MISE KIMONO was founded with the purpose of perpetuating the legacy and spirit of our Grandmother, Tomiko Mise
Growing up in the country parts of Japan, as the eldest girl, a lot was to be expected. She was responsible for her sisters and pulling her fair weight as part of the family. She was sent to sewing school (like most girls her age) to learn how to mend and make clothes. She would tell us stories of how she'd sometimes tell her parents she was off to night school yet in her sewing bag lay hidden a pair of dancing shoes. As you can see, a born rebel.
Tomiko was born September 26, 1931 in Ōzu City, Japan. She was one of 7 children (2 Boys, 5 girls) being the eldest of all the girls. Measuring in at a whopping 4' 11", she was definitely determined to always make her presence known. So much so that you could hear her laugh from a mile away (to which we've dubbed the infamous "cackle") and once you heard it you'd know, "oh that's Tomiko
She was feisty and rarely took anyone else's SH*T. Once, her and her baby sisters had to take a train into the city. The train had gone through a tunnel and the carts had filled with the smog and soot that had been shooting out of the train's chimney. When they had emerged from the tunnel some of the passenger's nostrils had turned black from all the dust they were breathing in... including her sisters. A few boys aboard had seen them and began to tease and laugh at them. This did not fly with Tomiko. She marched up to the bullies (who were a few years older and I'm sure much taller) and punched one of them right in the stomach! Safe to say no one was laughing after that
Many years later she met a Navy man named James Clark, who was on deployment in Japan. Before she knew it she was swept up in her very own love story and found herself on their way to the United States where a new adventure awaited.
Being full Japanese and coming to America post WWII, did not bless her with an easy life...but it did not change her quirky, crazy personality nor did it dampen her wild, rebellious spirit. She was always proud of who she was and was never ashamed of where she came from. Even after 2 Children, 3 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild later she was still the same punchy Tomiko-san from Ōzu City, Japan.
On December 20th, 2012 there had been a heavy vog in the air from volcanic ash that had been blowing over from Hawai'i Island all that week. That day she was admitted to the hospital after suffering a severe asthma attack due to this weather. On December 23, 2012 her spirit finally transitioned to once again join her husband into life there after.
As her grandchildren, we wanted a platform to honor her memory and felt the need to share her story with the rest of the world. So became the start of MISE KIMONO.
All Our products are designed to embody this eccentric spirit of Grandma Tomiko, as well as the family she left behind in Japan. Her 2 brothers and 4 sisters whom still reside there. Our hope is that our products fill you with the same joy that our Grandma gave to us, inspire you with the story of who she was, and unite us all around the common thread of this...a rebellious, quirky, eccentric, wild and strong matriarch we call Grandma Tomiko.