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Topic: Halloween Geisha and Rōnin  (Read 5703 times)
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« on: October 26, 2011 10:36:10 PM »

My husband is a real good sport and has been a Musketeer for two Halloweens already - the 2nd time was when we were busy traveling in late summer/fall and I had devoted myself to my Frank the Bunny costume and his brother's Terminator mask. He was going to go as a Musketeer again this year (he didn't want me to make him a costume as I was already working on a few for myself, stuff for nieces, a suit for a friend, coat, etc etc etc)...so I secretly made him a rōnin (lordless samurai) costume! I couldn't have him roaming alone, so I also put together a geisha costume for myself to accompany him to one of the parties we're going to. These outfits are far from historically accurate, and nowhere close to authentic reproductions of what rōnin and geisha ensembles should be. They are strictly Halloween costumes, for fun.

My outfit was easy to put together. I had brought back a vintage kimono (the 'robe') and obi (sash) from a Japan trip in 2010. I made a red sash (worn under the obi), obimakura (basically a little pillow the back of the obi goes around) and obi-jime (cord on top of the obi).

I also made two pieces to wear under my kimono - normally geisha would wear layers and layers of under kimonos, with a red kimono being the most-top layer (I think!) but because I was a bit limited on fabric, I made two separates. I could be wrong - they could wear separates! When I was in Japan, I went to a studio and got dressed up like a geisha and there were two parts. And in Memoirs of a Geisha, I think there were two parts... then again, neither of those things are accurate!

I also made my tabi (socks) and painted some old flip-flops in place of geta or zori sandals. There were some available locally, but they were too small! For my makeup, I took a sponge brush and used white Kryolan aquacolor on my face and neck. I accented my lips, eyes and eyebrows with red creme makeup from Ben Nye, and went over my eyebrows and eyelids with a bit of black. Everything was set with powder, but I also used a setting liquid instead of water when using the aquacolor (it just helps it stay a bit better).

I bought two cheap ninja/samurai swords of different sizes (for the katana and wakizashi), took then completely apart, repainted them and added new cloth to the handle. We actually have "real" katanas but I thought carrying those around (especially to a party with kids) would be a bad idea.

Husband also picked up an obi from Japan, so he wore that. He is so much better at tying his obi (that's why there's no back-shorts of me!). I bought tabi socks for him (and new black flip-flops) and made the rest out of linen. I had to reveal the costume-secret before everything was done, because since I was working without a "real" pattern (couldn't get one in time) I had to wing it a bit, got into trouble with the hakama (pant) pleats, and had to get him to try them on (they were HUGE).

It's a pretty easy-and-quick costume to put together (so long as you're working from a pattern or two).

I highly recommend it if you still don't know what to be this weekend!

...finally, congrats on making it through all the text and photos! Happy Halloween everybody Cheesy

« Last Edit: October 04, 2013 11:09:33 AM by Tatterhood » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2011 10:58:22 PM »

Tatter, you made one hell of a great geisha.
Magnificent job on the accuracy! Cheesy
Those would look wonderful displayed year round too.
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2011 03:37:13 AM »

Great costume!
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2011 06:54:34 AM »

Love it!  Your costumes are great!

« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2011 07:55:28 AM »

Wicked! This is similiar to what my husband wants to use for our renewed vows coming up in spring time, at least from the ronin standpoint...*grins* I'm gonna be going back over these photos quite a bit!
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2011 04:15:14 PM »

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

I just wanted to address and apologize to the Craftster community about my choice of this costume selection, just in case anybody feels uncomfortable or was offended! Before making these costumes, I did consider whether or not anybody would be offended and I hope I have not done so. While obviously samurai and geishas originate from the beautiful Japanese culture, they are an occupation - there have been people of non-Japanese decent who have been samurai and geisha. My husband and I are not going as someone of Japanese ethnicity, did/are not try to make ourselves look Japanese, only to look like a geisha and ronin (if that makes sense?).

Even though I know my costumes are far from accurate, I did do research and tried my best, given time and financial limits. We're not mocking another culture in our clothing, not perpetuating negative stereotypes in how we act. I watched videos of how katsura were made, so I could style my hair (as best I could). I think I used appropriate fabrics and lengths for the clothing. I looked at my photos from Japan and visited immortalgesiha.com to make sure I was using the correct makeup layout, amongst other things. The one thing that I feel pretty bad about is the flip-flops - I started making the outfits a few weeks before Halloween so if I bought geta online, they wouldn't have arrived in time, and locally I could not find 10 women's and size 11 men's geta or zori :S

If anyone thinks the poses in the photos themselves are offensive, I do apologize! My husband and I are *lousy* at posing, so I looked at my pictures that were taken in Japan and just tried to copy those. [What might be most offensive is the two 'attack' photos - it's a play on "stronger person" vs "seemingly defensive person" roles. We've done the same thing for our musketeer-and-lady-in-waiting, and knight-and-maiden costumes. We're not making fun of any culture (you could sub in any person of might and a seemingly defensive person).] If anyone is uncomfortable with any of them, I can substitute in thumbnails or remove the photos and add a direct link or take them down.

Sorry again if I've offended anyone - (and sorry if people are offended that I thought they could be offended!) Halloween is a fun celebration that I think all people should participate in, but, as with all things, we still need to be responsible for our actions! There have been some recent coverage about this topic, so I just wanted to open up the floor to anybody who wanted to voice their concerns but might have been holding back. We can't learn and improve without questions, comments and critiques! Thank you

« Last Edit: October 27, 2011 04:17:05 PM by Tatterhood » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2011 04:55:14 PM »

Bravo for addressing it and posting those links, some of the images and stories in them are incredibly offensive, wow.
While your beautiful costumes in no way reflect that level of racial insensitivity I'm glad to have the issue highlighted as a chance to re-evaluate how I myself might hold cultural stereotypes in my mind subconsciously. It can't hurt to become more aware of these things, I certainly don't mean to be racially biased but what we take for granted in our own culture as a representative image of another culture is not always accurate or appropriate.
Thanks for bringing this into the light.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2011 04:55:41 PM by craftylittlemonkey » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2011 04:16:04 AM »

You: rock because you made this and worried about whether two layers would be enough lol
Your Husband: rocks because he goes 100% for your couple-costumes. 


If it had grown up, it would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think.
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2011 09:52:26 AM »

Amazingly well done. I am so impressed!

« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2011 10:31:37 AM »

I thought the costumes were awesome, but the photos were more so. 

I'm also a bit envious of the fact that your husband will dress up for the holiday.  I married a fuddy duddy.


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