= Men’s Outfits =

by Anthony J. Bryant and Joshua L. Badgley

In this section, we 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 preceding chapters. For ease of use, many links have been added to take you back to the relevant sections. Where we have not yet flushed out a section, but we at least have photos of the item in question, those will be linked as well.

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 kariginu
Accessories Waraji, small tate eboshi

Bukan sokutai (ketteki no sokutai) sugata

This is the formal court wear (sokutai) 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 hō. Beyond that it was the same garments as otherwise described by sokutai sugata, with the following specifics. First, the kanmuri has a ken'ei (a wrapped tail) and oikake (lacquered horsehair "blinders" that sit on the cords of the kanmuri). The shoes are lacquered leather kanokutsu (a riding boot). Since this is a military outfit, a sword (hosotachi) is worn off the hirao, while a bow (yumi) is held in the hands. A quiver--either a hira yanagui (square quiver) or tsubo yanagui (a round quiver). In the quiver are arrows with two large hawk feather fletchings. For a hira yanagui, one has 15 or 22 arrows, depending on the school (Takakura Ryū or Yamashina Ryū), though only 7 arrows for a more restrictive tsubo yanagui.

It should be noted that although the hanpi may sometimes be dispensed with when wearing bunkan sokutai, it can never be left off when wearing bukan sokutai, since it can always be seen through the open sides.

Bukan sokutai from the Kyoto Costume Museum

Parts of the bukan sokutai:

Garments Shitōzu, (kosode), ōguchi, (ōkatabira), hitoe, akome, uenohakama, shitagasane, hanpi, ketteki no hō.
Accessories Kanokutsu, sekitai, (gyotai), hiraō, tatō, hiogi, shaku, hoso tachi, hirayanagui, yumi, kanmuri.

Bunkan sokutai (hōeki no sokutai) sugata

This is the formal court wear (or sokutai) of the civil official (which is the meaning of “bunkan”). It was worn by all men holding civil government appointments and all governmental officials (civilian and military) above the fourth court rank. In many cases, this was the outfit worn by the sovereign as well.

The principal garment is the hōeki no hō. Beyond that, the specifics include the following. The kanmuri has a suiei (a hanging tail), and the shoes are typically asagutsu, although there is also evidence of kanokutsu being used with this outfit. Fancy swords (kazaritachi) could be worn by military officials, nagon (counselors), sangi (advisors), and those with permission from the Nakatsukasasho (Ministry of Central Affairs). In addition to all of that, the hanpi may sometimes be dispensed with when wearing the bunkan sokutai; during the winter, the hanpi and the other underlayers cannot be seen, since the hōeki no hō is lined. In the summer, however, it would be visible (though it is black, so it may not show in most instances).

Bunkan sokutai, from the Kyoto Costume Museum

Parts of the bunkan sokutai:

Garments Shitōzu, (kosode), ōguchi, (ōkatabira), hitoe, akome, uenohakama, shitagasane, (hanpi), hōeki no hō
Accessories Asagutsu, sekitai, (gyotai), hiraō, tatō, hiogi, shaku, kazari tachi, kanmuri

Dōbuku sugata

As a liesure-wear garment, there is no single standard for what constitutes a dōbuku sugata. At home, one might even choose not to wear hakama—in which case the dōbuku is worn over just the kosode. The only thing more informal than this is wearing a kosode only.

During the Muromachi-Momoyama periods, dōbuku were frequently seen worn on the streets by everyone from merchants to samurai. Even some of the court nobles wore dōbuku at home during this period—albeit those of a particularly sumptuous and gaudy nature.

It makes little difference whether the dōbuku had sleeves or not, although samurai often preferred a sleeveless dōbuku with a slit up the back—a garment that looks little different from a jinbaori in cut.

Parts of the dōbuku sugata:

Garments Juban, kosodé, (shitabakama), hakama, dōbuku.
Accessories Waraji, tabi, eboshi, fan, (bladed weapon) .

Hakuchō 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 hakuchō as well. The outfit was completed by waraji and a black tate eboshi. The tate eboshi worn by hakuchō was shorter than those worn by the nobles, and of less imposing fabric.

No weapons are worn with this outfit.

