The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female university student in my late teens. I will attend a coming-of-age ceremony the year after next. I’m worried because my father has said he wants me to wear a suit, not the furisode long-sleeved kimono that female participants usually wear at such ceremonies.
He explained he was impressed with one female participant who was clad in a suit while all the other women wore furisode when he attended his ceremony decades ago. He said she looked so dignified and cool.
At first, I thought I wouldn’t mind wearing a suit. But now I’m not sure, as my friends have started making rental reservations for furisode to wear at the ceremony and also suggested that I don’t need to listen to my father when I told them I may wear a suit.
Come to think of it, if I’m the only female participant wearing a suit, I will probably stand out too much in the photographs. If I wear a suit, my younger sister will probably need to wear one too, although she said she wanted to wear a furisode.
My father has insisted I should wear a suit, so if I say all these things to him, he may get angry and even argue with me. My intention isn’t to stick to wearing furisode even if I have to fight with him about it.
Should my sister and I give in to his strong wish?
Dear Ms. C:
Your father wants you to wear a suit at a coming-of-age ceremony only because a woman clad in a suit at his coming-of-age ceremony looked cool — I think this is only a matter of taste.
Clothes express the thoughts and feelings of the person who wears them. We can judge that person’s characteristics and way of thinking to some extent from what they wear and how.
The reason why the woman clad in a suit looked dignified is probably because her life philosophy and way of living were directly reflected in her choice of clothes and way of wearing them.
The point is who wears them. Women in suits don’t always look dignified.
You should have your own opinion as you are becoming an adult. If you don’t want to comply with your father’s request, you should have the backbone to explain that reason and have him accept it, rather than just reluctantly doing what he says.
You shouldn’t be unsure of what to wear just because everybody wears furisode.
I would never criticize you for being worried over what to wear at a coming-of-age ceremony, or suggest it is a trivial matter. You know, clothing is very important, as I said earlier.
Tatsuro Dekune, writer