Yûsoku Kojitsu Ron
A History of
Japanese Clothing and Accessories

Men’s Clothing and Accessories

= Men’s Outfits =


     In this section, I will present only historical information on the various outfits and ensembles worn by men. The details here will concern full outfits. For specifics of the individual garments and accessories, see the articles about them in the appropriate preceeding chapters.

       Typically, people wearing an outfit called such-and-such are described as in "such-and-such sugata" -- this is difficult to translate cleanly into English, but the word "sugata" means "form" or "appearance."

 Arazome sugata

      This outfit is a pink linen or hemp kariginu worn over a black four-panel hakama. It was worn by the umbrella carriers, sandal-bearers, and other such servants of the families of imperial princes and state ministers. The name (literally “pink-dyed”) is derived from the color of the kariginu.

Parts of the arazome sugata:
Garments Kosode, (hitoe), black kukuri-bakama, pink kataginu.
Accessories  Waraji, small tate eboshi

Bukan sokutai (ketteki no sokutai) sugata

      This is the formal court wear of the military official (which is the meaning of “bukan”). It was worn only by military officials of the fourth court rank and below. Men of the first through third rank wore the bunkan sokutai even if they held military appointments.
      The principal garment is the ketteki no hô.
      Although the hanpi may sometimes be dispensed with when wearing bunkan sokutai, it can never be left off when wearing a bukan sokutai.

Parts of the bukan sokutai:
Shitôzu, kosode, ôguchi, akome, hitoe, shitagasane, hanpi, uwabakama, ôkatabira, ketteki no hô.
 Kutsu, ishi no obi, (gyôtai), hiraô, tatô, hiogi, shaku, hoso tachi, hirayanagui, yumi, kanmuri.

Bunkan sokutai (hoeki no sokutai) sugata

      This is the formal court wear of the civil official (which is the meaning of “bunkan”). It was worn by all men holding civil government appoints and all govermental officials above the fourth court rank. This was the outfit worn by the Emperor as well.
      The principal garment is the hoeki no hô.
      The hanpi may sometimes be dispensed with when wearing the bunkan sokutai, especially during the heat of summer.
      Swords are not worn with the bunkan sokutai except for military officials, nagon (councellors) and sangi (advisors), and by permission for officials of the Nakatsukasho (Ministry of Central Affairs).

Parts of the bunkan sokutai:
Shitôzu, kosode, ôguchi, akome, hitoe, shitagasane, (hanpi), uwabakama, ôkatabira, hoeki no hô
Asagutsu, ishi no obi, (gyôtai), hiraô, tatô, hiogi, shaku, kazari tachi, kanmuri

Dôbuku sugata
      As a liesure-wear garment, there is no single standard for what constitutes a dôbuku sugata. At home, one might even choose not to wear hakama — in which case the dôbuku is worn over just the kosode. The only thing more informal than this is wearing a kosode only.
      During the Muromachi-Momoyama periods, dôbuku were frequently seen worn on the streets by everyone from merchants to samurai. Even some of the court nobles wore dôbuku at home during this period — albeit those of a particularly sumptuous and gaudy nature.
      It makes little difference whether the dôbuku had sleeves or not, although samurai often preferred a sleeveless dôbuku with a slit up the back — a garment that looks little different from a jinbaori in cut.

Parts of the dôbuku sugata:
Garments  Juban, kosode, (shitabakama), hakama, dôbuku.
Accessories Waraji, tabi, eboshi, fan, (bladed weapon).

Hakuchô sugata

      The upper and lower garment are made of the same fabric — namely, white hemp or linen cloth. The upper garment is virtually identical in cut to the kariginu, albeit a bit shorter and with less full sleeves. The hakama are short kukuri-bakama of the four-panel–width type, with the cuffs usually tied shut below the knee. The garment was unlined regardless of intention for summer or winter use.
      The outfit was deliberately meant to be white. It was worn by servitors at court, as well as by servants of the kuge and buke and their various outrunners and torchbearers when on the road. (This garment was so prevalent among these servants that they came to be called hakuchô as well.) The outfit was completed by waraji and a black tate eboshi. The tate eboshi worn by hakuchô was shorter than those worn by the nobles, and of less imposing fabric.
      No weapons are worn with this outfit.

