fan have particular meanings. Gold colored fans are believed to attract wealth while red and white ones are considered to be lucky colours. The Japanese also used to give fans as gifts and souvenirs. Fans that are specially designed to be given at birthdays have pictures like chrysanthemums, cranes, and turtles to wish the person a long and lucky life.

Suggested activities

Books/ Story time: 

Group/ Circle Time:

  • Read through ‘The Clothes we Wear’, borrowing items of clothing to reflect those discussed in the book. Discuss the differences in the clothing, touching on the climate in each country, materials, cultural beliefs etc. Discuss children’s favourite items of clothing and why this is their favourite.

Dramatic Play:

  • Borrow some traditional Chinese clothing so children can dress up like the child in the picture
  • Borrow the full range of Children Around The World puzzles and match them with clothing

Puzzles/ Games:

  • Create a puzzle piece scavenger hunt – hide the pieces around the room

Sensory Play: 

  • Create a puzzle tray using rainbow rice – put each of the pieces of the
    Puzzle in the tray so children have to find each piece first before they complete the puzzle. This can be made more difficult by adding pieces for multiple puzzles

External Links

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The research for this resource was made possible through a grant from the Central Coast Council.