The layers that commonly
make up a jūnihitoe are:
- The undergarment, which, as stated above, is a garment made of
white silk or cotton.
- The "kosode" i.e. a robe made of silk that extends to the ankles or the
lower calf. It is commonly red or white in colour.
- The "hakama"
i.e. a pleated skirt that is usually of red colour
- The "hitoe"
i.e. a robe without lining, which is usually red, white or blue in colour
- The "uchigi"
i.e. a few light, unlined robes in a bright colour
- The "uchiginu"
i.e. a stiff robe made of silk, which is usually scarlet in colour
- The "uwagi"
i.e. a silk robe that is made of silk and is beautifully patterned.
- The "karaginu"
i.e. a jacket that extends to the waist.
Depending upon the
temperature, some of these layers were sometimes reduced.
Being the most exquisite
of Japanese dresses, it is also one of the most expensive garments.
The Crown Princess of
Japan, Masako, wore a jūnihitoe at her wedding ceremony. In the year 1990,
Empress Michiko of Japan also wore a jūnihitoe at the enthronement of
Emperor Akihito. During this ceremony, the ladies in waiting were also wearing
jūnihitoe; however, the garments donned by them were the lighter versions
that evolved later.
Section 3 - Footwear and
The Japanese have
traditionally used certain accessories along with their garments. Some of them
are as under:
The "obi" is a sash that
is worn with a number of traditional Japanese garments. It is worn by both
males and females. In some cases, the obi is the outermost sash, which conceals
a number of small sashes worn within.
The obi was
traditionally made of silk, which is still the most preferred fabric for the same.
The obi used by men are
commonly rectangular in shape, with a length of 2 mt. or more and a width of
about 5-6 cm. They are usually found in dark colours, black and blue for
instance, and do not have much decoration on them, except for decorative stitches
using thread in a contrasting colour. Usually, men wrap the obi once or twice
around their waists, and secure it with a knot at the back, slightly off the
centre. Usually, men wear their obi rather low on their waists.
Women"s obi is usually
twice as wide as men"s obi, and even longer. They are quite ornamental and
colourful; however, the extent of the decoration and the brightness of the
colour depends to a large extent on the age of the wearer, the style of the
kimono, the season as well as the occasion. Women in Japan tie their obi rather
high, with the top of the obi just under the breasts. Like men, women also wrap
their obi once or twice around their waists. Women use different kinds of knots
to secure their obi, and they prefer tying the knot right at the centre of the
"Tabi" refers to
ankle-length socks that have traditionally been worn by the Japanese. They have
a separation between the big toe and the other toes, to make for comfortable
wear. They are worn by both males and females.
There is another version
of the tabi, made of thicker fabric, known as "jika-tabi". Workmen prefer to
wear them, as they are more durable.