Parts of the hakuchô sugata:
Kosode, (hitoe), white kukuri-bakama, white hakuchô kariginu
Accessories  Waraji, small tate eboshi

Hitatare (kamishimo) sugata

      Court nobles wearing the hitatare would invariably wear tate eboshi while men of the military classes would wear an ori eboshi (i.e., a samurai eboshi). The hitatare and hakama were almost always of the same pattern, fabric, and cut, resulting in a matching upper and lower (kamishimo) outfit.
      Under the influence of the styles of the military houses, this outfit came to be worn as an extremely leisurely outfit by the court nobility during the Kamakura period. For the military, it was standard day wear from late Heian through the latter part of the sixteenth century, when the kataginu kamishimo began to take its place as day wear, and the hitatare became (for the military) a more dressy item.
      Military men would typically wear at least a tantô if not full-sized swords with this outfit, while court nobles often wore it unarmed.
      As an outfit favored by the military, it was sometimes worn over armour rather than under it; but in these cases not with a helmet. The kote and would be donned, and then the hitatare and hakama donned over that. The sleeves were usually then tied up about the elbow to allow freedom of movement.

Parts of the hitatare kamishimo:
Garments  Juban, kosode, matching hakama and hitatare.
Accessories Waraji, tabi, eboshi (bladed weapon)

Hôko sugata

      This is a semi-formal outfit. It was worn when not participating in official functions, and is slightly ahead of the ikan in terms of formality. As it uses the hoeki no hô as its principal garment, it is subject to the color sumptuary restrictions.
      The name literally means "cloth hakama," in deference to the use of sashinuki instead of the more formal silk uwabakama.
      Typically, only military officials or men of high rank would wear a sword with this outift, and even then they might not wear one if they choose.

Parts of the hokô sugata:
Shitôzu, kosode, shitabakama, akome, hitoe, shitagasane, (hanpi), sashinuki, hoeki no hô
Asagutsu, ishi no obi, (gyôtai), hiraô, tatô, hiogi, shaku, kazari tachi, kanmuri

Ikan sugata

      This is a formal attire slightly less so than the hôko, and a step below the sokutai. It uses the hôeki no ho, but replaces the formal uwabakama with more simple sashinuki (as does the hôko) and does away with the shitagasane and ishi no obi (which are parts of the hôko). Originally it was worn at home, but around the middle of the Heian period it became acceptable to wear at the palace. It was worn by both those who wore the ketteki and hoeki sokutai.
      As the principal garment was the hoeki no hô, the sumptuary regulations on which colors were appropriate to be worn were followed. In fact, this use of the hoeki no hô is problematic, as although it is in fact the hoeki no hô, it is worn and made like a nôshi. That is, the hakoe (the “pocket” at the back) is worn out rather than in, and the hakoe even has the attached ties at either end like the nôshi. The worn with an ikan is, therefore, neither fish nor fowl; it is part hoeki no hô, and part nôshi (although in terms of cut, it is entirely a nôshi — but in terms of color and pattern, it is a hoeki no hô).
      One could add a hitoe to the layers under the ikan, in which case it might be called a hitoe ikan. The hitoe is made to the same measurements as that of the sokutai, but the hitoe fabric had more variation; it might have been yokoshigebishi (as with the sokutai’s hitoe), or it could also have been tôbishi, hanabishi tômon, or even just plain unpatterned silk. For young people, the prescribed hitoe color was koki iro; for men in their prime, moegi; and for the elderly it was white or ao.
      The akome worn with the ikan (here usually called just “koromo” instead of “akome”) was like that worn with the sokutai, but its surface was either katajiaya or ukiorimono, and the color and pattern was left to the wearer's discretion and taste. The lining was plain silk of a color complementary to the surface. When the akome was worn so that the front hem showed under the front of the (a very fashionable style) it was called “idashiginu.”
      In the Edo period, those wearing the ikan began wearing sashiko instead of sashinuki as a lighter and more comfortable form of dress. Another change over time was the replacement of the hiôgi with the more familiar modern vaned ôgi during the Muromachi period.
      One usually would wear no sword or weapons with the ikan. Barefoot was the standard with the ikan, but the elderly and infirm were permitted to wear shitôzu.
      This outfit is also called “tonoiginu” or “tonoi sôzoku.”

Parts of the ikan sugata:
Garments  (Shitôzu), juban, shitabakama, akome, (hitoe), sashinuki or sashiko, hoeki no hô
Accessories Asagutsu, tatô, hiogi, shaku, kanmuri

Jikitotsu sugata

      This was another type of outfit frequently worn by Buddhist monks from the mid-Heian through the Edo period. There were minor stylistic variations over the years, but this outfit remained in common use.
      The wearer might opt for kukuri-bakama or could go without, but typically he would wear kyahan either way when on the road.

