The Japanese typically wear two types of clothing. In modern Japan, clothing is typically divided into western clothing (洋服 yōfuku) and Japanese clothing (和服 wafuku). While the traditional ethnic garments of Japan are still in use, they are mainly worn for ceremonies and special events, funerals, coming-of-age ceremonies (seijin shiki), and festivals. Western clothing is worn often in day-to-day life. While the westernization of fashions has continued at a rapid pace, the kimono still lives on within the Japanese rich culture.
Japanese clothing consisted entirely of a great variety of kimono. They first appeared in the Jomon period, with no distinction between male and female. After Japan opened up for trading with the outside world, other options started to come in. Officers and men of some units of the shogunal army and navy were among the first to adopt western clothing, fashioned after the styles worn by English marines stationed at Yokohama. The style only grew from there, moving out from the military to other lifestyles. Students of public colleges and universities were ordered to wear western-style uniforms and businessmen, teachers, doctors, bankers, and other leaders of the new society wore suits to work and at large social functions. Although western-style dress was becoming more popular for the work place, schools, and streets it was not worn by everybody. Since World War II most areas of Japanese life have been taken over by western clothing.
The many and varied traditional handicrafts of Japan are officially recognised and protected. Some enjoy status as meibutsu, or regional specialties. Each craft demands a set of specialized skills. Textile crafts, for example, include silk, hemp, and cotton, woven (after spinning and dyeing) in forms from timeless folk designs to complex court patterns. Village crafts that evolved from ancient folk traditions also continued in weaving and indigo dyeing in Hokkaidō by the Ainu people, whose distinctive designs have prehistoric prototypes, and by other remote farming families in northern Japan.
Silk-weaving families can be traced to the 15th century in the famous Nishijin weaving center of Kyoto, where elegant fabrics worn by the emperor and the aristocracy were produced. In the 17th century, designs on textiles were applied using stencils and rice paste, in the yuzen or paste-resist method of dyeing. The yuzen method provided an imitation of aristocratic brocades, which were forbidden to commoners by sumptuary laws.]citation needed[