Graduation ceremonies are held at many schools in Japan in March, and it is common to see people wearing ‘hakama’ at this time of the year. In particular, college students often wear ‘hakama’ to their graduation ceremonies. A pant-like garment worn over the kimono and on the lower half of the body, the ‘hakama’ is an indispensable piece of traditional clothing for Japanese men. Since ancient times, men in Japan had worn pant-like garments that split into two separate halves. This gradually evolved into what we now identify as the ‘hakama,’ which has been passed down as part of Japanese tradition throughout the country. In particular, the ‘hakama’ is a formal attire for men that is widely worn at special events such as coming-of-age ceremonies and weddings.
Besides men, women also wear ‘hakama’ on occasions such as entrance and graduation ceremonies. This tradition is said to be a remnant of the Meiji period (1868-1912), when women wore ‘hakama’ as their school uniforms. Although it is rare to see women wearing ‘hakama’ to school these days, the custom of wearing them at graduation ceremonies and other formal school events remains deeply rooted among women today. Boots were also popular in the Meiji period as a result of the influence of Western culture, and even today, you will still see some students wearing boots instead of wooden sandals at their graduation ceremonies.
There are stores in Taito City where you can rent a ‘hakama.’ You can try renting it at HANAKA or Aiwafuku. In fact, a photograph of you wearing a ‘hakama’ in Asakusa or other uniquely Japanese spots will make a wonderful souvenir!
Click the following links if you wish to know more about HANAKA or Aiwafuku!