This article argues that the distinction between Japanese and Western attire is a part of the process of the construction of gendered and cultural identities in modern Japan. Kimono in modern Japan has been invented as national attire and as a marked feminine costume. Women have become models of Japanese femininity, as contrasted with men, who have been given the role of models for rational action and achievement. The article follows this dynamic process in modern Japan, and more particularly analyzes the process of producing young women for their coming-of-age ceremony. (Japan, kimono, gender, cultural identities).