By: Kelle Jolly

Sachi Uemoto will be presenting at the 2015 Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival on April 11.

Last November, Will and I provided the music for a fashion show presented by our friend Sachi Uemoto, at the McClung Museum for an International Arts Celebration. I first met Sachi in Nashville. She was presenting a traditional tea ceremony for The Japan-America Society of TN – Young Professionals (JAST YP). I saw the event advertised on Facebook and felt like driving all the way to Nashville and participating in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony would be relaxing.

Tea Ceremony

Tea Ceremony

It was. I saw old friends there and gained a new one in Sachi. I felt like we were kindred spirits. We’re both preservationists and innovators of traditional culture. I decided to interview her before her fashion show presentation in Knoxville. My friend Mari Nakamura translated the interview for me.

Kelle Jolly with Sachi Uemoto

Kelle Jolly with Sachi Uemoto

When did you start sewing? Why did you start sewing kimonos?

Two years ago – I did kimono fashion show two years ago in Japan. It was my first fashion show. At that time, there were no kimono fabrics I want to use for my fashion show so I started sewing kimono. Denim kimono is my favorite and was one of the most popular kimonos. I had order after that kimono show.

Why is it important for you to share Japanese culture with non-Japanese?

Kimono is so cool. Traditional Japanese things is beautiful. Each Japanese person should be proud of our traditional culture. I feel so sad about current Japanese people who don’t wear kimono much on daily life and are not interested in flower arrangement and tea ceremony. I want everyone in the world to have more interested in Japan. Japanese people should get more interested in own traditional culture. That’s why I am doing this and will keep doing it!

Sachi Uemoto wears cowboy boots with her kimono. She says it's okay to be casual.

Sachi Uemoto wears cowboy boots with her kimono. She says it’s okay to be casual.

What do you love most about wearing kimonos?

Wearing Kimono makes my back straight, my feeling noble and dignified. I look cool, fashionable and beautiful when I wear kimono.

How did you start demonstrating Japanese tea ceremony?

My aunt is a teacher of tea ceremony. I have come in contact with tea ceremony, flower arrangement and kimono since I was little.

Sachi Uemoto demonstrates a tea ceremony.

Sachi Uemoto demonstrates a tea ceremony.

Is there anything you want people to know about you?

I feel really sad about current Japanese people who don’t wear kimono, so I have been having more kimono shows for everyone to feel casual about kimono. There are people who prefer to wear formal kimono or unique make of kimono, or the others just prefer to look at kimono. It is hard to get close to kimono without chances.

I hate being away from kimono, one of the major traditional culture of Japan. You can start anytime and anywhere. You just see the display of kimono shop. I want everyone to wear it and feel the good texture and beauty of it. You don’t have to worry about how to wear it. Just wear it! Even you wear it like a casual costume is ok. If you get suffer from hard obi, it all depends on the person who helps you to get dressed in kimono. I feel happy to know if you wear kimono for special occasions. I hope kimono is close enough for anyone who enjoy it.​

If you enjoyed this article, seach Travel on for more stories about Japan, Cuba, Spain, Italy, and more.

Photos by: Kelle Jolly and Wil Boyd

© 2014, Knoxzine.

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