Nihongami (Japanese hairstyles) - part 3/12: female styles, by Shota Kotake

1 – Subeshi gami variations

Having very long hair (sometimes longer that their height) was a mark of status and beauty for Heian women. A lot of care and efforts were put in growing and keeping their hair long.
Once widowed, women had to cut their hair to their shoulders. They were expected to never wear it long again for the rest of their lives. 

  • Suberakashi was a hairstyle worn by kuge and buke (nobles and warrior classes) women from Heian to Muromachi era. Hair was left very long and tied in the back in a ponytail with a loose chignon just above the hairband. Front hair was left free, styled in bangs and/or spread neatly on the shoulders.
  • Sage gami is a variation of Subeshi gami which was worn by upperrank wives of Daimyo.
  • Osuberakashi elaborated ponytail and ornamental comb on the forehead were worn by noble ladies for official ceremonies and events.

2 – Hyogo variations

  • Tate Hyogo is said to have been worn by female kabuki dancers. But it’s mostly associated with middle rank Yujo (prostitutes). Upper rank prostitutes never wore this style. This hairdo probably appeared first during Muromachi era and was brought back during Edo period and Bakumatsu era.
  • Yoko Hyogo was worn by hight rank Yujo in Yoshiwara and Shimabara from mid Edo era. It was a of variation Tate Hyogo with bigger chignons. Each red light districts had its own way of setting the many decorative pins and haircombs.
  • Date Hyogo was only worn by Oiran (top rank yujo). With its big chignons and lavishly decorated ornaments, from pins to combs and golden ropes, this hairstyle was the most gorgeous of all.