Parts of the hakuchō sugata:

Garments kosode, (hitoe), white kukuri-bakama, hakuchō kariginu
Accessories Waraji, small tate eboshi

Hitatare (kamishimo) sugata

Momonoi Naoki, Muromachi Period, from the Tokyo National Museum

As the name would suggest, this outfit is based on the hitatare and it saw its fair share of evolution, over time. Before it became an item worn regularly by men of status, it seems to have been the everyday outfit for many. Originally the sleeves and legs of the hakama were both narrow, likely to conserve fabric among regular people. As time went on, and as the outfit became more accepted by the social elite, it underwent a change, gaining much wider sleeves and more panels to the hakama.

Hitatare kamishimo, 19th century, Tokyo National Museum

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). In these instances, 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, replacing the suikan sugata.

Military men would typically wear at least a tantō if not full-sized swords with this outfit, while court nobles often wore it unarmed. It should be noted that it wasn’t until the Edo period that rules on the number and type of swords that people could wear were put in place.

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)

Hōgo sugata

Also called hōko sugata. This is a semi-formal outfit. It was worn when not participating in official functions, and is slightly ahead of the ikan sugata in terms of formality. As it uses the hōeki no hō as its principal garment, it is subject to the color sumptuary restrictions.

The name literally means "cloth hakama," in deference to the use of shitabakama and sashinuki instead of the more formal silk uenohakama. Otherwise, the garments under the are the same as for the sokutai sugata. In fact, this outfit technically fits the definition of sokutai as it uses the sekitai belt.

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.

Hōgo sugata , from the  Kyoto Costume Museum

Hōgo sugata, from the Kyoto Costume Museum

Parts of the hōgo sugata:

Garments Shitōzu, (kosode), shitabakama, (ōkatabira), hitoe, akome, uenohakama, sashinuki, shitagasane, (hanpi), hōeki no hō
Accessories Asagutsu (or, sometimes, kanokutsu), sekitai, (gyotai), hiraō , tatō , hiogi, shaku, kazari tachi, kanmuri

Ikan sugata

This is semi-formal attire slightly below the hōgo sugata, and it does not fit the definition of sokutai. It uses the ikan no hō, which is almost identical to the hōeki no ho, and it replaces the formal uenohakama with more simple sashinuki (as does the hōgo sugata). It does away with the shitagasane and sekitai (parts of the formal sokutai sugata). Originally it was worn at home, but around the middle of the Heian period it became acceptable to wear at the palace. It is worn by both those who wear the ketteki and hōeki sokutai.

As the principal garment was only a slight variant of the hōeki no hō, the sumptuary regulations on which colors were appropriate to be worn were followed. In fact, this use of the term hōeki no hō is problematic, as although it is in fact the hōeki no hō, it is worn and made like a nōshi. 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 nōshi. The worn with the ikan sugata is, therefore, neither fish nor fowl; it is part hōeki no hō, and part nōshi (although in terms of cut, it is entirely a nōshi—but in terms of color, fabric, and pattern, it is a hōeki no hō).



One could add a hitoe to the layers under the ikan no hō, 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 tōbishi, hanabishi tōmon, 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 other garment worn with the ikan sugata (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 hiōgi with the more familiar modern vaned ōgi during the Muromachi period.

One usually would wear no sword or weapons with the ikan. Barefoot was also the standard with this outfit, but the elderly and infirm were permitted to wear shitōzu.

This outfit is also called “tonoiginu” or “tonoi sōzoku.”

Summer weight Ikan Sugata, from the Kyoto Costume Museum

Parts of the ikan sugata:

Garments (Shitōzu), (juban or kosode) shitabakama, (hitoe), akome, sashinuki or sashiko, ikan no hō
Accessories Asagutsu, tatō , hiogi, shaku, kanmuri

Jikitotsu sugata

This outfit, based on the jikitotsu, was 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.

Right two images from Kyoto Costume Museum

Parts of the jikitotsu sugata:

Garments kosode, kukuri-bakama, jikitotsu
Accessories Kyahan, kesa, kasa, waraji.

