Sunday, January 8, 2023

Kimono Mom rising

Her name is Moe (pronounced with two syllables). Her daughter is Sutan and her husband is Moto. She posted her first video on February 21, 2020. She now has 1.45 million subscribers. Moto has retired from his job of 20 years so he can take over the business affairs of Moe’s business. For all I know she may have secretly had something like that in mind when she started, but it would have been only a dream.

Here is her fourth video:



If you don’t speak Japanese you should select closed captions by clicking on the “cc” button at the lower right of the screen. That should give you a running English translation of what she is saying, assuming you’ve selected English as the language for translation.

Moe is at the center of the screen preparing the food while her daughter, Sutan, sits in a highchair behind the counter. She attempts to get out of her highchair and Moe must cope with her while cooking at the same time. If you read through the comments you’ll find that many of her viewers appreciate that because it gives a realistic depiction of trying to prepare food.

While her views certainly appreciate the recipes, it is the interaction between mother and daughter that makes Kimono Mom special. While Moe had referred to Sutan as her assistant in her first video, Sutan was too young at the time to do any assisting.

Things are much different now, in this recent video:

Mochi pounding 2022 | Moto also joined this year!


All three of them, Moe, Sutan, and Moto are in this video. Mochi is a rice cake made by pounding cooked rice until it is soft and stretchy. All three of them take turns pounding, even 3-year-old Sutan. One might think that the effort required to help Sutan exceeds the help that she contributes (that’s what I think, but, shhh! don’t tell), not to mention Sutan’s habit of snacking while working (or not). But that’s not the way to think about it.

Sutan became helping as soon as she had developed the capability. By now she is very good at cracking eggs, loves to sprinkle salt (from eye height), can stir things, and even peel shrimp. I gather this is typical of Japanese child-rearing. Children participate in the practical business of running a household from an early age. 

There's one video where Moe is talking about her life and remarks that she tries to treat Sutan as an equal. As an equal, her young toddler, an equal. That's different from treating her as an adult. That would be absurd as Sutan is not an adult. Moreover, one can interact with other adults and NOT treat them as equals; people do it all that time. But her young child, Sutan, Moe treats he as an equal. You can see it in their interaction.

This is perhaps my favorite video so far:

TEMPURA | SUTAN is the best singer with Asparagus! | Japanese Food Recipe

The reason is there in the title. At about 6:51 Sutan decides to treat a stalk of asparagus as a microphone and she rocks out, with Moe joining in, on Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.” What fun!

Watch Sutan crack eggs (8:41) and blend the yolks and the whites.

This next video is serious – not, mind you that fun, deep funk, isn’t serious. It most certainly is.

I finally found the place where I can be myself. MOE at KUDEN

This isn’t from Kimono Mom’s channel. Here is Google’s translation of the Japanese at the Kuden YouTube channel:

In the new era where people are connected online, the importance of speech (narration) is attracting attention for individuals to have an impact on the world. KUDEN is a “place” for speeches. At the same time as providing speeches to listeners in real places, we will also send many people online. It's an attempt to make a big impact on the world. Enjoy your wonderful speech.

In this video Moe explains how she came to be Kimono Mom, growing up in Kyoto, becoming a Maiko and then a full-fledged Geisha. Leaving the Geisha world to get married. Her first husband dies. She gets married again, to Moto. Gives birth to Sutan. Falls into post-partum depression and starts her YouTube channel to pull herself out.

And so forth. You should listen to the whole video (be sure to activate the English subtitles). It is a remarkable story.

Relationship Q&A|Parenting + Love + New Company

This video is what the title says, Moe and Moto answering viewer’s questions and talking about their life together. I have nothing in particular to say about this beyond noting that I enjoyed it quite a bit. At times I found it surprisingly frank without being embarrassing or intrusive.

Bon Odori Dance Festival | Japan Travel | Local Traditional Culture

This is one of my favorite Kimono Mom videos, perhaps because I recognize in from Isao Takahata’s wonderful 1994 anime, Pom Poko. Moe’s description:

Day 2 of our family trip. Today is the day of the Awa Odori dance. It is the largest dance festival in Japan and one of the traditional performing arts with a history of about 400 years. It is held in summer in various cities in Tokushima Prefecture, and Moe, Sutan, and Moto went to Naruto City's. Because of Covid, this was the first time in three years that the festival was held, and the locals were dancing with tears in their eyes. To fully enjoy the Awa Odori dance, it is not enough to just watch it. Dancing with them and experiencing the soul of the Tokushima people is the best experience you can have during your trip to Japan.

Whole Grapefruit Jelly | Fresh Summer Desserts!

I’ll leave you with another food video. This is, after all, a recipe/how to cook channel. For some reason Sutan insists on showing us an onion at the beginning of the video. Now she’s washing grapefruit, another skill. Her favorite skill, though, seems to be snacking on the food as they prepare it.

Notice Sutan cheer her Moe at 3:45: “Go mom, go go!” For which Moe thanks her. And then Sutan gets to squeeze the grapefruit (4:20). Near the end Sutan happily announces that she, you know (farted), which brings a found of merriment. 

What fun.

But you don’t need me to tell you what’s going on. You can see and hear for yourself.

‘Till later.

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Other posts featuring Kimono Mom:


  1. It's normal in American farm families for kids to have significant responsibilities at a very early age. The American family farm is a sort of historic survival made possible by strong political resistance starting with the Populists in the 1890s and before.

    The economists James Buchanan and Thorstein Veblen both grew up on family farms and you can see signs of that in their work. They were very different in most ways.

    1. Thanks, John. That certainly suggests lines of parallel investigation. While Japan is certainly a fully industrialized country, they are not so far from their agrarian past as we are.

  2. From my friend Leanne Martin, who lived in Japan for many years where she worked as a translator:

    "I really enjoyed this. Are you going to write about it at 3QD? She’s such a beautiful person and I really like the one where she talked with her husband. They have a very calming and peaceful way. I love her. And John was right that kids in Japan are giving a lot of responsibility and it’s a really good thing. I was really glad you put all these videos together. If you can copy and paste this comment and put it on your blog that would be great! And I hope you write more about her. Have you tried cooking with any of her recipes? I sometimes look at her videos and also the really funny one called cooking with dog but I never cook with them. I just watch the videos.!"