Author: Minako McCarthy, The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, USA
Published: July 14, 2021
Citation: McCarthy, M. (2021). Does an Upcycling Kimono Practice Support Recycle-Oriented Cultural Sustainability? Japanese College Students’ Perspectives. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijcs.6.1.03
Kimono (a traditional Japanese garment worn by women) has played an important role in Japanese indigenous cultural origins. Ecological and sustainable ideas have inherently existed in kimono culture within this lifestyle. Since the United Nations announced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, the Japanese government has focused on creating healthy spaces with a sustainable direction in mind. However, textile-related product recycling rates were relatively low in Japan at the time. This empirical study used SDGs as a conceptual framework to examine Japanese college students’ perceptions of kimono upcycling practices and challenges. A mixed method was used to analyze the data. An open-ended questionnaire was distributed to college students in June 2019 in Liberal Arts at a national women’s university (n=155). The findings showed that interest in kimono upcycling moderately correlated to those and an interest in western garments upcycling (.578; p<.01). The relationship between these variables was significant (Chi-square: 48.471; p <.001). In the qualitative analysis, a coding method was used to explore common themes of students’ awareness and knowledge of upcycling kimono practices and found four strong themes to be present. The students perceived that upcycled kimono items connected to preserving family memories, whereas others noted upcycled items were used for sustainable resources. Also, three common challenges were found: practicality, technical issues, and people’s awareness. Some students also associated items with Japanese cultural preservation. College students’ attitudes and perceptions towards cultural sustainability engagement could therefore be a crucial mediator during sustainable development drives.
college student, Japan, Kimono, recycling, sustainable development, upcycling