Kachie sugata

This is the uniform of the imperial guards when on duty. The outfit is so named due to the kachie being the principal garment. The outfit may look, superficially, like the bukan sokutai, but there are crucial differences. Although the kanmuri sports oikake, the tail is a thin one called a hoso’ei. Furthermore, the shitagasane and accompanying kyo, as well as the akomé are left off. Rather than the formal uenohakama, this outfit uses the more practical ōnohakama. The shoes are either cloth/hemp shoes, such as the makai, or straw shoes or boots (waragutsu). The sword worn is often a kenukigata tachi, or else a tachi in black mounts, and they are also likely to have a bow, quiver, and arrows.

Kachie sugata , from the  Kyoto Costume Museum .

Kachie sugata, from the Kyoto Costume Museum.

Parts of the kachie sugata:

Garments (kosode ) hitoe, ōnohakama, hanpi, kachie
Accessories Waraji / makai / waragutsu, ōgi, tachi, tsuboyanagui, yumi, hosoei kanmuri (with oikake), ichibihabaki, shiraobi

Kariginu sugata

The sashinuki was traditionally worn with the kariginu until the early Edo period, when the suiko or ōnohakama came to be worn instead. From Muromachi, the hiōgi was replaced with the bonbori-style fan. The hitoe is dispensable, and might be worn or not as the wearer chooses.

Retired emperors can wear tate eboshi or kazaori eboshi as their whims dictate. Those allowed into the palace (tenjōbito) wear tate eboshi, and jige wear 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.”

Right two photos from Kyoto Costume Museum

Parts of the kariginu sugata:

Garments (kosode), shitabakama, (hitoe), koromo (aka uchigi or akome), sashinuki, kariginu.
Accessories Asagutsu, hiogi, tatō, shitōzu, eboshi, shaku, self-belt (ate obi)

Karisōzoku 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 karisōsoku sugata.

Parts of the karisōzoku sugata:

Garments Juban, kosode, hakama, suikan or hitatare, mukabaki
Accessories (Tabi), kutsu, tachi, ebira, yumi, kasa, yugake, igote

Kannōshi sugata

This is an informal outfit commonly worn by court nobles at home, when visiting, and when at leisurely pursuits. As the nōshi does not follow the sumptuary color regulations, the wearer is free (within the dictates of current fashion) to indulge his whims. With permission, this outfit may even be worn at the palace, although in that case one would usually wear the ikan sugata instead. The only functional difference between this and the ikan sugata is that instead of the ikan no hō, the over garment is in fact a nōshi.

Usually no weapons are carried or worn with this outfit.

Winter kannōshi sugata, from the Kyoto Costume Museum

Parts of the kannōshi sugata:

Garments Shitōzu, (kosode), shitabakama, hitoe, akome, sashinuki, (hanpi), nōshi
Accessories Asagutsu, tatō, ōgi, kanmuri

Kataginu kamishimo

An outfit made of a kataginu and hakama in matching fabric (color, pattern, etc.). Unlike with hitataré kamishimo sugata, the hakama’s waist ties are of the same fabric and color as the hakama. Due to the popularity of this garment during the Edo period, where a version of it with the later style of kataginu became the working uniform for most samurai, when one says “kamishimo,” this is usually the outfit that is referred to.

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 (an item entirely different from the women's garment of the same name) were commonly worn on more formal occasions, while conventional hakama might be worn in less formal circumstances.

In the Muromachi-Momoyama periods, the regular kataginu sugata (without matching top and bottom) and the kataginu kamishimo sugata 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.

In the Sengoku and into the early Edo 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) (wakizashi), ōgi, (ori eboshi)

Kyūtai sugata

This is the outfit of high-ranking members of society (retired emperors, princes, and officials of the rank of sangi and above) who took Buddhist vows in some sects. The kyūtai itself came about in the late Heian and early Kamakura period, and was a mark of elite status. Originally, the hōfuku was the priestly equivalent to the secular sokutai, while the kyūtai is the Buddhist priest's equivalent of the layman's dōfuku. The outside is patterned, but the lining is white, as are the associated layers beneath. It appears to have been used in the winter months or during cool weather.

The primary feature that distinguishes this from the soken sugata is the particularly wide collar, which is left standing, giving it the alternate name of sōgōeri.

The outfit was defined in a document from 1396 as follows: Kyūtai (in the winter), long ["stretched"] white hitoe (paulownia pattern), long ōkatabira, sashikari [sashinuki for Buddhist clergy], perfumed kesa (same textile, with Chinese flower patterns of paulownia), plain white obi, perfumed ōgi [fan], and nenjū (for prayer)". The "long" garments refer to floor length garments, rather than the shorter versions used with such things as uenohakama and the sokutai sugata.

