In general, Juunihitoe is a full dress for women in the Heian period.
However, what’s called “Juunihitoe” today is actually “Itsutsuginu Karaginumo” and some books even call different clothing “Juunihitoe.”
Please know that when I say “Juunihitoe,” I mean “Itsutsuginu Karaginumo.”
Juunihitoe in Japanese means ” twelve-layer robe,” but it actually doesn’t have twelve layers.
Normally the following clothes are worn.
1. Short sleeves (underwear)
2. Red Hakama
4.Uchiki (With a long hem and broad cuffs. Materials and the tailoring varies with the season. Worn with five layers.)
5.Uchiginu (Glossy clothing. Normally red.)
6.Uwagi (Similar to Uchigi but has some patterns on it)
7.Karaginu (With short height)
8.Mo (Tied to a waist and very long that they had to drag it)
The layers of Uchigi was not determined until the middle of the Hian period. In the classical literature mentioning about the lives of people at the time, you can even see the description about a person who wears twenty layers of Uchigi.
On the other hand, probably because of its inflexibility, the clothing became more and more simplified after the Kamakura period.
The old ceremonial court dress is a men’s full dress and often seen in old nobles’ portraits.
Japanese nobles gradually changed the traditional Chine noble clothing to make it something they would really like. They wore many layers of clothing to show their nobleness and eventually established it as a common style of clothing.
To be in the old ceremonial court dress, layers of the following clothes should be worn in order.
1. Short sleeves (underwear)
2. Hakama ( a long pleated skirt for men)
3. Hitoe (unlined clothes whose sides are not sewed)
4. Akome (another unlined clothes whose sides are not sewed)
5.Uenohakama（Shorter than Oguchihakama）
6.Shitagasane（The cloth not sewing side. the material is diffrent from season to season. The back is long）
7.Hanpi（The cloth having no cuff and short height）
8.Hou（Outerwear of tachieri）
9.Sekitai（leather belt with stone decoration）
The more difficult to move so as to wear so many cloth,The more noble they are. But wearing so many cloth was tough for people in the era.
In fact, Some people ommited Hanpi hidden by hou .
The latter half of the 16th century, ruled by Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi Toyotomi, are called Azuchi Momoyama era, and the time between 17th to 19th century is called Edo era. The feature of those eras was the major development of the culture due to the fewer number of wars which contributed to the stability of the common people’s quality of life. Majority of the Japanese kimono has become short sleeved as a result of samurai families and common people became more powerful than the aristocrats.
Also, foreign trades were very popluar in Azuchi Momoyama era, and the decoration technique of the short sleeve became very competitive. Furthermore, those successful merchants with a big fourtune through trading became found of gorgeous outfit, which resulted in developing the extraordinarily beautiful short sleeves. It appears that there were no major difference in the outfit of male and female in the common people.
In Edo era, comparing to the female short sleeves that have changed dramatically, that of male did not really incorporated many changes. As a result, such difference of the outfit by sex has become more remarkable. One reason behind the scene is said to be the defined and bipolarized concept of the role with the distinction of sex, which forced male following the social rules and regulations while female remained to be free.
Today’s Kimono and Obi are the result of such evolution females have developped with their free mind, soul, and spirit.
Clothes from Kamakura to Muromachi Period
In end of 12th century, the power center of the caste stated to move from nobles to Samurais.
Ages till the first half of the 14th century, when the Shogunate was located in Kamakura, is called Kamakura Period. Then the shogunate is moved to Kyoto. The period after Kamakura Period till 16th century is called Muromachi Period. Samurais have became powerful raisin up from ordinal people.
That is why they prefer to wear like normal people do rather than waring heave and binding ones.
In this way, closing tradition was established. They basically wear light clothes except for when they have to wear in formal armored style.
As the time goes, another type of clothing is developed by samurais. They reduced the layers of Sokutai and called it “Hihitare” and they also reduced layers of Juunihitoe and called it “Uchikake.”
Common people wore short sleeves as they had since the Heian period. According to some documents, they made the hem very short and fold the part that went below the waist and fastened it with strings. It later becomes Ohashiori (The part that has been folded is referred to as Ohashori), but it looked a bit different from what it is right now because thick obis were not used at the time. Also, common people began to improve their wealth and their clothing became more gorgeous as a result.
Clothing in the Heian period
Between nine to twelve centuries, the capital of Japan was Kyoto and we call this period the “Heian period.” Nobles had been wearing clothing that came from China until the end of the Nara period, but Japanese original culture developed during the Heian period and the design of clothing gradually changed. However, the idea that noble people should wear heavy and immobile clothing was succeeded. As a result, people eventually wore a Japanese original poncho on top of Chinese clothing.
All these led to the creation of Sokutai for men and Juunihitoe for women. On the other hand, regular people wore front-opened and tight-sleeved clothing which is a developed version of Japanese poncho.
The biggest difference between clothes for Nobles and for regular people is the size of cuffs. Clothes for nobles had wider cuffs, so these were called “Big Cuff” and clothes for regular people were called “Small Cuff” as opposed to this “Big Cuff.” Nobles also wore “Small Cuff” under “Big Cuff” as an underwear. For both Sokutai and Juunihitoe, people first wore “Small Cuff” and “Hakama” and put on “Big Cuff” over them.
