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Every culture has a tale to pass on to the next generation about why it is the way it is and how it came to be that way. So much can be said about a single item of historical clothing, and it's always a good idea to brush up on its facts and history. Traditional Japanese clothing comprises deceptively basic front and back panels with extra pleating and structure on either side. The hakama is the layer beneath the several layers that make up traditional clothing.
Hakama trousers are frequently worn with kimonos and are considered a must-have item in Japan. They're popular while also being quite traditional. The Hakama has come a long way since its initial appearance in the sixth century. Anyone visiting the far-away land of Japan cannot possibly miss them, from weddings to martial arts!
Originally worn by nobility, the hakama is now also worn by the public. The hakama is still extensively worn in Japan today, but it is less associated with graduation, marriage, and other religious events than with Samurai and martial arts, while it is still an important part of Kendo practice.
When you look at Hakama, you may see the pleated pattern. The most typical Hakama features five pleats in the front, with each pleat representing a different meaning.
The five front pleats represent:
The five pleats' meanings are claimed to be based on Gorin Gojo, the five essential Confucian values and principles observed in Bushido, the Samurai code.
Furthermore, two pleats dangling from the trapezoid-shaped backplate component called Koshiita, which also have particular connotations, can be seen on the backside.
Loyalty and Filial piety are represented by the two rear pleats. These two ideas are thought to originate from the true spirit of the Samurai. The pleats at the front and rear appear to be purely decorative, yet they conceal extremely deep meanings. It plainly pertains to the martial arts Hakama since it is tied to Bushido, although any of the five pleated ones that are usually worn are based on these Confucian / Bushido ideals.
The Hakama in Aikido is necessary from the start of training, then optional during and after the war owing to its cost, and eventually reserved officially at the Aikikai for men from the first dan and women from the third kyu.
Except for yukata, the Japanese hakama can be worn with any form of kimono (light cotton summer kimono that is generally worn for relaxing, sleeping, or at festivals or summer outings). Stripes in colors other than black, grey, and white are frequently worn with less formal apparel, such as trousers and shirts, in contrast to black and grey hakama.
Because Japan has all four seasons, it's not surprising that their traditional apparel allows them to survive the winter. It has been discussed that a hakama is worn as a bottom and a kimono as a top, but what is worn as a coat to keep you warm? The solution is a "haori." A haori was used by Japanese warriors in the past to prevent freezing. It's now worn as a fashion statement throughout the colder months of January to March, almost as a jacket to complement the traditional attire.
If you already own a hakama and are having trouble finding out how to wear it, watch a video instruction on how to wear it. Don't worry about not understanding it right away; just as it's more difficult to make a hakama, wearing it is likewise more difficult than fitting a pair of trousers. When putting it on oneself, keep in mind that you should wear pants underneath the hakama.
Hakama is now worn for a number of purposes. It is worn during weddings, coming-of-age ceremonies, graduation ceremonies, and other ceremonial events. Originally, Umanori Hakama, or pants, were worn in formal situations, but presently, more Andon Hakama, or skirts, are worn officially, mostly for comfort in the toilet.
Boots are the only permitted footwear under a kimono when wearing a hakama. Women are the only ones who have this luxury. During graduation ceremonies, young ladies frequently wear a hakama with furisodes. The boots worn beneath the hakama have a low heel and are quite fashionable.
Do you want to give Hakama a try now that you've learned so much about it and its history?