Not that long ago, what would have meant a trip to the library, pouring over endless books and possibly coming home without an answer, can now be found with just a few simple clicks of the mouse and voila, we have an answer. I am of course referring to the question of what the samurai’s clothes are called. In about 0.16 seconds Google will produce a list of sites with the answer which , of course, means that you don’t get much stitching done as you visit one web site then another then another!
Any way, the simple answer to what a samurai wears is…a Kimono. But, a kimono is not just a kimono…oh no, that would be too simple! There are various types of kimono depending on the season, the weight of the material etc, etc. The Yukata is a summer weight kimono but according to one of the million sites I visited, these would not be worn with socks – oops our guy is wearing socks (that alone warrants an episode on What Not to Wear). On another site it stated that kimonos of brighter colours and made from fine silk (that’s my guy!) were worn in the summer. So is our guy wearing a yukata or not?!
Here's a photo taken of the kit so you can see the whole of the Samurai and his clothes. I may be wrong but this is what I found out.
With further investigating it appears that our guy is wearing a Kamishimo, which is a two-piece costume worn over the kimono. The upper piece is called the kataginu, and is essentially a sleeveless jacket or vest with wide shoulders that any member of the cast of ‘Dynasty’ would have killed for! The lower part of the garment, basically the trousers, is called hakama.
Traditionally the samurai's swords were carried through their belt (obi) which was wrapped around the waist and tied in front. The sandals are called waraii and the socks, which have a space to separate the big toe from the other toes so they can slip on their sandals, are called tabi. And to get really personal, beneath his kimono a samurai would be wearing a loincloth, known as a fundoshi.
And as a last piece of totally useless information, kimono makers used one roll of silk measuring about two feet by 20 yards to make one kimono!
So the next time you are playing Trivial Pursuit or watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and the question of what a Samurai wears is asked, you can either thank me because you remember the answer or, more than likely, you’ll be saying “Oo, oo, I know this one, I read it on someone’s stitching blog, what was it again?”
Until next time…happy stitching.