Clothing before the Heian period
The capital of Japan was Nara during seven to eight centuries. We split this period into half and call the first half the “Asuka period” and the second half the “Nara period.”Japanese used to wear clothing that combine the top and the bottoms, but we have begun separating them just before the Asuka period started. Both men and women wore the short top and men wore something like trousers and women wore a long skirt. Soon the interaction with China became active and various things came from China into Japan. These “things” included Chinese clothing and also some ideas related to clothing.
For example, Chinese people wore wear mobile and useful clothes at the time and nobles wore heavy and immobile clothes. Japanese didn’t have the idea of varying clothes with their social position, but it is said that the import of Chinese clothes and customs gradually created the idea that people with higher status wears more immobile clothes. Chinese products were considered valuable, so all the nobles wore Chinese clothes. The style of dress of turning up their collar also appeared at the same time period.
On the other hand, regular people still wore the same type of clothes as before.
The oldest material about Japanese history is Gishi Wajinden written at the end of the third century. And Japanese men wrapped cloth around their bodies and women wore kantoi (clothes with no sleeves) those days according to it. In Japan, traditionally cloth has been made by one person and the width of every piece of cloth is narrower than the width of the weaver’s shoulders. It’s unlikely that the width of the cloth which was made those days was wider than this, so it’s presumed that cloth of a narrow width was used at that time, too. They couldn’t make kantoi in the shape with a hole for a head with cloth of this width by cutting a part of the cloth for it out. So, it’s considered that two pieces of cloth were weaved together with only parts of them together as a hole for a head left undone. Also, it’s presumed that the first kantoi wasn’t weaved in parts for their underarms and it was clipped around their waist with a rope.
After that, they weaved pieces of cloth in parts for their underarms and attached sleeves shaped as pipes to the cloth to up the efficiency of warming and protection, but then it got to be difficult to take off and put on the clothes in the style of kantoi. So, it’s considered that they stopped weaving the clothes on the front and combined pieces of clothes and additional cloth. It’s said that this shape has become the original style of kimono which was made later.
The center part of eri (collar) is double-layered. The fabric that overs the collar is called tomo-eri or kake-eri. In general, it is called tomo-eri when it is made using the same fabric as kimono, and it is called kake-eri when it is made using fabrics from others. However, the given name is not fixed as it can be called kake-eri even when the same fabrics from kimono are used. You may consider that they both have the same meaning. Damages and stains are more likely to appear particularly around eri. Kake-eri is used over the collar so it can be removed to wash separately or replaced with another.
When you watch a period drama, you often see ladies wearing kimono with only their collars that are black. That black fabric is kake-eri. Back then, it was popular to use black kake-eri so stains on collars were not noticeable.
Originally, kake-eri are to be used over normal collars. But to reduce costs, there are some which are just folded so they look like kake-eri are actually covered.
Also, when extra fabrics are added to the sleeves of kimono for larger people, there is no choice but to just fold the collars as kake-eri cannot be removed.
Collars of this sort of kimono cannot be re-patched, but there isn’t any problem wearing it.
For Yukatas, a word “Kawari musubi” is often used when we tie an obi. This is a collective term applied to tying methods without unique names. Please note that this is not a name of a particular tying method. Hanhaba-obi (half-width obi) is casual and because no rules are applied to it, Kawari musubi is often created using this type of obi. On the other hand, you can use Kawari musubi with Fukuro obi which is initially designed for formal scenes. In fact, a lot of people enjoy Kawari musubi with Fukuro obi. Particularly for Furisode, tying Fukuro obi in a way of Kawari musubi makes it gorgeous. Nagoya obi is relatively short, so it is unusual to tie a Nagoya obi in a Kawari musubi.
Kawari musubi is a kind of improvisation by a Kimono dresser, and usually each of them has no name.
Therefore, it is often difficult to ask your dresser to make the same Kawari musubi as what you saw by describing its appearance. If you would like the dresser to tie your Fukuro obi in the same way as one in a magazine, you should show the clip. As for Hanhaba obi, it is enjoyable to think various Kawari musubi by yourself.
When you say tsuno-dashi now, it refers to a casual way of knotting Nagoya obi which goes with tsumugi (pongee) or komon (fine pattern). It is popular for its refined way of knotting. In fact, tsuno-dashi has been long around even before the otaiko-musubi (drum knot), which is currently more major. However, tsuno-dashi in old times was slightly different from the current one in terms of its way of knotting. What is common between the two is how the tips of obi from both sides of the part called otaiko is shaped. That shape that you see is called “tsuno”, and this way of knotting the obi is called “tsuno-dashi”. Now, tsuno-dashi are made using obijime (decorative string) and obiage (obi bustle). In old times, obi were not wrapped completely. The tip of tare (the edge of obi) was left under obi, pulled through halfway, made into a ring and hung.
This method of knotting obi needs no obijime or obiage, but but it is too short for current Nagoya obi and too long for fukuro obi (double-woven obi). When Nagoya obi and fukuro obi started being used widely for otaiko-musubi, tsuno-dashi evolved too so to adapt these obi. As a result, the length that was suitable for old tsuno-dashi is no longer in use. There is this method of knotting obi called Ginza musubi which is like tsuno-dashi. However, the difference between “Nagoya obi’s tsuno-dashi” and “Ginza musubi” is not clear, and different people have different opinions about it.