KOSODE NO HINAGATABON basically means "a sample book for kosode". Why are we using the name KOSODE and not KIMONO? For the simple reason that at the time the HINAGATABON developed the word kimono did not exist yet and the garment that we are talking about at that time was known as a KOSODE.

KIMONO means "thing to wear" and indicates from the late MEIJI period (1868-1912) the Japanese robes we all know and love. The word groupes all the different styles of WAFUKU, Clothes of the WA (Japanese), under this same term.

KOSODE means "small sleeves", which indicated a type of robe, basically as we know the kimono, but with a different style of sleeve that was shorter and rounder with a smaller sleeve opening and has it origins as an undergarment, dating back to the HEIAN (794-1185) period.

. When, during the 17th century, the Japanese middle class started to become more prosperous, they could also afford more expensive clothes. For the people that produced cloth and clothes in that period it became important that their wares were found by new customers. They found a way to do this.

For a few centuries kimono salesmen used especially produced sample books to sell kimono. One type of book would contain sample materials and coloured silks to show the real colour of the material, others would be woodblock printed designs, KOSODE/KIMONO NO HINAGATABON, to show potential customer what the kimono could look like and to make their choices in materials and colours.

These HINAGATABON appear roughtly in the middle of the 17th century and later became more and more elaborate in design and colour.

The images on this webpage are of books and single prints made around the MEIJI period (1868-1912).

They are either real wood block reprinted books from the 1700's, i.e. the black and white ones, or newer wood block printed books done in colour, unless otherwise specified.
From the late 1800s many other versions started to be printed in occidental press techniques and using more western style layouts.

Here is an example of one of those book, found on, from 1725, "TORYŪ MOYŌ HINAGATA TSURU NO KOE" by NAKAJIMA, TANJIRŌ

As mentioned before the black and white HINAGATABON were very likely accompanied by samples of material and available colours. Different books with pieces of material were available for customers to see the available options.

An example a colour sample book of a later period is this in KYŌTO produced ORIHON, accordion book, of KICHŌ IRO, basic key colours. 24 four sides with 6 different framed colour pieces of silk.
Swath books with samples of available textiles were an additional way to show quality and variety of materials and designs.

The book below has no date, but is likely SHŌWA period.

That HINAGATABON with KOSODE designs were popular is shown by this small book with a nice cover sleeve. The original book was made in 1782 by a known artist, Koikawa Harumachi, that for this book used the outline of a KOSODE to frame humorous and satirical scenes, caricatures, of daily life.
This type of book is generally classified under KIBYŌSHI, but it is a humorous picture book (As defined by Dr Nakamura).
The title can possibly be translated as: A catalogue of cool/smart people. (Read in a satirical way, though.)

(original version in 1782 - reprinted)

painter: Koikawa, Harumachi (1744-1789)

Size: 14x18 cm
(KIBYŌSHI style book)

The full set of the original prints from 1782 can be found on this link:
or here.