Right two images from Kyoto Costume Museum.

Parts of the kyūtai sugata:

Garments Kosode, shitabakama, hitoe, akome, ōkatabira, sashinuki or sashigari, kyūtai.
Accessories Gojō 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 specifics about the garments. Those interested should look into the specific sect in question and see if they had any particular ritual implements, clothing, material, 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.

Right two images from Kyoto Costume Museum

Parts of the motsuke koromo sugata:

Garments kosode, kukuri-bakama, motsuke koromo.
Accessories Kyahan, kesa, kasa, waraji, self-belt.

Nōshi sugata

This is the informal outfit commonly worn by court nobles at home, when visiting, and when at leisurely pursuits. As the nōshi 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 kannōshi sugata or the ikan sugata instead (the primary difference being the headdress).

As a leisure outfit of the nobility, no weapons are carried or worn with it.

Photos from the Kyoto Costume Museum/.

Parts of the nōshi sugata:

Garments kosode, shitabakama, hitoe, akome, sashinuki, nōshi.
Accessories Asagutsu, tatō, 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 sugata of the Heian period and beyond. As in Tang dynasty China, there was a mix of traditional Han Chinese and foreign Persian style clothing in use at court.

Raifuku for the earliest period was similar to that of the Han Chinese court. Chinese court clothing was originally adopted, according to the Nihon Shōki, during the reign of Suikō Tennō. Under the reign of Temmu Tennō the raifuku was reserved for the imperial princes, dainagon, etc. (those of 5th rank and above). This original clothing had a crossover (tarikubi) collar, with large sleeves, underlayers, an early form of uenohakama and a skirt called an uwami. The shoes were the Chinese style "cloud shoes" (sekinokutsu). The court caps, jewelry, and other features were all varied based on the wearer's rank.

Meanwhile, the court clothing for those officials of 6th rank and below wore "every day" clothing: a with a round neck (marukubi), white hakama, hanpi, a leather belt, a cloth belt, kurokawa no kutsu, and a tōkin (a cloth predecessor to the later kanmuri and eboshi). This was simpler garb, favored as standard wear for most of the elite, and eventually it would take over as the formal wear for all ranks, with the exception of special occasions. This was the origin of the sokutai sugata that persisted from the Heian period to modern day, though it evolved from simply formal versions of daily wear into strictly ceremonial clothing.

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 Ryū wore the sekitai in one manner, while the Yamashina Ryū wore it in another). By the Edo period, the Takakura Ryū had become the recognized authority on methods of wear, while the Yamashina Ryū became the experts on historical aspects and significance.

Soken sugata

A priestly outfit (hōfuku) based around the soken. It came into fashion during the reign of Murakami Tennō, in the time of Ryōgen (10th century), chief abbot of Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei, a Tendai temple that played an important role in the spiritual and secular life of the capital. This was the outfit that the priests would use when performing state ceremonies. There were both long and short versions of the soken. This was considered the model of Japanese (vice Chinese) Buddhist garments, and other outfits, such as the kyūtai appear to have developed from it.

As a Buddhist outfit, it would not have been complete without the kesa. Sashinuki with shitabakama would have been worn over the underlayers. At its most basic that would have been a simple kosode.

In the Muromachi period, Shintō priests would often wear this with gold brocade and satin hakama when receiving visitors.

Right two images from the Kyoto Costume Museum.

Parts of the soken sugata:

Garments kosode, shitabakama, sashinuki, soken
Accessories Kesa, fan

Sokutai sugata

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 of formal court clothing 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. Originally just termed raifuku or chōfuku, eventually sokutai became the name for the official court clothing, worn by ministers and others with court rank when at the palace or performing official duties. These court outfits derive from Chinese court clothing that came across in the Nara period, but the middle-Heian and later outfits would hardly be recognizable, as the form of many of the various pieces changed in the Heian Period. Its name derives from the way the sekitai is “bunched up" in the back (soku).

