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At a century-old workshop in a quiet Tokyo neighborhood, craftsman Yuichi Hirose brushes dye across meticulously hand-cut stencils laid on fabric, using a traditional technique to produce contemporary kimono patterns.Hirose's innovations include developing new designs to adorn the kimono, including tiny sharks or even skull motifs.Once a standard of the Japanese wardrobe, the kimono is now often a garment reserved for special occasions, such as weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies, and is mostly worn by women.A complete kimono outfit starts with an undergarment known as a nagajuban, over which the kimono is layered, held in place with a thick obi belt and string.'An honor to wear'And while demand for kimonos is falling among Japanese, services renting the garments to foreign visitors are booming.Kahori Ochi serves around 500 foreign tourists a year at her kimono rental store in the trendy Harajuku area of Tokyo. They pay around 9,000 yen to be dressed in a kimono worth about 300,000 yen. However, Ochi changed her mind after spending a summer in Norway, where people complimented her on her kimono.
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