View Full Version : koryu hakama

30th May 2002, 07:21
Hi guys, ive seen quite a few different colouured and designed hakamas, and was just curious as to whether either of these can denote rank. I know in aikido they wear black hakama to denote master(i think), but obviously that aint koryu.

30th May 2002, 14:06
The wearing of Hakama in Koryu is not a sign of rank as it is used i some Aikido schools.
From what I know the practitioner can choose to wear any type of good training Hakama and in any colour also but that the 'general consensus' of the Ryuha he trains in will influence the choice.
Hakama are worn in Koryu because they are traditional Japanese dress and give the wearer a good understanding of why certain techniques are done in a certain way among other reasons of course..
Rank is not one of these and most Koryu do not really have any outward signs of rank such as belt colour or use of certain clothes etc. I think that the reasn behind this could be due to the size of the group in training in most Koryu. Not being worldwide there is little use for any outward show of rank as all in the Koryu will know their seniors and juniors and where they fit in.
Different styles of Hakama could depend on the Koryu's origins or the Ryuso's place in society. I have heard (In 'Koryu Bujutsu' by Diane Skoss) that the Asayama Ichiden Ryu uses different styled Hakama due to the origin of its place in society (I believe that it is considered to be a Goshi or Farmer/Samurai style of Bujutsu). This origin has meant that a closer (More 'trouser' style) type of Hakama is worn in demonstrations of the art because this style would have been favoured by the practitioners of the art; Goshi. This same rule applies to other Ryu undoubtedly and would explain the differences you have seen.
There are more and some Koryu train without Hakama and use them more for displays but this again would come down to the choices of the users or of the group itself.
Hope this helps you here...

David T Anderson
30th May 2002, 14:41
The wearing of hakama in Aikido practice doesn't invariably denote rank, although many dojo do reserve this for shodan and higher. My own dojo allows, and even encourages, the wearing of hakama as soon as you care to do so. As well, you will see very senior practioners in various arts wearing white hakama.

I think that the whole practice is more a matter of custom than hard-and-fast rules...except where there _are_ hard and fast rules. I've certainly never heard of variously coloured hakama denoting rank in the same way as the coloured belt system. I doubt if many people would care to buy a new hakama every time they went up a grade....

Jeff Hamacher
31st May 2002, 03:33
i have it on good authority that in kyudo you'll find exponents of a certain rank tend to wear kimono of certain colours, although i suspect this only applies to women (men tend to stick with browns, greys, or blacks). many other koryu seem to favour a particular style or colour scheme for their training gear and everyone wears it, regardless of rank. at least in jo (and i've seen it in kendo, too), some top-level instructors will wear all white while everyone else is wearing indigo.

in response to the sub-comment, aikido exponents usually wear either black or navy hakama, according to their teacher's example or instruction. the colour doesn't have much to do with rank, i don't think, but as David points out, some schools or teachers have students wear (or not wear) hakama according to rank, ability/confidence level, gender, training situation, or maybe even other factors.

31st May 2002, 07:09
Clothing to denote rank is used almost exclusively in Gendai systems. For example: I recently started studying Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iai. Due to my school being a part of the British Kendo/Iaido federation and therefore affiliated with the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei. While it is fine to wear more or less whatever you like while studying Koryu, if you study under the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei then there are restrictions. All students must wear either all white or all black (no black hakama/white top or vice versa) but many instructors allow this to slide (however proper form must be shown in gradings and competitions). I asked my instructor about wearing MOntsuki (A short, Kimono-sleeved top) and he said that that was reserved for Sixth-Dan and above (along with Striped Hakama, which are also required at that grade). During demonstrations to non ZNKR members then abviously you can wear whatever looks good in the demo but ZNKR are pretty strict.

2nd June 2002, 03:19
With koryu bugei, EVERYTHING is, in that ancient Japanese phrase, "case-by-case." In the ryuha I train in, there is no uniform code. I've seen my teachers mix and match black, white and indigo, and I've done the same. In some ryuha though, hakama color does denote status in the system. For example, in Kashima Shinryu, white hakama are only worn by people who are okuden or higher.

As for ZNKR limits on what you can wear, I'll admit that this is the first of heard of them. I've trained in ZNKR dojos in Japan for years, that's where I saw all the mixing and matching. And as for only all black or all white, I've got video of the annual Budosai sponsored by ZNKR with loads of folks in training blues. There are are also (I would not believe my memory if I hadn't taped them) folks taking part at the Budosai in green outfits, purple outfits, and a couple of other colors I'm not qualified to describe.

