Japanese Export Smoking Suit
Japanese Export Smoking Suit
Japanese Export Smoking Suit
Japanese Export Smoking Suit
Japanese Export Smoking Suit
Japanese Export Smoking Suit


Japanese Export Smoking Suit

Although there are no labels in the suit Mr Hidesato Shiino, the great grandson of the founder, feels it to be from Shobey's. Alex Byrne gave the paper The Shiino Shobey Silk Store of Yokohama to The Asiatic Society of Japan in June 2018 which was published in their Bulletin no 7. September 2018. I contacted Mr Byrne who passed on my photos to Mr Shiino. His reply:I showed the pics you sent to Mr. Shiino and he thinks it certainly looks like a Shobey item.  Made for the Western market.



The jacket of dark snuff brown twill weave habutae silk , the collar embroidered in twisted silks with a central small chrysanthum and sprays of leaves to the collar edges, the wide revers similar worked, the right hand revers with silk loops (later), under the left hand revers are two wooden domed buttons for closure (later), similar embroidery to the front, around the slit pockets and across the bottom, the right hand side with a diagonal slit chest pocket, all in old gold , khaki and magenta shades, each front side with large silk corded braid (kumihimo) magenta and brown toggle and loop closure, the wide sleeves with cuffs similarly embroidered, lined in fine magenta silk all quilted, the pockets lined with natural cotton.

It would fit a 38 in; 97 cm chest.

Nape of neck to hem 34 in; 87 cm

The trousers with gathered waist with similar magenta and brown tassels, above a fly front with four small black buttons, two impressed with Best Ring Edge and two with Best Solid Eyelet, side pockets, the back with an adjustable waistband with a black metal buckle marked Paris, lined with fine magenta silk and quilted, the flies lined with dark brown cotton, the pockets with white cotton.

Inside length 28 in; 72 cm


I would say hardly worn. No wear to neck area. The back underarm seam on the left hand arm has the seam coming undone, but this could easily be resewn.

The trousers have three very pale spots to the front where the dye appears to have faded. At the base of the flies the seam is coming away. Again a few stitches will secure this. The lower right hand leg, as you look at the trousers, has a slightly darker liquid stain 6 x 4 in; 15 x 10 cm.

It would fit a 6ft, 38 in chest man.


Reigning Men. Fashion in Menswear 1715 -2015. LA County Museum by Clarissa M. Esguerra, K. D. Spilker, and Sharon Sadako Takeda p 88 is a plain velvet smoking suit with cord ties to the trousers, similar to ours. Photo in my photo file.


Fashion. The Kyoto Costume Institute has similar embroidered women's garments. p 306




Costume 2008, nos 42. Japonisme and Feminity: A sstudy of Japanese Dress in British and French Art and Society, c 1860-1899.  Man's dressing gown in fig 3.


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