The Japanese have some unique attires. They like matching occasions with different garments. One of the Japanese clothing that has existed for decades is hakama. It is a traditional type of clothing that is worn by specific groups. Hakama dates back in the 16th century when men alone used to wear this garment. With time, this has changed since Japanese women nowadays like making a fashion statement with the famous hakama. This attire can be tied to the waist and goes all the way to the ankles. You can wear a hakama with a kimono.
This attire comes in two forms. There is the divided umanori which is used for horseback riding and the undivided hakama. The first type of hakama comes with divided legs making it look like a regular trouser. Forest and field workers use this traditional garment due to the nature of their jobs. A hakama is a bit loose in the waist but narrower in the leg. The hakama pants boost comfort as you wear them without getting in the way of walking.
What makes hakama unique is the appearance of pleats on both sides. The front part contains more creases than the back. Though the front part has five pleats while the back has two, they appear well balanced. In martial arts, each pleat of the hakama has a significant meaning. The pleats represent different virtues such as courage, respect, integrity, honor, and loyalty. Four straps are also used to secure the hakama in place. The straps are referred to as himo, and they differ in length depending on where they are found.
Due to the pleats that come with hakama, it is important to fold it accordingly to avoid damage. Proper folding of hakama can also extend its life and make it look presentable at every occasion. The pleats of this garment can quickly lose creases. Sometimes, re-creasing calls for special attention. Apart from the pleats, the long ties of hakama also make folding difficult. You have to know the right method of folding this garment since it is part of the etiquette.
The difference between men and women hakama
According to their culture, Japanese men can wear a hakama with any form of kimono apart from yukata. This is the garment that is used for sleeping or relaxing during summer outings. Hakama is a crucial male formal dress that is used to attend official functions.
Men's hakama are designed to be stiff. They are made from striped silk material and contain dull colors such as navy blue and black or black and white. Practitioners of martial arts and wrestlers are expected to wear this attire when making public appearances. Male priests that attend shrines also wear hakama.
The women's hakama is different from what men wear in regards to the design and how they should tie it. Since this was originally a man's garment, men can wear it in formal and informal occasions. Women, however, only wear hakama during special occasions such as sports events in Japan. Most of the women that wear this attire are teachers like university professors.
Shrine maidens who facilitate religious ceremonies also put on red hakama and some white tops. Though a man's hakama is designed with striped fabric, a woman's hakama can come in a solid color or decorated with some embroidered flowers. Men wear a hakama at the waist while women tie it below the bust.
The occasions when people wear hakama
You can wear a hakama when attending a graduation ceremony in Japan. Since the attire has an academic image, both female and male students wear hakama when graduating. This garment also forms part of the martial arts uniform. It is known as the Aikido hakama. In the martial arts, the hakama can defend you from getting injured by an attacker.
According to the Japanese culture, young adults who have just reached 20 years hold a ceremony called the coming age ceremony. The main attire to attend this event is hakama. You can wear a kimono with a hakama during this ceremony. Some men also match hakama with western suits for the event.
During the tea ceremony, people have to maintain formal wear. Men wear hakama while women wear kimono without hakama. In Japanese schools, teachers still like wearing this authentic piece.