An article from the Washington Post describes the sad fate of the kimono:
Like blue jeans in America, kimonos increasingly are not being made in Japan at all. In search of cut-rate labor, a growing number of ancient Japanese kimono houses have opened weaving factories in China. As the work drops off, younger Japanese craftsmen have deserted the industry in droves, leaving the last generation of masters with few heirs.
Nowhere has the decline been felt more keenly than in Nishijin, home of Japan's finest -- and priciest -- kimonos and obi. Sales of Nishijin products fell from $2.7 billion in 1990 to a record low of $477 million last year, according to industry figures; during the same period, the district's production of kimonos dropped from 291,000 to just 87,382 garments.
Anthony Faiola 'Twilight for the Kimono' Washington Post www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/12/AR2006121200997_3.htm (13/12/2006)