The hakama is the traditional Samurai pants first used by the samurai horsemen as an additional outer garment to protect the legs. Similar to leather pants used by cowboys, however in Japan vaccine skin was in short supply, so the hakama was made from heavy fabrics. They are essentially wide legged trousers with pleats on the front and back. While originally the hakama was a fully functional item, it later became a iconic symbol of status or position, which allowed fast distinguish of a samurai.
Hakama are secured by four straps (himo); two longer himo attached on either side of the front of the garment, and two shorter himo attached on either side of the rear. Hakama have seven deep pleats, two on the back and five on the front. The pleats are said to represent the seven virtues of bushido, considered essential to the samurai way. Although they appear balanced, the arrangement of the front pleats, (three to the right, two to the left) is asymmetrical, and as such is an example of asymmetry in Japanese aesthetics.
By the Edo Period, the samurai also wore a sir coat known as a kataginu. This was essentially a sleeveless jacket or vest with exaggerated shoulders. The hakama with kataginu is probably the most well known samurai and most iconic symbol of samurai dress.
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|Basic Yoroi Hitatare||Hikitate-eboshi||Jinbaori (Surcoat)|
|Kegutsu||Mino (Rain Cape)||Sarashi Belt|
|Custom Yoroi Hitatare||Custom Traditional Hakama||Kyahan|
Tabi are traditional Japanese socks. Ankle-high and with a separation between the big toe and other toes (to facilitate the wearing of wajari aka: sandals), they were worn by samurai in the feudal era and are essential to comlete the Samurai unifrom. Footwear generally consisted of sandals (waraji). Samurai sandals were made from various sorts of material, including straw, hemp, and cotton thread.
A popular accessory which is important to have if you plan to wear your armor with your hakama is the kyahan. The Kyahan (known as gaiters by westerners) were leggings worn by samurai and their retainers in feudal Japan. Kyahan were used as padding underneath the samurai shin armor (suneate). When tying kyahan, the inner cords are shorter than the outer ones. The cords were tied on the inner side of the legs to help prevent discomfort when the suneate (shin-guards) were placed over the kyahan.
For rainy days, samurai, like everyone else, wore raincoats made out of straw (kappa).