Kaoru Kamiya is the lone owner and instructor of the Kamiya Kasshin martial-arts school, the dojo and fighting style having been inherited from her father. Believing wholeheartedly in the Kamiya Kasshin ideal of katsujin-ken "swords protect life", Kaoru rejects with equal fervor the idea that swords exist only to do harm. Strong-willed and fiercely independent, Kaoru initially allows Kenshin to stay at the dojo as repayment for saving her life, and their relationship grows out of mutual gratitude and respect. Her feelings for Kenshin are conflicted; though she cares for him deeply she fears his Battōsai side and acknowledges that, regardless of her actions, she is likely to ultimately lose him.
Given my lack of experience and the limited resources available at the time, I wasn't remotely happy with this costume when I first made it in 2008 and only wore it once to a cosplay gathering. After visiting Japan in 2016 and dressing in different kimono styles, I felt more confident to give this costume a complete remake. Since commercially available kimono patterns are notoriously terrible, I studied the structure of real kimono and a kimono dressing book from Kyoto (I couldn't actually read it, but the pictures were extremely helpful) and Sketch and I spent two weeks collaborating on mockup after mockup until we finally felt we had it right. The biggest challenge was determining if the problem was the construction itself or how we were dressing me in it. Finally I set to work cutting and sewing together the actual fabric, which took over six yards per layer - outer, lining, and juban - to get the correct seaming. Even after all that agonizing, we still had to bring in the arm and front seams three times as it always ended up more gigantic than anticipated. Every time we got me into it, Sketch also became more skilled at helping dress me properly, which brought to light some of our sizing errors. The patterning and sizing setbacks meant this took longer to finish than anticipated, and I ended up making the obi during the last couple of days leading up to the con and cutting all of the appliqués on the drive, which I applied in the hotel room. Despite the end rush, I'm much happier with my 2019 version; its not 100% accurate but both Sketch and I learned a ton.