How she moved to Ghana
From March 2015 to March 2017, she lived in Ghana, West Africa, as a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) member. In fact, Ghana does not produce the most of chocolate in the world, and actually the No.1 cacao exporting country is Republic of Cote d’Ivoire.
When it was decided that she would be dispatched to Ghana, she immediately thought of making kimono using African fabrics, and after researching while she was in Japan, she learned that cotton fabrics are mostly used in Africa, so she decided to use unlined kimonos and yukatas !
*Difference between yukata and unlined kimono
- How to wear: Yukata is worn on bare skin, while kimono is worn under Nagusa undergarment.
- Fabric: Yukata is made of thin and comfortable fabric such as cotton or cotton and linen, while kimono is silk, cotton, and wool.
Since many of the old Japanese patterns are quite gorgeous, she was pretty sure that African patterns are also suitable for Japanese clothes.
How to get to Makola Market
In the capital Accra, there is Makola Market, which is said to be the largest market in West Africa. To go from the crew dormitory (which is no longer there) to Makola Market, use Ghana’s public transportation called Tro Tro. They vary in their sizes and cleanliness, and sometimes their doors fell down while running and the person in charge of payment, called Mates, was trying to hold a door while driving. Of course, there doesn’t exist a timetable or a plate with the destination written on it. To go to the market, take the one called “Accra Accra”. Makola Market is easy to get off as is the terminal station. What’s interesting is that when they get off a car, they call “Get down” instead.
Walk-through for the market
In the hasty and rushing atmosphere of Makola Market, crammed with hundreds of small cloth shops, it is a very exciting and fun experience to wander through the crowds in search of their favorite cloth while sometimes taking breaks to drink beer and eat some tropical snack. During my two years stay in Ghana, she made a lot of kimonos for my friends and they were all very pleased with her works, as a result, her skills of making kimonos has been developed in a great extent.
What are Kimono made with African fabric like?
Some of her works are available in the following online shop: