= Men’s Garments =

by Anthony J. Bryant and Joshua L. Badgley

In this section, we will present only historical information on the individual garments worn by men. Note that some of the garments may also be worn by women or may have a feminine counterpart, often with the same name even if it has a different cut. In a later section, we will detail the construction of these garments. Therein we will also address information on these garments and how their use might be applied to historical re-enactors. All of the graphics with a blue border link to larger images which will pop up in a separate window. Likewise, when the text discusses other garments, highlighted words will bring up a small image of the garment mentioned (to save readers from scrolling back and forth to see what is being referenced). Colors and fabric patterns are likewise highlighted to pop up a window showing what these look like.

This is far from a complete listing of all the garments that existed in all of Japan from the days of Jimmu. Rather, it is a presentation of the more important garments and the ones key to making up the various outfits most important in Japanese history. For the sake of simplicity, for the present we are presenting mostly garments worn from the Heian period (794–1183) through the Edo period (1600–1868), although at some point we plan to add earlier garments and the Nara variants of Heian clothes already covered here.

Akome (衵)

This is a garment worn with the sokutai. It was worn between the outer and innermost garment(s), typically above the hitoe and below the shitagasane. It is cut generally similarly to the hitoe, with a double-wide body and a long, open collar. The front and back are, like the hitoe, left unsewn together at the sides. It is lined. This garment is the same cut for everyone from the Emperor on down.

 Most commonly, and for most formal wear, the surface color is kurenai (orange-red). For the upper nobility (at least third rank and above) the pattern was koaoitatewaku, or hishi, and the fabric itself is a stiff patterned silk. For those of tenjōbito status, the surface was plain, stiffened silk. The lining is also kurenai, unpatterned, and of plain silk. The fabric may change, however, depending on the situation. A pale yellow-green used by ministers and the aged was called “someakome,” and the elderly might also use a white “shiroakome.”

 It is sometimes called “akome no kinu,” and often in garments of the Heian period, when a reference is made to “kinu” as an item of sub-wear (that is, below over-robes), it is the akome, or a longer version of it, that is being discussed. It is also called “uchiki,” though that term is more often used in women's outfits, though the two serve similar purposes, often being layered one on top of the other, with the primary difference being that the men's akome is typically shorter.

In cold weather, one could wear an akome stuffed with silk floss called an “atsuginu,” though typically, for warmth, one would just layer the akome as needed. In the summer, the lining could be torn out, which was called “hieki.” If it was worn outside of the hakama then it was called “ideakome.”

An akome made with fabric that was beaten (“uchi”) with a wooden block was known as an uchigi or uchiginu. A starchy paste was applied to the inner lining, creating what was called a “hariakome”, an especially stiff akome, known as an emon no uchigi.


The ceremonial court garb of the Emperor, which has the konryō pattern.

Daimon (no hitatare) (大紋)

The garment is generally just referred to as a “daimon,” which is short for “daimon no hitatare.” It is an upper-body garment identical in cut to the hitatare proper.

Daimon are cloth (usually not silk) hitatare with a large crest (whence the name is derived, from dai [large] and mon [crest]) at each point where a monoji / kikutoji would be applied (center back, each breast, and center of each sleeve back). The crests can either be dyed or painted on. Monoji are then placed on each crest.

Matching hakama worn with the daimon have white waist ties, like those worn with hitatare proper. It is a less casual item than a hitatare, and more formal than a suō.

In the Edo period, the daimon suffered a strange development which resulted in the sleeves becoming something bizarre and unique to this garment.

Dōbuku (胴服)

(Also called “dōfuku.”) It should not be confused with the other garment with which it shares the name dōbuku/dōfuku. The word for this garment is written with the kanji for “torso” and “clothing.”

This overgarment is a short, open-fronted jacket. It came into being in the Momoyama period, and was the forerunner of the modern haori, much as the kosode was the forerunner of the modern kimono. Originally, it was a merchant’s garment, but samurai began wearing it due to its comfort. It was intended as a protection against the cold or dirt of the outside but was commonly worn indoors as well.

Dōbuku could be sleeved or sleeveless and were of indeterminate length anywhere from the waist to below the buttocks. The collar is either broad and folded over like wrap-around lapels or narrow and integral like that on a kataginu. The collar was occasionally of contrasting or different fabric, and dōbuku were sometimes lined in gaudy colors when worn by men of rank. There was often a tie of some kind at the breast to hold the garment closed.

Takada Shizuo says that no respectable samurai would go out in public in the Sengoku period without either a dōbuku or kataginu on. It may have been inspired by the European cappa, or capelet. João Rodriguez—the historical model for Fr. Alvito, the interpreter “Tsuku-san” in the book Shōgun—says that the dōbuku date from Hideyoshi’s time.

The dōbuku is a very informal, leisurely garment.

Dōfuku (道福)

(Also called “dōbuku.”) It should not be confused with the other garment with which it shares the name dōbuku/dōfuku. The word for this garment is written with the kanji for “way” (as in “dō/tao”) and “clothing.”

The dōfuku comes in two varieties: there is a knee-length version (distinguished by the term ko-dōfuku), and the ankle-length garment that looks surprisingly like a modern Western dressing gown except for the large, full sleeves. Two sets of ties, one inside and one outside the garment at the waist, secure it closed. The skirt section is cut rather full and actually tapers out in a vague bell shape. It was a Momoyama development based on a monastic garment called jikitotsu.

The dōfuku was the leisure garment of lay monastics and other men who have functionally retired from worldly cares to devote themselves to spiritual or artistic matters. Sometimes, those in orders would wear a kesa over it.

By the early Edo period, the dōfuku had become the virtual uniform of tea masters (as masters of the “Way” of Tea), artisans, and haiku poets.

Furyū suikan (風流水干)

suikan worn at special occasions like festivals. The sleeve-end panels and collars were of a different pattern or color of fabric. This garment was primarily worn during the Heian and Kamakura periods. It presented a young, energetic, and festive appearance.

Hakama (袴)

This is the generic term for pants. There were actually several varieties of hakama. See, for example, entries here for sashinuki, hitatare no hakama, ōguchi, uenohakama, sayomi-bakama, kukuri-bakama, yonobakama, sashiko, nagabakama, kobakama, and suikan no hakama.

Hakama could be of varying lengths or fullness. The cheapest hakama were made of two panels (that is, made with two widths of cloth, one front, one back) per leg. More common hakama were four-panel hakama, and the fullest and most luxuriant models were made of six panels. The lower number of panels, in addition to limiting the fullness, limited the number of pleats that could be made.

Hakama worn by commoners and laborers in Heian were two panel, and typically only reached to the mid-calf or a bit lower. During the sixteenth century, low-class warriors often wore a knee-length two- or three-panel hakama which were sometimes called kobakama, a terminology problem as regular hakama were also called kobakama in the Edo period owing to the formal nagabakama being the “formal” norm.

According to Takada, bushi did not go out in public without wearing hakama over their kosode. By the end of the Momoyama period, when relaxing at home or in the garden, a bushi might wear only a kosode and not wear hakama, but this is an exceptional circumstance; when going out in public, not wearing the hakama would be the height of slovenly or informal appearance, being more appropriate for farmers in the fields, laborers, and poor, low-ranking ashigaru.

The width of the front and back panel at the waist were the same (c. 27 cm. wide) until the late Muromachi period, when the rear width was reduced to its modern width of about two-thirds that of the front. The rear ties also became narrower (having previously been the same as those in front). It was common, particularly in earlier versions, for the ties to be attached at the front and back with reinforcing cords (usually two, white silk cords, one z-twist and one s-twist, paired together). These cords wove in and out of the fabric and appear to have been there, originally, to help keep the ties attached to the rest of the garment.

Example showing the opening in the crotch of the  hakama .

Example showing the opening in the crotch of the hakama.

Many hakama were made “crotchless”—that is, the underneath seam was left unclosed. This was to allow one’s natural bodily functions (at least the “smaller” ones) without having to disrobe. This was structurally easier to do with the more full hakama, of course. Others had overlapping gussets making a fly or were just sewn shut with a normal gusset.

Earlier hakama, unlike modern martial arts hakama, had two clearly defined legs, rather than having the pleats overlapping left and right so that one can’t tell where one leg ends and the other begins. Another modern feature is the koshi'ita, the solid panel at the small of the back. This seems to have appeared sometime in the very late days of the sixteenth century, as earlier hakama were merely cut straight across the back as at the front. Even after its introduction, it does not appear to have become de rigeour until the Edo period.

Some hakama during the Sengoku period had the hems made narrower than the body in imitation of the ballooning trousers worn by the Portuguese. This style carried on into the Edo period and became called karusan-bakama. In addition to the taper, they had a secured band of cloth—looking rather like a pants cuff—sewn around each leg’s hem, so the ballooning fabric would not open out like regular hakama.

Formal hakama were typically lined. Lined hakama were called ai-hakama, distinguishing them from those unlined hakama commonly worn more in summer months, which were called hitoe-hakama.

The Roman Catholic missionary and historian of Japan Luis Frois wrote that hakama in the latter part of the sixteenth century were commonly made of cotton owing to the fabric’s durability.

When it was warm, or when performing strenuous tasks, people wearing hakama could hike them up and either thrust the hem into the sides of the waist ties, or pull the kosode underneath up from the front hem and tuck the corners in the front of the waist ties; both of these actions were called “momotori” and had the effect of making the hakama functionally into short pants. It was not a particularly high-class thing to do.

If you want to make your own, you can download a simple pattern for hakama. This should be a good starting point for any other hakama types.

Hanpi (半臂)

The hanpi is sleeveless or short sleeved garment that was originally imported from China and become part of the full, formal sokutai. It is a sleeveless garment, with an open collar and a body two panels wide. The front and back are not sewn together until shortly before the waist, where a “skirt” or ran is attached (though some later versions had them as separate pieces, as noted below). The skirt has several accordion folds at both the left and right side to allow for a smoother fit.

 The hanpi derived from a Chinese garment (banpi) that had variants worn by men and women. It was occasionally worn over other garments, but generally under the .

 In late Heian, with the development of the two traditions of fashion (Takakura and Yamashina schools), two variations on the hanpi emerged. The Takakura school followed the original pattern, while the Yamashina divided the garment (setsu hanpi), making the top portion wear like a short tabard with an overlapping front, while the now heavily pleated skirt section was attached separately with a built-in waist tie.

 It is worn over the shitagasane, directly under the . For the sokutai, its colors and patterns were generally proscribed, but for the less formal variations (e.g., ikan or hogō sugata) more leeway was allowed for decoration. Hanpi worn with ketteki no hō had skirts about twice the length of the normal model (which is pictured here).

 In the winter, since it wouldn’t show under the solid , it was sometimes omitted; however, since it always showed under the translucent summerweight  and so was always worn. This only held true for the hōeki no hō; it was never left off when wearing the open-sided ketteki no hō.

 For a chart showing the colors and fabrics prescribed for the hanpi as worn with a sokutaiclick here.


A short version of the soken. In black silk or hemp, this was the standard overgarment of the sōhei, worn even over their armor.

Hikinōshi (引き直衣)

This garment is a variation—or a development of—the nōshi. Structurally it is almost identical except that the body is about twice as long as the regular nōshi. It was worn only by the Emperor, apparently. Because it was usually worn trailing, rather than hiked up, it was also called “sage ("hanging") nōshi.”

 The garments worn under it—such as the hitoe and the akome—were likewise extended, and called “naga-ginu” and “naga-hitoe.”


The hirami is a type of wrapped skirt, or mo, imported with Chinese fashion. While wrapped skirts continued in women's clothing, both in the court and out, the hirami does not appear to have taken root in men's fashion outside of specific ceremonial clothing, and even that faded in the mid-Heian period, with the exception of a particular set of ceremonial robes that continued to be used up through the Meiji period.

As a part of the raifuku, the hirami was the classic Han Chinese wrapped apron seen, even today, on statues of legendary kings and officials. It was a part of the official court garb of civilian officials of the Tang court, and thus was adopted into the regulations of court regalia of Suiko Tennō, Temmu Tennō, and subsequently mentioned in later edicts.

The shape of the hirami is essentially a rectangle pleated into a waistband that terminates in ties at either end. Thus, to be worn, it would be wrapped around the waist and tied. Images typically show that the hirami was often long enough to pool on the floor around one's ankles while standing, completely covering all but the tips of the shoes. While there are many cases where it was worn over top of the , in some cases it was worn underneath, showing at the hems. It is also sometimes referred to as an uwamo.

Hitatare (直垂)

The hitatare is an upper-body garment with a double-panel width body, and is open down the front and along the sides. Unlike kariginu and suikan with their standing collars, it has an open collar. The sleeves are attached to the body only for about half their length, the bottoms being allowed to hang free.

During the Heian period it was the daily garment of the common laborer (and had shorter, narrower sleeves, sometimes only slightly larger than needed for the arms). Owing to its open-necked comfort, it was also worn by the kuge as nightwear (over a kosode) and for warmth on colder evenings.

Though they reached the top levels of the aristocracy, the Heike enjoyed wearing hitatare when traveling and at home, and so the popularity of the garment spread among the upper classes in the twelfth century.

The hitatare were made more “impressive” with larger sleeves and became the common daywear of the buke in the Kamakura period; it was also about this time that the wrist cord was added (end of Heian/early Kamakura periods). Unlike suikan and kariginu (where it went through the entire fabric and lining, if any), the wrist cord went through a series of loops sewn to the surface of the fabric, or through the tunnel of the wrist seam itself. Later, it seems to have become purely decorative, with only a small piece of cord tied in at the lower corners of the sleeves.



About the time of the Hōjō shikken (in the 13th century), this more simple garment became the ceremonial wear of the buke, and under it they wore a kosode as an uchigiKikutoji or monoji were also applied at about this point, although instead of disc-shaped kikutoji, knots of applied round cord, called tsuyu or kotsuyu, were used.

Given the relative comfort of the hitatare, some kuge even began wearing it at home. This increase in popularity among people of rank lead to more luxuriant fabrics being used. For bukehitatare went from daily wear in the Kamakura period to formal wear in the Muromachi.

 In the Muromachi period, the division into “types” of hitatare appears, in which there are two principal types: those made of silk and those of hemp/linen/ramie, etc. The latter is divided into suō or daimon.

 Tate eboshi were typically worn with the hitatare by the kuge until the Kamakura period, while buke instead wore ori eboshi, but even some kuge started wearing ori eboshi at this point.

 You can download a pattern for hitatare.

Hitatare no Hakama (直垂の袴)

The hakama worn with hitatare first had ankle cords attached in the manner of the wrist ties in the latter days of the Heian period. Like suikan no hakama, it was typically of six-panel (rather than four-panel) make, with each leg having three full widths of fabric.

Hakama worn with hitatare and suō (especially as kamishimo) had white waist ties. Hakama worn with suō had ties of the same cloth as the hakama.

Hitoe (単衣)

This is an unlined robe (hence the name) worn under nōshi, and often under kariginu as well. Traditionally it is either a kurenai (orange-red) or far more rarely a pale green color, and almost invariably the pattern is yokoshigebishi, or floral pattern seen here:




The sides are not sewn shut, and the sleeves are only partially sewn to the body. The collar is long and open. It is two panels wide, and so is very large; a double fold, like darts, made in the back at the time of donning, enable one to wear the garment. It is worn tucked into the pants (whether ōguchi or sashinuki).

The general cut of the hitoe is repeated several times by different garments worn layered as part of the sokutai. You can download a simple pattern, which will also include the differences between the standard hitoe and the akome and shitagasane.

There is also a longer version called the “hari-hitoe” that is worn with outfits that do not call for hakama, such as the religious kyūtai.

Hō (袍)

This is an over-robe (sometimes translated as “coat”). There are actually several garments called , which will be addressed here. This included secular and religious garments, and it is important not to get them confused. The oldest forms go back to the Nara period, and were copies of Persian, or Sogdian, robes that had become popular in the Tang court. They are the ultimate progenitor for almost all round-necked garments found in Japan. By the late Heian period they had become a distinctly Japanese form of dress.


The most important  is the topmost garment worn with several types of dress worn by the kuge, including the sokutai sugatahogō sugata, etc. There are principally two types: the hōeki no hō and the ketteki no hō. The nōshi, being nearly identical with the hōeki no hō, is also a variant and sometimes referred to as a , rather than nōshi.

There are two weights of  as well: for winter, and for summer. The summer garment was typically single layer, while the winter one was heavier and lined.

 For a chart showing the officially prescribed colors of hōeki no hō and ketteki no hōclick here.


Contrasted with the secular version, above, this is priestly garb, worn with an underskirt called a mo. Though functionally similar, the cut and fabric were very different. For example, most such Buddhist raiments had a v-neck collar, rather than the rounded collar of the secular , and were made with a very different cut and fabric.

Hōeki no hō (縫腋袍)




This is the outermost garment worn with several formal outfits, most notably of the sokutai worn by civil officials. This sokutai is a style called hōeki no sugata. Military officials below third court rank wear the ketteki no hō; but even military officials of the third rank and above wear the hōeki no hō. This garment is also called a “matsuhashi no kinu” or “motohoshi no hō.” Most of the information here will reference the garment of the latter Heian period and beyond, as earlier versions of the garment appear to be quite different.

With the hōeki sugata, the hanpi is sometimes dispensed with. The garment has a double-width body (with each side of the front being one and a half panels wide), and huge, double-width (or rather, 1 and 2/3 width) sleeves as well. The collar is round and closes at the right side of the neck with a frog closure (“Tonbo musubi”). The body is long, with a sort of “p

ocket” in the lower back, folded into the garment, called a hakoe or kaku fukuro. The bottom is encased in a broad horizontal panel called a ran, with a projecting “winglet” at either side.

The garment is made so that when it is lying flat on the ground the neck is actually in the back. This is because when worn, the front blouses out a bit, so the entire front is pulled forward to allow this. For this to be possible, the garment is open under the arms for almost a foot—other than that, it is sewn shut.

The fabric of the hōeki no hō was set by sumptuary law, and one can discern the rank of the wearer by the color of the robe. It was therefore the most formal robe of the kuge class. Over the years, the color that went with the different ranks changed according to reworkings of the sumptuary laws. At first, these colors changed wildly and rapidly, settling down in the early Kamakura period, with black being the most common color.

Like  in general, there are two varied “weights” of hōeki no hō: for winter, and for summer. The summer garment was typically single layer and often translucent gauze, while the winter one was lined.

The early versions of the hōeki no hō, in the Nara and early Heian period, was a robe similar to other Nara period . The sleeves were long, but not overly wide, and the neck hole was in the center of the garment, rather than the rear. In addition, the ran was much wider, and, at the sides, it was pleated, allowing for more movement. These pleats appear to have become the “wings” seen in the late Heian version of the garment.

The hōeki no hō is a complex garment. However, we do have a pattern for this and the nōshi, available. The nōshi pattern is more detailed, and nearly identical except for the inclusion of ties at the sides and the hakoe being outside rather than folded inside.

For a chart showing the prescribed colors for the hōeki no hōclick here.

Ikan no hō (衣冠の袍)

This is the garment used with the ikan sugata, used by high-ranking noblemen visiting the palace. It is effectively a hōeki no hō, but the hakoe (the pouch in back) is outside, giving it the shape of a nōshi. It was worn with sashinuki, like a nōshi, but on the head one would wear a kanmuri rather than an eboshi.

The ikan followed the fabric and sumptuary patterns of the hōeki no hō.

Hōi (袍衣)

This is a garment worn by those below the rank of dainagon. It is structurally identical to the kariginu. The only thing that makes it different from the kariginu, in fact, is that the hōi is defined as an unlined, unpatterned kariginu. For more details on the hōi, see the entry for kariginu.


This garment appeared in the middle of the Heian period, and was a daywear “coat” worn by those who had taken Buddhist orders. Men of the third court rank and above were allowed jikitotsu of silk, while all others had to make do with baser cloth. The sides are not sewn shut until they reach the skirt section, which is one long, over-layer folded section of cloth.

In the Heian period, the garment had a slightly different cut than depicted here (the one depicted is an Edo version). The original had a solid horizontal band of cloth around the waist, serving as a sort of buffer between the front and back body panels and the skirt. By the Edo period, this had been done away with and the skirt was directly attached to the body.

Black was the most appropriate color, judging from the artistic record, although other somber colors were allowed.

This garment was the forerunner of the dōfuku.

Jinbaori (陣羽織)

The jinbaori came about in the 16th century as a coat worn over armor. Initially they served a function as a coat in inclement weather, but as there were no restrictions on them, and as armor itself became more showy on the battlefield, jinbaori also changed. Though they almost always opened in front, with a standing collar behind the neck and open collars going down the front, usually with something to keep it closed at the chest, they could vary wildly beyond that. Because they typically reinforced the seams at the shoulders, often with leather, the surcoat is often seen standing out when in use. Some had wide sleeves, while others had no sleeves at all. The fabric could be anything and we have examples of feathered coats, wool, brocade, and even, in at least one instance, an imported Persian carpet. The jinbaori allowed a warrior to express his individuality on the battlefield.

The name comes from its purpose as it was worn (haoru) in camp (jin).


The jōe was identical in cut and style to the kariginu. It was of plain white fabric, and worn with matching sashinuki. It was worn for certain Shintō and Buddhist ceremonies. It was usually normal cloth, but in the case of the Imperial family (especially retired Emperors, and the lines of Yoshida and Shirakawa) it was untreated silk. It dates from the late Heian period.

Juban (襦袢)

Juban refers to the innermost clothing, worn under the other garments. Originally the undermost layer was made of white cloth, used to protect the upper garments against sweat and body oils, and it was known as kazami or asetori (“sweat taking”). The name “juban” came about in the 16th century from the Portuguese term “gibão” (jerkin or doublet). There is evidence that the original use may be tied to the gusoku no shita, a Portuguese inspired garment worn under tōsei gusoku armor with relatively tight sleeves and button closures, though it was more commonly used to refer to a type of kosode-shaped garment. It usually has a short (half-width) collar and the sleeves are also short and narrow, so it cannot be seen under the other garments.

Before the juban, the kosode or hitoe were the common undergarments.


Kachie front

Kachie back


An over-robe based on the ketteki no hō worn worn by lower-level military officials and members of the imperial guards as their formal uniforms. It was made of hemp or linen and open at the sides, with a round standing collar. In the Heian period, the body was two panels wide, as were the sleeves. The back was cut short to make movement easier. In the Kamakura period, the body and sleeves were changed to single-panel widths, making the garment more closely resemble a kariginu but with shorter sleeves.

The color of the kachie was ai (purplish blue) or hanada (pale blue), though some sources also cite kurenai (red-orange).
Members of the imperial guard wore them with large round crests block printed in black on the chest and loins, at the center of both sides of the sleeves, and at the middle back and buttocks. Guards of the left had a lion (shishi) and those of the right had a bear (kuma).




Kariginu (狩衣)


The name of this garment literally means “hunting robe.” Due to its similarity to the kuraiō (lit. “gown of rank,” i.e., the ketteki no hō), it was also sometimes punningly called a kariō (“hunting gown”).

It has a standing, round collar that fastens closed at the right side of the neck with a frog. The body is one panel wide, and thus must be left unsewn at both right and left sides to be worn. The huge sleeves are only attached at the upper back for the space of a few inches. The wide sleeves have a running cord to allow them to be gathered in at the wrist, but it was not generally so worn.

When worn, the back of the kariginu hangs straight down, while the front is pulled up and allowed to blouse out over the abdomen, resulting in the front hem being about knee length while the back reaches the ankle. It is held to the body by a self-belt (called “ate obi”) made of the same fabric as the body. For convenience in walking around, the back can be pulled up and tucked into the ate obi, a fashion called oshi-ori.

The kariginu was one of the least formal garments worn by Heian kuge, typically when on the road, hunting, or going outdoors or on an assignation. It was also worn by the upper strata of the warrior class as formal court wear during the Kamakura period. It was not allowed to be worn at court functions, although those with permission could wear when visiting the palace informally.

There were basically two kinds of kariginu-style garments—patterned and unpatterned—and the rank of the wearer determined the type to be worn. The unpatterned type were called hōi, while the patterned ones were properly called kariginu. Men of dainagon rank and above, ministers, etc., wore the kariginu. Others wore the hōi. Other then the fabric, the garments were functionally identical. Those of the tenjōbito (i.e., fourth and fifth court ranks) and above were often lined (at least in non-summer garments) while hōi worn by jige (the other folks) were always unlined.

The pattern and fabric were up to the tastes of the wearer, subject, of course, to appropriate social levels. The lined fabric followed the appropriate kasane no irome rules. Additionally, there was a tradition that the pattern of fabric would follow the irome name; for example, the sakura kasane might be sakura tatewaku, the yamabuki kasane might be yamabuki tatewaku, and the matsu kasane might be either matsu tatewaku or matsubishi, etc.

Sakura kasane

Sakura kasane

Sakura tatewaku

Sakura tatewaku

Yamabuki kasane

Yamabuki kasane

Yamabuki Tatewaku

Yamabuki Tatewaku

Matsu kasane

Matsu kasane

Matsu Tatewaku

Matsu Tatewaku



Though rather simple, it may still be helpful to have a pattern and cutting diagram. It also includes the suikan and konōshi, which are of similar construction. Note that the kariginu uses a tonbo-musubi closure, while the suikan has loose cords that tie together.

Kariginu Suikan (狩衣水干)

This is a kariginu made with sleeve end-panels and collar in a resplendently different pattern or colored fabric from the rest of the garment, and worn by bushi on guard duty at the court from the late Heian era. Compare to the furyū suikan.

Kataginu (肩衣)

Essentially, this garment was created as a suō without sleeves, made to allow more freedom of movement. It first appeared in the late Muromachi/early Momoyama period. It became quickly popular among the warrior classes. They were typically not made of silk, but for many bushi they came to be made of matching fabric with hakama, whether of silk or not.

Sengoku bushi used the kataginu as their usual dress wear. It was also called “tenashi” (literally “armless”).

According to Takada Shizuo, respectable samurai didn’t go out in public with only kosode and hakama in the Momoyama period; they wore a kataginu or dōbuku as well.

The front of the kataginu is worn right layered over left, like a kosode. Originally, the front was flat, but a crease in each panel to allow more freedom of movement led to the development in the Edo period of a kataginu with a “narrower” panel size. This would result in a narrow panel with multifolded shoulder wings, sometimes reinforced with bamboo stays, which is the pattern of kataginu most commonly seen in samurai dramas of that period.

Simple in shape, a pattern is nonetheless available, along with the other hitatare-type garments.

Ketteki no hō (闕腋袍)



This is the topmost layer worn by guard and other military officials of fourth court rank and below when wearing sokutai. (Those of third rank and above instead wear the hōeki no hō version of the sokutai). It is of generally kariginu form (although the body is double-width, while the kariginu is one panel wide), with a standing round collar and large sleeves only partially attached to the open-sided body. It was also called “kuraiō” (“gown of rank”).

It was worn by lower-level military or officials and members of the imperial guards as their sokutai.

Since the ketteki no hō was at least nominally an outfit that could be worn for combat, freedom of movement was a consideration, so it was open along the sides rather than sewn closed as the hōeki no hō was, and had no ran (the hem-wrapping horizontal panel along the bottom). For this reason, it was also sometimes called the wakiake no koromo (literally “open-sided garment”).

At the crown prince’s genpuku ceremony, he wore a ketteki no hō, but afterward the crown prince wore a hōeki no hō. The color and pattern vary with the rank and function of the wearer in like manner to the hōeki no hō.

 The pattern for the ketteki no hō is simpler than that of the hōeki no hō.

 For a chart showing the prescribed colors of ketteki no hō, click here.




This is the nickname of suikan worn by imperial guardsmen (efu) and police officials. The name is derived from the kikutoji on the garments. These flat disks are made from wrapping a thread around a small form multiple times, tying it in the middle, and cutting through the loops.

Konōshi (小直衣)

The name of this over-robe literally means “small nōshi.”

This odd garment seems to be a combination of the kariginu (one panel-wide body, open entirely on the sides, sleeves only attached at the back of the shoulders) and the nōshi (full length, with a wide ran running along the hem). Since it has a ran, it is also called “uran no kariginu” (“kariginu with a ran”).

It appeared toward the end of the Heian period as leisure wear for the kuge, and flourished especially during the Muromachi period. It was less formal than a nōshi, but more formal than a kariginu. It was not worn at court.

The Emperor would seldom wear it prior to the Edo period, but there are records afterwards of an Emperor doing so.

Its body is longer than the kariginu. This is required, as the front and rear hems have to be level to fit with the ran and to allow the blouse at the waist. What this means is that when it is laid flat, the body projects up above the sleeves and the neck opening is actually at the back.

In terms of fabric styles and patterns, the specifications of the konōshi are identical to those of the kariginu.

Kosode (小袖)

The kosode was first worn as underwear by Heian kuge, who wore them under their nightclothes. This kosode was of the tsubosode variety—that is, the sleeves are straight “tubes” rather than sculptured or shaped sleeves, or were sharply tapered and cut rather close to the arm.

Kosode were commonly worn as uchigi (as well as underwear) by buke during the Kamakura era, at which time they became legitimate garments in their own right and became more dressy and full, with less sculpted sleeves. When the kosode became outer wear, the juban (or hadajūban) developed as replacement underwear robes.

The undergarment kosode of Heian and Kamakura was invariably white; Muromachi and Momoyama versions were patterned.

In the Heian period, commoners wore a kimono-like garment which also started to be called kosode since the sleeves were small. These kosode were only slightly different garments than the Heian nobility’s underwear.

An important point that must be made is that kosode (literally “little sleeve”) weren’t just so called because the sleeve was small; they were given the name because the sleeve opening was small (especially when compared to other garments of the period, which were often termed ōsode, or “large sleeves”).

Though he have no pattern, here, please check out Kosode Made Simple by Lisa Joseph. Her website is an excellent resource for re-enactors.


This is a type of hakama that has ties at the hem of each leg to allow it to be secured to the leg. Sashinuki are therefore, by definition, a type of kukuri-bakama.

Most times when the term “kukuri-bakama” is used, however, it refers to just a short or ankle-length hakama of indeterminate bulk (typically two panels per leg) that are worn by lower classes and menials such as hakuchō and zōshikinin. For such folk, the kukuri-bakama are of simple make, and hemp or linen cloth (although silk is not out of the question).



The kyūtai was an overgarment worn by elite Buddhist priests. It was worn by retired emperors, imperial princes, and high officials of the rank of sangi (advisor) and above who’d entered into orders; high priests; abbots; and holy men of similar high rank. It was to the monastic and lay clergy what the nōshi was to the secular man. It appeared in the early Kamakura period.

Structurally, it is very similar to the soken (from which it probably developed), but is more formal and less relaxed than that garment.

It has large, open sleeves, and is floor length, with an overlapping front panel. Laid flat, the body looks like a large “kimono,” but the bottom terminates in a skirt of sorts which is heavily pleated on the left and right side, and flat at front and back. Also, the open, v-neck collar is extraordinarily wide and full, so that when it is worn it actually stands up behind the head of the wearer. This is its distinguishing feature. The skirt is attached to the body by a horizontal band of cloth. This band also joins the front and back of the garment, as it is unsewn up the entire left and right side.

The cloth was invariably silk, often an elaborate brocade, and was lined. It was a sumptuous garment.

The kyūtai was belted into place with a narrow sash.

Motsuke Koromo


This mouthful of a name refers to an overrobe—which might also be called a —worn by common Buddhist clergy from the late Heian period. It is similar in many ways to the jikitotsu, which it closely resembles. In fact, this may well be just another name for the jikitotsu or a variant of the same, so similar are the garments.

The garment is a two-width upper body with broad, open sleeves. The sleeves are only attached to the body as far as the waist but are a bit longer so they hang over. About buttock-level, the garment develops a “ran,” a wide skirt reaching the knees, which alternates between straight sections and pleated sections, allowing for considerable freedom of movement. This is convenient, as it was often worn on the road.

It was hempen or linen, and usually black or a shade of gray. The fabric is often sheer enough to see the garments worn underneath.

Nagabakama (長袴)

This was the term for the Edo-period hakama which were twice normal length. One walked in them and allowed them t乎trail behind, forming twin trains. They became the de-facto style for the official court uniforms of the warrior government in Edo, used with both the kataginu and daimon sugata.

The trick with walking in them is to hold the front end of the side vent with each hand, and as one lifts the right foot, one pulls up slightly on this vent to give the little bit of play needed to allow freedom of movement, then one does the same with the left leg, then the right. It is a practiced move, but one that rapidly becomes natural.

Nōshi (直衣)

Front of a blue, patterned, unlined summer nōshi.

Back of a lined, winter nōshi. In this case the outer fabric is a white gauze fabric which allows the color of the lining to show through.

This garment is structurally virtually identical in cut, look, and proportion to the hōeki no hō, with which it shares a common ancestry. The one difference was that the hakoe (the “pocket” at the back) is worn folded out rather than in, and on either side is a tie to hold the garment closed, so you don't need the belts of the formal sokutai. It is a garment of the kuge class.

The nōshi was the principal garment in several different outfits of varying formality, but ultimately the nōshi was an informal garment, and was usually worn at home and when visiting by kuge and only by special permission were men of certain rank allowed to wear the nōshi at the Imperial palace.

Unlike the formal hoeki no hō, the color and pattern of the nōshi was not set by rank. Rather, the wearer could wear what he liked (and could afford). For this reason, the nōshi was also called “zappō” or “various [colored] coat.”

Like  in general, there are two variations: for winter, and for summer. The summer garment was typically single layer, while the winter one was lined. With a lined garment, one could use a colored lining and a sheer white outer layer, allowing the lining to show through in the main body panels. When making one according to the pattern, it is important to pay attention to how the sleeve ends turn in, as they should be made of the same fabric on the immediate inside as the rest of the outside of the garment.

Ōguchi (大口)

This is a type of hakama that is worn as part of the sokutai under the uenohakama. It is always red and is unlined. It is, in effect, an overly wide shitabakama.

Unlike most hakama, it isn’t pleated, but still has a wide hem, hence its name, which literally means “large mouth.”

Also unlike conventional hakama, the ties are not pared front and back; rather, there is but one long waist tie, and the front is permanently attached to the back at the left side with the open end being the right side, where the excess of the waist ties is located. The ties wrap around the body and are tied closed at the left side, with the remainder of the ties thrust into the pant leg. This is the opposite of the uenohakama, which is tied on the right.

The ōguchi is a bulkier version of the shitabakama.

Ōkatabira (大帷子)

The ōkatabira one of the garments making up the sokutai, but is primarily worn in summer under the hitoe. It functions as an undershirt of sorts, and its purpose is to wick away perspiration (hence its other name, “asetori no katabira,” or “sweat-taking garment”). It may also be worn in winter, however. It is also worn under nōshi in the summertime.

The body of the ōkatabira is white for winter and momiji (dark orange/red, like maple leaves) for summer. The sleeve-ends and collar are the same pattern as the hitoe, while the rest of the garment is plain. It is unlined.

The Edo-period version of the ōkatabira had the entire sleeves done in the contrasting fabric instead of only the sleeve ends, and the sleeves were only one panel wide. The Edo version also did away with the overlapping collar, rendering it a more conventional “kimono-style” collar.


This is a variation of hakama. The sashiko is actually a hakama made with the same fabric/pattern as used in sashinuki, but instead of being extra long and tying shut at the ankle as with sashinuki, the sashiko terminates at the ankle like a regular set of hakama. This was by definition leisure at-home type wear for court nobles and others affecting the lifestyle of nobility. It was worn by upper-class bushi as well, and flourished in the Edo period. It was also called kiri- (cut) bakama.

Sashinuki (指貫)

Sashinuki are a type of hakama that are meant to be worn blousing over the leg and exposing the foot. To accomplish this, they are one and a half to two times the length of normal hakama (depending on the actual type of sashinuki). To allow for the body required, more formal sashinuki were six-panel hakama rather than the more low-class four-panels.

Technically, this cord around the ankle makes sashinuki a type of kukuri- (tied) bakama.

The earliest form of sashinuki (represented by the top left photo) were cut like normal hakama (albeit a bit longer) and have a cord running through the hem of each leg. These cords were pulled tight and tied off at the ankle. The cords were then braided together in a daisy-chain fashion, to keep them from trailing behind the wearer. This was the form commonly worn during the Heian period.

Sashinuki were worn by court nobles with various types of leisure or semi-formal wear.

By the Muromachi period, to make wearing them simpler, the bottom tapered in slightly and sometimes even had a tube of fabric at the hem setting the maximum diameter of the opening and securing the pleats so they wouldn’t open. The cord traveled through this hem-tube and tied off at the ankle. Another development allowed for longer sashinuki, of this similar cut, which was tied off just under the knee allowing the blousing to fall down and reach the ground. This version, perhaps a bit cooler, was not very formal.

Another variation (depicted at right), which developed around the early Edo period, is the form met with most often today where sashinuki are worn for formal court or Shintō ceremonies. For this version, the hem is tapered and fixed like the Muromachi models, but a long triangular panel of cloth extends at the front and back of each leg up the inside of the leg. These panels terminate in thin cords or strips which are fed through loops inside the sashinuki at the waist and tied off, so that the hem actually “floats” free of the ankle but still allows a blousing out of the garment.

Sashikari is the name of a type of sashinuki used in Buddhist regalia.

Early sashinuki, and formal ones (like older, formal hakama) were almost invariably lined.

Shitabakama (下袴)

This is also called “shita no hakama,” and is a light-weight, unlined, and generally unpleated hakama worn under other hakama (especially sashinuki and other more formal garments) as a sort of underwear. It keeps perspiration from the more expensive or more showy fabric of the hakama. The ōguchi, worn under the uenohakama, is one example. Shitabakama were commonly worn up through the Edo period.

Generally, they were of plain silk, although at times they might also be a brocade. Summer weight models were plain silk. Shitabakama were either kurenai (red-orange), yellow, or white, although traditionally those worn by the elderly were always white.

Shitagasane (下重)

 The shitagasane is an garment worn on the upper body under the hoeki no hō and the ketteki no hō. It was cut to the same pattern as the men’s hitoe, except for one difference: the back was long, with a long, trailing train whose length was set by sumptuary regulations—the actual length was determined by the wearer’s rank. It was worn under the hanpi, and over the hitoe.

The color of the shitagasane and the color of its lining were also set by these same regulations. This train was called a kyo (lit. “tail”), and sometimes the kyo was made separate from the shitagasane (which then would be identical in cut, but not color or fabric, with the hitoe). The separate kyo, shown at right, would then be fastened to the waist by its built-in waist tie.

In the Muromachi period, for simplicity the shitagasane came to be made of one piece with the hitoe and katabira for wear with a sokutai, although it still appeared as if it was one of three separate layers.

As mentioned, the shitagasane uses the same basic pattern as the hitoe, but with the the attached kyo added in. For most purposes, a separate kyo is generally simpler.

For a chart showing the prescribed colors and fabrics of the shitagasane, and the official lengths for the kyoclick here.


The soken is an overgarment worn by Buddhist priests. Structurally, it is very similar to the kyūtai, which probably developed from this, but is far less formal than that garment. It appeared in the middle Heian period in the time of Emperor Murakami (r. 946–967). It was considered the Japanese Buddhist garment (rather than ones based directly on existing Chinese models).

It was originally made of undyed or white, unpatterned silk (which is what the name means), and unlined. Later, it came to be made in all shades of gray or black, judging from the iconographic evidence.

It has large, open sleeves, and is long, with an overlapping front panel. Laid flat, the body of the garment looks like a large “kimono,” but the bottom terminates in a skirt of sorts which is heavily pleated on the left and right sides but has a flat front and back. The skirt is attached to the body by a horizontal band of cloth. This band also joins the front and back of the garment, as it is unsewn up the entire left and right sides.

Two forms of soken ultimately emerged. The original, which was one and a half times the length of the wearer’s body, came to be called the naga- (long) soken, while a shorter, floor-length version was called just soken (although some called it tan- [short] soken, or kiri- [cut] soken). The nagasoken is shown here. The shorter variety had exactly the same measurements for the sleeves and skirt section, but the trunk section was just shorter.

Some sources refer to a han-(half) soken, as well. It is not clear whether this is another name for the shorter soken, or a yet shorter variety. The latter is probably the case, as in the illustrations of people wearing the so-called hansoken, the garment is hardly more than knee length. This is the garment typically worn in black by sōhei—warrior monks—in the late Heian and early Kamakura periods.

In the Muromachi period, families of hereditary Shintō priests also started wearing soken with sashinuki.

Suikan (水干)

This is an upper-body garment whose name is derived from the fabric having been soaked in water (sui) and spread out on a frame to dry (kan). It is similar in cut to the kariginu and hōi (i.e., having a standing collar, open sides, a one panel-wide body, sleeves only marginally attached at the shoulder blades). The fastening is different. Instead of a frog fastening at the collar as with a kariginu, two long round cords (one from the center back of the collar, one from the end of the front collar) are provided. The cords can be tied at the neck, or the garment can be worn with an open collar and the cords tied at the chest to keep everything together.

The suikan is shorter than the kariginu and hōi, and is worn inside the hakama. When worn outside the hakama it is left unbelted and the style is called ōi suikan, and provides a very informal appearance. It is usually worn with an eboshi.

Suikan were worn by lower-ranking officials and bushi in attendance on kuge. According to the Azuma Kagami, retainers of courtiers above the fifth-rank wore suikan, and those of the sixth and below wore hitatare.