Parts of the soken sugata:
Garments  Kosode, kukuri-bakama, jikitotsu,
Accessories Kyahan, kesa, kasa, waraji.

Jittoku sugata

Kachie sugata

      This is the uniform of the imperial guards when on duty. The outfit is so named due to the the kachie being the principal garment.
      The sword worn is often a kenukigata tachi, or a tachi in black mounts.

Parts of the kachie sugata:
Garments  Kosode, hitoe, hanpi, ônohakama, kachie
Waraji or waragutsu, ôgi, tachi, tsuboyanagui, yumi, saiei kanmuri (with oikake), ichibihabaki, shiraobi

Kariginu sugata

      The sashinuki was traditionally worn with the kariginu, but starting in the early Edo period, the suiko or ônohakama came to be worn instead. From Muromachi, the hiôgi was replaced with the bonbori-style fan. The hitoe was dispensable, and might be worn or not as the wearer chose.
      Retired emperors could wear tate eboshi or kazaori eboshi as their whims dictated. Those allowed into the palace wore tate eboshi, and jige wore kazaori eboshi.
      For ease of movement, the lower left corner of the hanging back of the kariginu can be tucked up into the self-belt at the waist. This style is called “oshiori.

Parts of the kariginu sugata:
Garments  Kosode, shitabakama, koromo (uchiakome?), (hitoe), sashinuki, kariginu.
Accessories Asagutsu, hiogi, tatô, shitôzu, eboshi, shaku, self-belt

Karisôzoku sugata

      This is the classic Heian hunting outfit, which became a virtual uniform for anyone doing hunting or other horseback archery activities. It was originally worn by the civil aristocracy, but its use had spread to the military classes by the end of the Heian period.
      Those wearing the outfit at first had the choice between suikan or hitatare (the latter being preferred among the military), but by the Edo period, the suikan seems to have no longer been part of the karisôsoku sugata.

Parts of the karisôzoku sugata:
Garments  Juban, kosode, hakama, suikan or hitatare, mukabaki
Accessories (Tabi), kutsu, tachi, ebira, yumi, hat, yugake, igote

Kannôshi sugata

      This is the informal outfit commonly worn by court nobles at home, when visiting, and when at leisurely pursuits. As the nôshi does not follow the sumptuary color regulations, the wearer is free (more or less) to indulge his whims. With permission, this outfit may even be worn at the palace, in which case one would usually wear the kannôshi sugata instead. The only funtional difference between this and the ikan no sugata is that instead of the hoeki no hô, the over garment is in fact a nôshi.
      Usually no weapons are carried or worn with this outfit.

Parts of the kannôshi sugata:
Shitôzu, kosode, shitabakama, akome, hitoe, shitagasane, (hanpi), sashinuki, nôshi
Accessories Asagutsu, tatô, ôgi, kanmuri

Kataginu kamishimo

      A garment that is a combination of a kataginu and hakama made in matching pattern/color. The hakama’s waist ties were of the same fabric and color as the hakama. When one says “kamishimo,” this is usually the outfit that is referred to — so much so that it is the default outfit when the term is mentioned.
      Two principal forms existed: the pre-1630s model (in the photos at left below) and the classic Edo period version (in the photo on the right). In the Edo period, nagabakama were commonly worn in more formal occasions, while conventional hakama might also be worn in less formal circumstances.
      In the Muromachi-Momoyama periods, the kataginu and the kataginu kamishimo became the typical day-wear of samurai. In the Edo period, it was reserved for more formal occasions and was replaced by just the kosode and hakama as day wear.
      For the earlier period, all manner of colors and patterns were commonly available, while many had (in addition to what other decoration there was) the mon of the wearer at three places. The Edo version of the kataginu invariably had a more subdued, formal, and “uniform” look.

Parts of the kataginu kamishimo:
Garments  Juban, kosode, hakama, kataginu,
Accessories Waraji, tabi, katana and/or wakizashi, ôgi, (ori eboshi)

Kyûtai sugata

      Text holder blah blah blah

Parts of the kyûtai sugata:
Garments  Kosode, shitabakama, akome, sashinuki, ôkatabira, kyûtai.
Accessories gojô kesa

Motsuke koromo sugata

      This is the appearance of the average Buddhist monk, especially when on the road, from the end of the Heian period through the Edo. Different Buddhist sects will of course have different aspects of wear. You should look into the sect in question and see if they had an particular clothing or color traditions.
      The wearing of hakama (specifically kukuri-bakama) was optional, as some wore longer kosode that showed below the hem of the motsuke koromo.

