Men’s hakama

Hakama (?) are a type of traditional Japanese clothing. Hakama cover the lower body and resemble a wide, pleated skirt. Hakama were originally worn only by men, but today they are worn (albeit slightly differently) by both men and women. Hakama are tied at the waist and fall approximately to the ankles.

Men’s hakama

The most formal type of hakama are made of stiff, striped silk, usually black and white, or black and grey. These are worn with black montsuki kimono (kimono with one, three, or five family crests on the back, chest, and shoulders), white tabi (divided-toe socks), white under-kimono and woven straw sandals of various types. In colder weather a montsuki haori (long jacket) with a white haori-himo (haori-fastener) completes the outfit.

men hakama

men hakama

Hakama can be worn with any type of kimono except yukata (light cotton summer kimono generally worn for relaxing, for sleeping, or at festivals or summer outings). While striped hakama are usually worn with formal kimono, stripes in colours other than black, grey and white may be worn with less formal wear. Solid and gradated colours are also common. A hakama makes any outfit a little more formal.

While hakama used to be a required part of men’s wear, nowadays men usually wear hakama only on extremely formal occasions, and at tea ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. Hakama are also regularly worn by practitioners of a variety of martial arts, such as kendo, aikido, kyudo, et cetera. It is said that the flowing fabric of the hakama can disguise the movements of the warrior giving him an advantage in combat.

Sumo wrestlers, who do not wear hakama in the context of their sport, are, however, required to wear traditional Japanese dress whenever they appear in public. As hakama are one of the most important parts of traditional male formal dress, sumo wrestlers are often seen wearing hakama when attending appropriately formal functions.

There are many ways for men to tie hakama. First, the obi is tied in a special knot (an “under-hakama knot”) at the rear; men start with the front section, bringing the ties around the back and crossing them over the top of the knot of the obi. The ties are brought to the front and crossed below the waist, then tied at the back, under the knot of the obi. The toggle is then tucked behind the obi, and the rear ties are brought to the front and tied in a variety of ways. The most formal method results in a knot that resembles two bow-ties in a cross shape.

Posted in Kawaii Styles | No Comments » October 31st, 2008

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