The original court clothing, or raifuku, was inspired by the Chinese court and Han dress, and included large sleeves, crossing collars, etc. By the 2nd year of Yōō we see at least 6th rank and below officials in a Persian style, round-necked hō, as was popular on the continent, with the distinctive lacquered leather belt with stone or metal plaques. This belt was often long enough to encircle the user twice, and it became fashionable to have it bunched up in the back so that it formed an arc across the wearer’s lower back. There were distinctions between military and civilian officials’ clothing, as well as between the various ranks of princes and common nobility.

During the Heian period, the court clothing continued to change, becoming the sokutai we are familiar with, today. It was primarily divided into two similar but distinct outfits: the bukan sokutai for military officials of the fifth rank and below, and the bunkan sokutai for civilian and high ranking military officials. Both used round-necked as the principle outer garment, with the military’s outfit having open sides for ease of movement while the civilian garment was pleated at the sides. Those pleats later became the distinctive arisaki, or wings, on the sides of the hōeki no hō and related garments. Originally, these garments had relatively tight sleeves, and tōkin instead of kanmuri.

The official garments for the sokutai as we think of it today were recorded in the Heian codes known as the Engi Shiki, written in the 10th century. On the head is a kanmuri, and on the feet socks (shitōzu) are worn with shoes. The details of the kanmuri and the shoes varied between military and civilian outfits. Clothing the torso requires an akome, a shitagasane, a hanpi, and then the . On the legs, over everything below the train of the shitagasane, one wears the ōguchi and uenohakama. Around the waist are two belts: the hirao, a woven cloth belt which dangled in front, and the sekitai, the lacquered leather belt with stone plaques that gave the sokutai its name. Red and white papers, called tatō, are held in the breast of the , while a shaku is carried as a sign of office. Fancy swords (kazaritachi) are not worn except by military officials, nagon (counselors), sangi (advisors), and by those with permission from the Nakatsukasasho (Ministry of Central Affairs).

In addition to the prescribed clothing, there are also some optional items and some things that became de rigeur later on. For example, if it is cold, one might put on a kosode under everything else (which, in winter, would all have been lined, except the hitoe). There were also various linen garments that could be worn to help wick away sweat and protect the overrobes. One such was the katabira, and eventually the ōkatabira. Furthermore, one could wear multiple akome, which were the uchigi for men's outfits. There are other items that vary between the military and civilian dress, mostly having to do with their functions

As with any sokutai, those entitled to it would wear the gyotai on the right hip, indicating that they were granted access to the personal quarters of the palace, and marking them as tenjōbito.

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.

Only military officials wore swords with the sokutai, except for officials of the Central Affairs Ministry (Nakatsukasashō), and those bearing the office/rank of advisor and counselor (sangi and nagon) and above, or other members of the kugyō 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

This outfit was originally worn by retainers of court officials of the 5th rank or higher (as opposed to the hitatare. As the bushi, or warrior class, came to prominence, this outfit became even more popular.

Early examples of suikan sugata show it paired with a form of kukuri-bakama, but in the early Kamakura period a form of hakama made with the same kind of fabric as the suikan was developed. This was the suikan no hakama (also known as suikanbakama or kuzubakama, with the latter because it was often made with kudzu fabric). Usually the suikan was tucked into the hakama; wearing it outside and unbelted was known as ōisuikana sugata and created a more disheveled, care-free appearance. Likewise, one could wear the collar tied closed at the neck, or open, in the fashion of the tarikubi. The latter fashion was popular among the bushi, who were used to fashion such as the hitatare. It should also be noted that this is a helpful adaptation on extremely warm days, as well.

Those of the fifth court rank and above wore tate eboshi with the suikan; those below wore kazaori eboshi. Regular samurai might simply wear the samurai eboshi (aka ori 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 White katabira, white kosode or juban, suikan, kuzubakama or suikanbakama
Accessories Kutsu or obuto, tate eboshi or kazaori eboshi or samurai eboshi, hiogi

Zōshikinin sugata

Zōshikinin were servitors in the palaces of the uppermost aristocracy. Their outfits are virtually identical to those of the hakuchō (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 “zōshiki” literally means “random colors” so people wearing them were zōshikinin.

Both garments were made of the same fabric; namely, hemp or linen.

No weapons are worn with this outfit.

Parts of the zōshikinin sugata:

Garments kosode, (hitoe), kukuri-bakama, pastel zōshiki kariginu
Accessories Waraji, small tate eboshi


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