clothing yukata

Japanese Traditional Clothing

In recent years, the Japanese have become more accustomed to wearing western clothing. This is likely due to the convenience of western clothes and the global acceptance of western styles and fashions. However, the Japanese have a rich history of their own unique cultural fashion. Traditional Japanese clothing includes many different types; fundoshi, furisode, hakama, hanten, happi, jinbeit, gūnihitoe, kimono, obi (sashes), samue, sokutai, tomesode, uwagi, and yukata. These garments are made to suit the seasons in which they are worn. Clothing that has rustic hues and patterns, such as those that feature russet leaves, are preferred for autumn wear. However, floral designs, such as those that feature cherry blossoms, and more vibrant colors are more common during the spring time. For winter, people who are dressed in kimonos like to wear darker fabric and more layers. Sometimes, people may wear ten layers of clothing.

clothing hakama Hakama

One of the most popular garments of traditional Japanese clothing is the kimono, which is worn by both men and women. Unlike the kimono that is worn by women, men's kimonos are much simpler and usually include only five pieces, not counting footwear. A few inches of the sleeves are left unattached at the bottom of the sleeves.  The sleeves are also not nearly as deep as the sleeves of the women's kimonos.  This is to make room for the obi that goes around the man's waist directly underneath the sleeves.  On the woman's kimono, sleeves are able to hang on top of the obi and not interfere.

More recently, the main difference between men and women's kimonos is the material used.  Typically, men's kimonos are dark, subdued colors, like dark blue, black, brown, or green.  Usually, these are also matte fabrics with some having slight patterns.  Casual-styled ones are commonly textured and a little more brightly-colored, like light blue, green, or purple.  Occasionally, sumo wrestlers like to wear brighter colors, even fuchsia.  The formal kimono is colored plain black and it is made of silk and features shoulders, a chest, and a back with five Kamon.  Although, a kimono with three kamon is a little more formal.  These kimonos are worn with white accessories and undergarments.

Kimono Kimono

Another popular traditional Japanese garment is called a happi (happy coat).  A happi is a coat with straight sleeves that is normally made of brown or indigo cotton and features the imprint of a special mon (crest).  These were first family crests, owing to the fact that happis were the clothing of the house servants.  Eventually, happi started to use the crests for organizations and shops.  Happi were also popular attire for firemen.  These happi had symbols on the back that told people the groups to which the firemen belonged.  During Japan's Edo period, firemen were paid for being prompt and present.  This is why the happi were so important for them.

clothing happiHappi

Traditional Japanese clothing, both unique and beautiful, is still worn by many in modern society.