Parts of the motsuke koromo sugata:
Garments  Kosode, kukuri-bakama, motsuke koromo.
Accessories Kyahan, kesa, kasa, waraji, self-belt.

Nôshi sugata

      This is the informal outfit commonly worn by court nobles at home, when visiting, and when at leisurely pursuits. As the nôshi does not follow the sumptuary color regulations, the wearer is free (more or less) to indulge his whims. With permission, this outfit may even be worn at the palace, in which case one would usually wear the kannôshi sugata instead (the difference being the headdress).
      No weapons are carried or worn with this outfit.

Parts of the nôshi sugata:
Garments  Kosode, shitabakama, hitoe, akome, sashinuki, nôshi.
Accessories  Asagutsu, tatô, hiogi, shaku, tate eboshi,

      Literally, “raifuku” means “ceremonial clothing,” and it is written with two characters more likely expected to be read as “reifuku.” It typically refers to sokutai and other such garments, although “raifuku” also refers to a certain specific set of garments that are almost identical to Han Chinese court clothing and are worn only by the Emperor at specific functions. This is unlike the conventional sokutai, which are Japanese styled. This usage of raifuku is so esoteric, however, that it need not be addressed here.
      Raifuku as formal wear began as formal clothing worn at court, but became ceremonial in function. It was relatively unchanged from its Fujiwara/Heian days through the Kamakura period, but as time passed, changes in mode of dress came into being.
      Two schools of dress of the Kamakura period — the Mikado and Tokudaiji — became the Takakura and Yamashina schools, respectively. These two schools were the predominant modes of court fashion, and each had slight variations in cut (e.g., see the entry on hanpi in Chapter One) and preferred fashions of wear (e.g., the Takakura-ryû wore the sekitai in one manner, while the Yamashina-ryû wore it in another). By the Edo period, the Takakura-ryû had become the recognized authority on methods of wear, while the Yamashina-ryû became the experts on historical aspects and significance. For a chart detailing the differences, click here.

Soken sugata

      Text holder blah blah blah

Parts of the soken sugata:
Garments  Kosode, shitabakama, sashinuki, soken.
Accessories Kesa, fan.

Sokutai sugata
       In the Muromachi period, sokutai were simplified. The shitagasane, hitoe, and katabira came to be made of a single garment (sometimes even a single layer), but designed to look like all three were separately being worn. Sokutai is not a specific garment, nor is it an outfit: rather, it is a manner of dress, analogous to usage of the terms “white tie” or “tie and tails.” Originally, as devised by Emperor Suiko, the color of the coat and cap changed to fit the rank of the wearer. As with many other garments, the pattern, color, and presence of lining changed from season to season and depending on rank and function.
      Only military officials wore swords with the sokutai, except for officials of the Central Affairs Ministry (Nakatsukasashô), and those bearing the office/ranl of consultants and counselors (sangi and nagon) and above, or other members of the kugyô who were specifically permitted to do so. Military officials in formation or on assignment with the palace guard also carry bows and a loaded quiver. There were two versions (which, see): bunkan sokutai sugata, and bukan sokutai sugata.

Suikan sugata

      Text. Blah blah blah.
      Those of the fifth court rank and above wore tate eboshi with the suikan; those below wore kazaori eboshi. When the hakama and suikan were matching fabric, it was called “suikan kamishimo,” and may have been the first such matching outfit to bear the name kamishimo.

Parts of the suikan sugata:
Garments  Shiro katabira, shiro kosode juban, (white) kosode, suikan, kuzubakama or suikanbakama,
Accessories Kutsu or obuto, tate eboshi or kazaori eboshi or samurai eboshi, hiogi.

Zôshikinin sugata

      Zôshikinin were servitors in the palaces of the uppermost aristocracy. Their outfits are virtually identical to those of the hakuchô (q.v.), except the color of the kariginu is one of several pastel shades (the kukuri-bakama can either be the same color, or white). The word “zôshiki” literally means “random colors” so people wearing them were zôshikinin.
      Both garments were made of the same fabric; namely, hemp or linen.
      No weapons are worn with this outfit.

Parts of the zôshikinin sugata:
Kosode, (hitoe), kukuri-bakama, pastel zôshiki kariginu
Accessories  Waraji, small tate eboshi



This page last modified on 3/24/04

This page and all contents copyright ©2001, 2004 by Anthony J. Bryant.
Copying or transmission in all or part without express written permission is forbidden.