The Attire of Boys of the Kamakura Period (1192 - 1342), Japan

A boy belonging to the upper class of the Kamakura period is represented in the following three pictures. His hair, parted in the middle, and then hanging down back, is tied into one strand with a white fillet (moto-yui) at the nape of the neck. His attire consists of a red outer-garment called “Suikan,” a hakama, and an unlined yellow undergarment. Suikan is so named from its stiffing by the wet-and-dried method, but not by starch. He wears a pair of wooden shallow shoes like the French sabot. A “hi-ogi” or fan of thin wooden strips is in his hand. Light green and white chrysanthemum-like ornaments are attached on the inner and outer sides of the sleeves. They are called kikutoji, originally meant to prevent seams from opening. Besides, both the sleeves are ornamented near the border with white and light green tapes stitched into square or rectangular shapes. This shape is called Kenuki-gata from that of a tiny tool like the modern tweezers, used in olden times for pulling out splinters run into the skin. These tweezer-like ornaments were used mostly for boys under 14. It may be said that the elegant style of the boys of the period can be vividly seen in these illustrations.

T. Ema,
Translated by K. Takigawa

Text and image via Naomi no Kimono Asobi on Flickr.  Photos appear to have been taken during the late 19th or early 20th century


Ikenaga KanAkira

“Hundred Full Moon-Mai" 

Azabu-Rock Paints, Suikan, Glue, Ink, Gold Paint 

Sumi-Ink. Mineral Pigments and Hide-Glue on Linen Canvas

33 cm x 35 cm 


"Two people alone with longer room I silently was closed.
I want to stare at the cotton socks wound round and round in your ankle.
I was out of the room by the so muttered "Koyo will buy things cold.”
From walking it finds public power is head down and made ​​a phone call to your mobile phone.
“Kimi likes, I want to draw you a much”.
To sudden confession, you can feel that it responded to the “It funny”. During the hundred nights to draw you, you will become a thing of the others. My I’ve no longer stay from before.Then missing moon hundred degrees, I was full of hundred degrees. You are in also appear in unexpectedly my room, lying in front of the easel as that day. I also hundred nights, I draw you.“

Clothing and Time Periods in Inuyasha

A response to Inu-fanon’s post

There are two main time periods of clothing in Inuyasha, Heian and Sengoku. (Don’t pay attention to Sessamaru. His clothing is a modgepodge and makes no sense.)

Above is a still form the Unmother scene. Inu!Mom is wearing a Heian Juni-hitoe or “twelve layer robe.”

The main difference between Heian noble women’s clothing and what later noble women were wearing up until the Edo period is pants. Heian noble ladies wore red hakama. Later noble women decided that they would rather not walk in pants that trailed behind them, thanks all the same.

Heian noble women only wore plain under robes (kosode) since they were nearly invisible under layers of over robes. Later times periods liked to decorate kosode (see the stripes on the collar above), and the kosode eventually evolved into the kimono.

See, no pants! Sweet freedom!

Inuyasha’s distinctive red outfit is also from the Heian era. It’s called a suikan and was the clothing of rambunctious little noble boys.

Yep, Inuyasha’s running around in 5-10 year old clothing. No wonder he’s so cranky ;)

Please feel free to ask questions. I have a LOT of useless knowledge floating around in my head about historical Japanese clothing.