The garment has pairs of kikutoji placed in five locations: center chest on the seam, at the shoulder seam with each sleeve, and the center seam at the back of each sleeve. In late Heian, the fabric could have been solid colors, shiborizome (a type of tie-dying), stenciled with repeating patterns, etc.

As the influence of the bushi rose, the popularity of this garment grew, as well. When in the Kamakura period the kariginu became the dress of the upper-class bushi, the suikan became the formal court dress of the middle-class bushi. When it became so, the depth of the sleeve was made greater, and kikutoji came to be commonly applied to them in the same manner as those worn earlier by guard officials on their suikan. Instead of just using hemp or linen, makers used more impressive and expensive cloth, including brocades and prints.

The addition in late Heian of the suikan no hakama—a new garment—became the standard dress with the suikan, creating an outfit called “suikan kamishimo.” To the end of the Heian period, warriors in attendance on the court and on kuge typically wore suikan under their armor, but with the large size of the sleeves it wasn’t always a very convenient style; for that reason, the suikan became the ceremonial wear of Kamakura samurai, while they wore hitatare under their armor instead.

When kuge wore suikan, they invariably wore them with the collar tied shut, unlike buke who often wore the collar open in the manner of their more familiar hitatare. The practice of tying the collar “open” became popular in the Kamakura period, and it was called chōken no hitatare. At the end of Muromachi, it was virtually the formal costume of a young buke.

The actual color and fabric were a matter of the taste of the wearer. It might be dyed with a tye-dying process similar to shibori, which was not acceptable for court clothing. The pattern is similar to that of a kariginu.

Suikan no Hakama (水干の袴)

This type of hakama developed early in the Kamakura period to be worn with the suikan. Like that garment, it had kikutoji at easily-torn locations (specifically the tops of the side seams at the base of the folded-out section) as well as other places.

The fabric was of a different color or pattern than the suikan. It was often dyed in a style called susogu, in which the bottom was a deep color fading to white or off-white at the top. Since hakama for suikan were almost always made from linen made from the kudzu plant, they were also called kuzubakama.

Unlike the four-panel hakama worn with the older style suikan, the suikan no hakama was made with six panels (three per leg) as those worn with a kariginu for a more full silhouette. In structure, it was often made like sashinuki, to be tied closed at the ankle or knee.

Like other early hakama, the suikan no hakama was usually lined.

Suō (素襖)

Like the daimon, the suō derives from the hitatare in the Kamakura period, with its cut being identical to that of the latter two garments. What sets it apart are several items. First, the suō replaces the kikutoji and munahimo with painted leather kotsuyu, with a matching munahimo (chest cord), which gives it the alternate name of kawao no hitatare (leather cord hitatare). It is also unlined cloth, so it is sometimes called 1 layer hitatare or nunohitatare. The hakama worn with suō (sometimes called suōbakama) fewer panels than normal, producing a slimmer effect.

The suō is made with hemp fabric. The fabric can be plain or patterned, and it can also be katamigawari. When the suō is worn with matching suōbakama, the ties on the hakama are made of matching fabric as well, rather than the standard white ties.


This form of hakama, also called “Iga-bakama,” is identical to conventional hakama except for one thing. The legs terminate in tubes which are tied tightly around the calves. The main leg section of the hakama, which was allowed to hang freely, would come to the mid-calf or lower; the tied section raises this up and allows the legs to blouse out.

The bottom section is similar to kyahan, and essentially the garment is a set of kyahan grafted to a slightly shortened hakama. A pair of straps on each calf section, one just under the knee and one at the ankle, secure these in place.

They are very convenient for walking around and were quite comfortable and especially popular among military people or those on pilgrimages. They appeared, it seems, during the latter half of the sixteenth century.

Uchiki (袿)

The uchiki refers to a foundation garment, used between the undergarments and the over robe, often in multiple layers, especially in the colder months. The actual garment that was referred to changed over time. Initially it referred to the akome, but later the kosode came to be used in outfits like the hitatare sugata.

Uenohakama (表袴)

This is the most formal of hakama, worn as part of the sokutai (under both the ketteki no hō and hōeki no hō). The name means “over pants” and can also be read “Ue no hakama.” It is also called “uwabakama.”

It is always white (its other name being “shirobakama,” or “white hakama”), and always lined in unpatterned kurenai silk. The lining always shows around the edges of the ties, and at the hems.

Unlike conventional hakama, the ties are not pared front and back; rather, there is but one long waist tie, and the front is permanently attached to the back at the right and left sides, as the actual opening is up the front, which is covered by the joining “fly.” The waist tie overlaps at the front, and is tied closed at the right side, with the excess of the waist ties thrust into the pant leg. This is the opposite of the ōguchi, which is worn under this garment.

The uenohakama is totally open along the crotch; in fact, it is almost two separate garments—a left leg and a right leg—joined at the center back. There is a long, solid panel that runs up between the legs. Each leg is two widths of cloth, making this a four-panel hakama.

The standard pattern for the imperial family, kugyō, and others with permission to wear “forbidden colors” is ka ni arare. The actual motif inside the “ka” (the island, so to speak) varied. Sometimes it was a karahanamukaichōkiku, etc. Those below the rank of tenjōbito wear unpatterned white uenohakama when the occasion arises to wear them.

Yoroi Hitatare (鎧直垂)

This is a hitatare and hakama in matching fabric made for wear under armor by samurai from the end of the Heian period. While samurai in service to the court and kuge wore suikan under their armor in the Heian period, other samurai wore their day-clothes—the hitatare. This more comfortable garment quickly became the garment of choice under armor, and the sleeves were made shorter and narrower (more along the pattern of the earlier form of hitatare worn by commoners and the kuge as nightdress), but the decoration and dress was typically ostentatious.

 Color, fabric, and decoration were typically following the taste and pocket of the owner, although in the early Kamakura period silk was generally the prerogative of generals.

 Incidentally, an entry for this garment in the sixteenth-century Portuguese dictionary of the Japanese language indicate that this was, during the Sengoku period, pronounced “yoroi-bitatare.”


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