What it comes down to is that this stuff is "case-by-case".

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
Fine Martial Arts Books, Videos, Clothing and Equipment from Japan to You.

Tony Peters
26th June 2002, 02:06
Peter what exactly constitutes colors you are not qualified to describe?? Would that be anything like the Hawaiian print Hakama that John Stevens (world renowned aikido historian) wore at a seminar (I think they were a gift). BTW if you have never seen this Hakama it is something to be experienced. As for wearing a Hakama in Koryu, with the exception of Takenouchi ryu every one that I have participated in was of the indigo/black hak variety with an indigo or white top at least in normal training Demos are another matter

10th July 2002, 01:13

Above someone said: "Asayama Ichiden Ryu uses different styled Hakama due to the origin of its place in society (I believe that it is considered to be a Goshi or Farmer/Samurai style of Bujutsu). This origin has meant that a closer (More 'trouser' style) type of Hakama is worn in demonstrations of the art because this style would have been favoured by the practitioners of the art; Goshi."

This might be the belief of the school but what they don't know is that kobakama (the style they wear) was common for ALL samurai of Sengoku jidai. The close trouser style was worn under armour, and as comfortable everyday wear. It wasn't just for farmer. Next time you watch movie about Sengoku jidai Samurai have look at trouser style hakama (kobakama) that Samurai wearing. Only ceremonies or for high ranks do they wear full bigger hakama.

Also, I watched demonstration in Tokyo of Niten Ichi Ryu - ALL members were wearing black tattsukebakama. This is the style worn by this school because it was popular in the Edo jidai to move freely in battle.

Uno Yoshitaka


10th July 2002, 01:36

I forgot to say this in last message.

The East of India company tried to sell coloured and patterned fabric to the Japanese in 1613-14 for use in making clothing for Samurai. But they couldn't sell any because they found that Samurai were only permitted wear dull browns and blacks, and coloured and patterned fabrics were only used by Daimyo or rich merchants who could afford them. William Adams suggested the company sell them to Daimyo of Hirado, which they did.

I think this shows why today many costumes of budo are not brightly coloured. There already a rule in Tokugawa jidai about this and the rule has been brought to today through budo schools.

My grandfather was kimono dyer and he had book from 1701 which says "indigo and black are for Samurai clothes. Small patterns and spots of colour are allowed if they are not inappropriate to rank of wearer. Light (bright) colours are not allowed for everyday wear. Uncoloured fabric (no dye - white) is worn only for seppuku."

Strange some koryu wear white for high rank when this was a rule then. White was also only worn by Shinto priests in the Edo jidai.

Uno Yoshitaka

10th July 2002, 03:38
Originally posted by Yoshi

Also, I watched demonstration in Tokyo of Niten Ichi Ryu - ALL members were wearing black tattsukebakama.

Uno Yoshitaka
Hello Uno

Thats news to me!

Hyakutake Colin

Hyoho Niten Ichiryu

10th July 2002, 04:03
Wearing white to do kendo is mostly favoured by women.

I have a white set but like most men seldom wear it. The himo (ties) of the Kendo equipment are indigo dyed. Even if you do not perspire much the ties rub on the clothing and leave a blue dyed line that won't wash out. Likewise if you completly change your ties to white they will get discoloured if you wear indigo clothing.

As one wants to look clean and well dressed for taikai/demos, so it is far from practical.

Police Taijutsu guys wear all white though.

ZNKR has no hard and fast rules for equipment except for gradings/taikai. Its generally a club thing.

Hyakutake Colin

11th July 2002, 00:23

I said before "I watched demonstration in Tokyo of Niten Ichi Ryu - ALL members were wearing black tattsukebakama."

I just watched a video again. I made mistake this one, it was not Niten Ichi Ryu it was Owarikan Ryu. Navy blue and white patterns uwagi with black tattsukebakama.

I thought it was Niten Ichi Ryu, makes more sense to me for this school.

Yoshitaka Uno

Iron Clad Brute
22nd September 2002, 23:23

Either this topic is of no interest to anyone, or nobody has any answers judging by the 130 odd views.

Do a search and see if this was discussed before.

23rd September 2002, 11:31
I've been posting here since 1999 and there have been a million threads on hakama, but I don't remember any on this specificly. However, the Brute is correct, do a site search (not a single forum search since they, hakama threads) tend to come in every forum, even the judo forum). use the User CP at the top of the page and click on "Search."


PS: There has been some housecleaning recently (some four-hundred threads of mine alone were snipped) but the good ones should still be there. If not, try posing the question in General "Clothing and Supplies."