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The Care and Feeding of Hakama

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  • kim nakamori
    Konban wa Mina-san, About 2 weeks ago or so, there was a thread about hakama. A lord wondered about how to keep his pleats nice in between wearings. I sought
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2004
      Konban wa Mina-san,
      About 2 weeks ago or so, there was a thread
      about hakama. A lord wondered about how to keep his
      pleats nice in between wearings. I sought the advice
      of a friend's mom who is the leader of a Minyo Dance
      troupe that uses men's costume for some dances. She
      told me they sew a couple "leashes" to the pleats.

      Basically, lay your hakama flat, measure a
      length of thread about the same primary color of the
      hakama-double it over, an tie it off with a knot. From
      the inside, poke thru the layers of the cloth to the
      underside of the topmost layer. Give a slack about 1
      1/2" to 2", then tie it off. This will allow for some
      movement yet keep the pleat from opening up too much.
      Sometimes light lb. test fishing line or "suji" is
      used- to allow more flexibility-however only for
      hakama that is dry-cleaned(like fancy, brocade ones)
      cause suji may melt in the dryer. Sew two leashes per
      pleat in the space between the waistband and the
      hip-any lower won't work due to movement.

      Granted, Hakama will have a center partition,
      depending on period and type. Some are more of a
      skirt, some a loose pant-type with a small center
      partition inside consisting of 2 triangles sewn at
      their points.
      Men wear their hakama high in the back, and
      under their bellies in the front. This is because the
      back of the hakama should rest on top of the obi used
      to tie the kimono.For those slimmer lads- tieing the
      front at the navel is fine. Women usually wear their
      hakama at their waist. Tho some periods tend to have
      them tied higher. Women should not tie their hakama
      just below their breasts, as it tends to make them
      look Korean.(tho korean dress has the skirt tied over
      the breasts sometimes) Men usually wear hakama, tieing
      the back straps first to the front, then overlapping
      the frontal straps to the back, then back to the
      front,placing the bowknot of the first tie between the
      overlapping frontal ties to keep it in place. I
      normally wear mines reverse.(to assist in ease of
      going to the restroom, w/o having to remove the whole
      If you have hakama made from cotton or
      poly-cotton, (as for fighting) after washing and
      drying, one should iron the hakama using a spray
      starch like Niagara or Faultless brand. If storing,
      fold the hakama carefuly after ironing,folding the
      straps over the front- then the sides over the
      center-fold in half,and place in a tansu or
      dresser.(or a see-thru rubbermaid chest)
      If your hakama is made from other materials such
      as poly Jersey, Linen, silk, etc,..follow the
      manufacturer's advice for washing- and sometimes a
      spray sizing may be used with a light iron.(I use
      spray sizing on my poly jersey hitatare-tho not
      always-yes,women can dress up as men too- just don't
      wear an eboshi-as this is reserved for men. Only young
      pages and monks do not wear eboshi regularly. Tho i
      think during the momoyama period-eboshi were only worn
      on certain occassions, not everday. Heh when i wear my
      hitatare, I am Kikumaru.)

      Well-I hope that helps.

      "Knowledge does not Grow, Unless it is Shared..."


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