A beautiful record featuring authentic Japanese culture had been set by a woman who devotes her life in traditional fashion.

Takako Yoshino, an expert in Japanese traditional fabric, broke the Guinness World Records title for the largest collection of Obi (kimono sashes)

Obi is a sash used mainly in kimono, a traditional Japanese dress for women. Takako's collection stands at an impressive 4,516 obis: a number that far outweighs the previous record of 1,111.


It's not just about numbers, however. Takako's collection features a wide variety of obis, ranging from sashes of late Edo period (mid-1800s) to more modern examples. Based in Nagoya, Takako's collection also feature a large number of Nagoya obi, which is one of the shorter obi types.

Takako began collecting obis in her early twenties, and she says that her parents had a significant influence in igniting her passion.

"There is a special aesthetics in obi, to concentrate all the beauty and embellishments in this small portion of the dress," she explained. "I was told to choose obi carefully so that it matches you, the kimono, and occasion. Those words had a strong influence on me."


As she began teaching kimono, her collection began to grow.

"It's easier to teach students the different styles and patterns when you can lay the actual obis out in front of them. For example, Saga Nishiki obi from Meiji period (1868-1912) used canvas so it's heavy, but as Western clothing came into Japan obis gradually became lighter.

"Reading about this kind of changes won't tell you about how they actually feel. I wanted to have as many examples as possible so that my students can experience them first hand."


Takako wanted to teach more convincingly, and she felt becoming a Guinness World Records title holder would give her more authority. Through her record-breaking collection, she wants to show people one of Japan's most important aesthetic to as many people as she can.

"In the mid 1950s when I was a child, people were more focused on obi when building a kimono wardrobe. But as parents born in early 1900s stopped wearing kimono, knowledge and tradition began to fade, and their children inherited even less knowledge and love of kimono. To think about obi, kimono, obijime (a sash band), obiage (a bustle for an obi) and zori (Japanese sandals) as a set. To think of time, place and occasion when choosing a kimono. As with most fashion, these must be thought about. I want people to have the right knowledge to help make these choices."


For her immense collection, Takako intends to keep growing it. 

"I still feel it's not enough. Your fashion situation changes as your age and lifestyle changes. I strongly feel that the more obis I have, the more I can teach."