Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happi (法被, 半被) also known as the short work garment is a traditional Japanese straight-sleeved coat is usually wears during the Japanese festivals (matsuri), or in the japanese restaurant worn by chefs. Happi usually made of indigo or brown cotton and imprinted with a distinctive mon (crest) and design like a coat or jacket-like short kimono.

Happi was started and first been introduced from China and used as a chair cover in temples. But during the Edo Period, happi was worn by the fire fighters as protective jackets made of white cotton or hemp. Other than that, it has been used as the working uniforms by the carpenters and plasters. Happi design is ooriginally represented the crest of a family, by the wealthy family along time ago. Happi was made for their servants to wear for family celebrations or funerals. Besides that, the social and civic groups adopted the practice of having members wear such coats marked with the group's identification for festivals and other public gatherings. Today, large groups of people who belong to the same shrine or civic organization wear happi as marked of their identity.

Matching narrow fabric bands are often fashioned from a small towel and used to hold hair out of the face and absorb perspiration during athletic activities. Such head bands often display patriotic symbols or proclaim group affiliations. Workers for a specific company wear happi coats to proclaim their membership and/or express group loyalty. Family crests have been replaced by the company logo or name prominently displayed on the back and front of the happi coat.

Happi coats used mainly for Japanese festivals are called a matsuri happi coats meaning "festival" coat. The happi coats come in a variety of styles and colors both imprinted and plain. Some have a kanji symbol on the back, others have imprinted scenery or they are a solid print of one or two colors. Matsuri happi coats are traditionally worn over a t-shirt with shorts or pants. Short sleeved happi coats called a "taiko happi coat" are used at Japanese festivals by taiko drummers.

Japanese restaurants use a special chef’s happi coat called a hippari. The chefs happi coat is much like the traditional coat except it has a small belt that ties inside the coat.

HANTEN (Jacket)

Hanten, the traditional worksman’s coat or everyday jacket was worn by chonin (townspeople) during the Edo period. Historically hanten became popular during the Edo period when the common people were prohibited from wearing elegant haori or outer jackets. Same as happi, hanten, the traditional jacket often featured the employer’s crest or name on the back, in an early form of advertising but today, hanten is worn as casual wear for home and recreational. Hanten is a quilted short jacket worn at home for warmth.


Jinbei is informal traditional Japanese clothing worn mostly by men and children during summer at home. Jinbei sets consist of a top, sleeveless (upper garment) and matching linen knee-length shorts. It ties closed both inside and outside the jacket. Today jinbei is worn by men as replacement for yukata when attending the summer festivals and commonly used as a sleepwear. Modern jinbei can be found in many materials with design printed on the cloth which also involves a shorter jacket that stretches to the waist.

HAORI (Women's Short Jacket)

Haori, the unlined short kimono worn by both man and women as a jacket, replacing the kimono. There are also the haori for formal dress for man likes black silk haori and hakama over kimono. While the clothing box which contains haori which would be worn by a woman in cold weather.

HAKAMA (Kimono Trouser)

Hakama is an outer garment worn over the kimono that are either split between the legs like pants or non-split like a skirt as formal attire on formal occasions or on traditional Japanese sports competitions such as archery or fencing or tradition Japanese dance, artist an martial arts or even in wedding. The origin of Hakama pants is to protect samurai warrior legs from brush when riding a horse.

Hakama pants for men are striped or solid in subdued colors. The popular ones are the striped black and gray or dark-colored pleated skirt. While the formal attire that consists of a white under garment, black full length kimono, hakama pants and a black haori. In addition, in contrary to belief, hakama are worn by both men and women today in the Japanese shrine. Both hakama styles (skirts and pants) look exactly the same from the front and back.

More Hakama's pictures below:


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