Have You Ever Worn Hakama?

Hakama are traditional Japanese pleated pants worn over kimono or under a tunic or surcoat.

Samurai in Hakama

Traditionally, only men wore hakama, though in the modern era people of either gender can wear them. Hakama aren’t exactly “pants,” because only one of the two varieties of hakama has divided legs (the other essentially resembles a pleated skirt). Still, “pants” provides the closest accurate analogue in terms of Western styles and sensibilities.

In medieval Japan, hakama were made of silk or cotton, usually solid-colored though sometimes with a pattern (often stripes). Striped hakama were usually worn with more formal kimono, though hakama could also be worn with a surcoat rather than a full-length robe.

Samurai wore special hakama for audiences with the Shogun. Although the pleated pants once formed a standard part of the samurai’s daily wardrobe, in modern times hakama are mostly worn on formal occasions.

Have you ever worn (or seen someone wearing) hakama? Would you wear them if the opportunity presented itself?

4 thoughts on “Have You Ever Worn Hakama?

  • March 22, 2013 at 6:36 am

    I admit, I have never worn hakama, though I’ve worn kimono many times. And, through my mother’s side of the family, I am a descendant of Samurai.


    Linda Joyce

    • March 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      Very cool! I love the Japanese custom of continuing to wear kimono on formal occasions (and, for some people, in daily life) – it’s such a wonderful clothing style, and I’m so glad to see it preserved and continuing into modern day.

  • March 22, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Your blog looks really interesting. Would you consider adding a ‘follow by email’ button so I could subscribe to it?

    • March 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks Kathryn – I’ve been looking into it. I need to get that widget added – I’ll put it on the list of things to do!

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