Otohime’s Coral and Blue Undersea Gown from the Japanese Fairy Tale Urashima Tarō‎

A blue gown with a stylized wave pattern in a darker shade of blue. There is a vest and overskirt with uneven, coral-like edges in shades of orange and coral with a golden scaly pattern all over it. The vest forms a large V over the top and is held in place by a wide belt in an aqua and teal wave pattern with gold accents. There is a thin dark blue ribbon tied around the belt. It is held in place with a brooch made of polished green and blue abalone, and the two ends of the ribbon extend almost to the floor. Underneath the belt is a short overskirt in a semi-transparent white fabric with a subtle shimmer. The collar is formed by several overlapping robes in shades of blue, dark where it is in contact with the vest and progressively lighter until it reaches the neck. The sleeves are wide and bell-shaped, and at the shoulders there is another layer of the shimmery semi-transparent white fabric. There is a wide white ribbon that floats over the dress in a large circle and slips under the arms, its edges curling around the skirt.I’m sorry to have made you wait for this one! I just had some kind of block about it, but now it is done and I can go on to something else. This is my version of a dress worn by Otohime, who is a figure from a famous Japanese folk tale, Urashima Tarō‎ (浦島太郎). In the story, the young fisherman Urashima Tarō saves a turtle from some kids who are tormenting it, and as a reward, he is brought to the undersea palace of the Dragon God and meets his daughter, Otohime (乙姫), who was that turtle that he rescued. He stays there for a few days, but soon wishes to return home. Before he does, Otohime gives him a box, warning him not to open it. When he gets back, he finds that everyone he knew is long dead and his village has greatly changed. He opens the box, but in it was his old age, and he turns to dust and blows away. Some versions have happier endings, like this illustrated retelling. If you’re studying Japanese, give this version a shot.

Urashima Tarō‎ is a story that pretty much every Japanese person would know, and Otohime is a famous figure. As it’s a very old story, the way she is usually depicted is in a gown like this (with obvious Chinese influence) and not usually a Japanese outfit. As it’s a famous fairytale, though, the depiction varies with the artist.

Thank you for all of your fun entries in my contest! I really just need a post to enter someone in the drawing, but it’s more fun for me to read about whose costumes reign supreme. (The cast of Downton Abbey would triumph over the cast of the Titanic, according to my readers.) The winner, although I hate to admit it because he was talking about his plans for what he’d do if he won the other day and I know what I’m in for, is my husband Brian.

Come back next week to see what ridiculous design Brian will choose for my 1912 gown, and for a new poll! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for site updates, complaints about Facebook and gowns with interesting details. If you enjoy my work, I’d also appreciate your support through Patreon.

8 thoughts on “Otohime’s Coral and Blue Undersea Gown from the Japanese Fairy Tale Urashima Tarō‎

  1. LOL! That’s actually kinda funny! But, anyway, congratulations, Mr. Kerr.
    I know absolutely nothing about the cast of either, Liana, so I just waited to see who would win!

    Postscript:
    I wonder what the 1912 gown will be like?

    – Sarah :)

  2. I am endlessly fascinated by the ways in which costume trends travel. China and Japan are one excellent example, as are England and France. Anyway, this is a lovely gown and perhaps my favorite of all that you’ve posted in your new series.

    Now, I need to go read up on Japanese fairytales. :)

  3. Me to RLC! What I wish is that I had an app so that I could move the dress to the doll without having to print them out…

  4. Wow. This costume is AMAZING. A friend introduced me to Asian dramas last year, and I very quickly became hooked on them. The costumes in the historical and fantasy dramas are delightful and quite different from Western costume. You’ve done a fantastic job on this one. I especially like the jewel on the belt over the obi.

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