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The Hakama (袴) is a type of traditional Japanese garment designed as skirt-like pants that is commonly worn over a Kimono. Hakama were traditionally worn by nobles, especially Samurai warriors during Feudal Japan but became the most used bottoms in Japan from the 16th to 18th century. Nowadays, Hakama are not that popular anymore and are mostly worn as part of the standard gi (uniform) for Aikido and other martial arts such as Judo and Karate.
The origins of the Hakama dates back centuries ago when they were first used by the Chinese imperial court. Imported in Japan during the Kamakura period (1192 to 1333), these skirt-like pants took on their modern shape and size after the advent of the Edo era. Later, Japanese nobles adopted this garment into their lives, when they wore it over kimonos (Hakamashita) with ties at the waist to fall on the ankles.
The Hakama was originally a mandatory part of the curriculum for all students. It represented the traditional clothing of Japanese warriors, and when Aikido began to be taught more widely, it became commonplace for those who could afford it but not everyone had access or the means.
Over time, low-income groups have become interested in this martial art form and have even progressed quite far in the training process. Mandatory requirements have been removed and only very advanced martial artists are asked to wear the Hakama. Nowadays, the teacher advises the students to wear the Hakama when they have reached a necessary level.
Nowadays, Hakama pants are less popular, but still worn daily even by civilians who do not practice any combat-related discipline. The aikido Hakama should not be confused with the Japanese dress which has no folds and does not share any combat value. You will find in this collection models for men as well as for women and you will know how to put on your Hakama in the simplest way possible!
According to Japanese culture, the 7 folds of the Hakama represent each a virtue that every samurai must know, here they are in details:
Jin : Generosity, Benevolence.
Gi : Honor, Justice.
Rei : Courtesy.
Chi : Wisdom, Intelligence.
Shin : Sincerity.
Chu : Loyalty.
Ko : Piety.
Types of Hakama
There are mostly 2 types of Hakama:
1. Umanori Hakama
The Umamori Hakama (馬乗り, lit. “horse-riding Hakama”) is the divided form of the Hakama that look like trousers. Wider at the waist and narrower in the leg, this Hakama was used by mounted samurai during Feudal Japan.
2. Andon Bakama
The Andon Bakama (行灯袴, lit. “lantern Hakama”) is the undivided form of the Hakama that looks like a tube skirt. More formal and perfect to pair with a Kimono, Andon Bakama were the traditional garment that Japanese people used to wear over their Kimono for important events.
Where to buy a Hakama?
Japanese-clothing.com is definitely the best place to buy your traditional Japanese Hakama. Our catalog covers a wide range of Hakama pants and formal Hakama for men and women that you can use for martial arts at cheap prices!
How to wear a Hakama?
There are many different ways to wear a Hakama, but the most common way is to simply put it on like a skirt. The Hakama should be tied at the waist with the cords that come with it, and then the excess material should be gathered up and tucked into the belt. The Hakama should fit snugly around the hips, and the hem should come down to about mid-calf for short Hakama and upper ankles for longer Hakama.
Another way to wear a Hakama is to put it on like a pair of pants. To do this, simply put on the Hakama like you would a pair of pants, and then tie the cords around the waist. The pleats should still be facing the same direction, and the Hakama should still fit snugly around the hips.
How to wash a Hakama?
If you have a Hakama that is made of natural fibers such as cotton or wool, it is best to hand wash it in cool water. If your Hakama is made of synthetic fibers, you can machine wash it on a gentle cycle. Always use a mild detergent and avoid using bleach or fabric softeners.
How to fold a Hakama?
The folding and storage of the Hakama follows a very precise ritual and can vary according to the regions of Japan or the schools of Aikido. After having equipped it during a session, it is compulsory to fold it well so that it keeps all its splendor. Here are the steps of a successful folding:
First of all, it is important to lay the front of the Hakama facing the floor, lay the fabric flat and then turn it over a few times.
Be sure to smooth the front folds so they sit flat and do not wrinkle.
Fold the ends toward the center of the Hakama so you can smooth it out a second time before folding the piece three layers from the bottom.