Formal Male Kimono – Parts of a Kimono

Kimonos are a major portion of Japanese culture and history. Most people know of them, and probably have seen one or two on the odd occasion (mostly on TV or in a movie). So here I present to you, a close up look at a formal Male Kimono. Here I will try to explain and order then for you as to explain how they go.

Please note though, that am I in no means an expert at dressing in a kimono. I have only worn a kimono twice in my life, and both times have been in the past 2 days. Though it this post I won’t describe how to dress in one. This is only a post about the parts of a formal guys Kimono.

Before we get started, this is how I look in my kimono. Sadly, it’s poorly on as it was my first attempt (which took me an hour to figure out … especially with all three belts I used).

Peter in a formal Kimono

Explanations and details after the jump

We start out with the simplest of all pieces: the footwear. There are two pieces Tabi and Geta. Tabi are the cool ninja like socks (Yes they’re actually socks). Geta are the sandle like .. sandles. Their Geta, not much to say about em.

First the Geta. Geta, like anything, come in many styles, shapes and colors. I chose some cheapo ones off of ebay and they seem to work well. For the most part, Geta are rectangular shaped though they don’t have to be. Also, they all have one strap holding your foot on. This strap goes across the front/top of your foot and in between your big toe and 2nd toe. Rather comfortable. There are similar type sandles in Walmart/k-mart ect buy they’re not Geta. This is what my Geta look like: “bamboo/straw” top with a white foam bottom.

Geta

Tabi are the socks that go with Geta. They’re rather ninja like and uber comfortable. To say that they are just uber comfortable is a big understatement though. Think of putting you feet into a nice warm padded wool sock, that doesn’t itch or any annoying wool crap, and your feet stay a comfortable warm and don’t sweat. They also bent with your foot so you never really have to take them off either! Perfect for everything. Not only are they the most comfortable socks you’ll ever wear they fit on your foot like a shoe! First lets see how they look inside and out.

Tabi - outside Tabi - inside

Ninja no? Now see the gold-ish (not really gold) pin thingies? Those are little pins/tabs that fit into slots on the Tabi in-order for it to nicely form around your ankle. Makes for a very great feeling and fit! There are two slots, kinda like on a nice shirt. One for a closer fit, one for a looser fit. Here is a close-up for the pins.

Tabi - tabs

And here is how Tabi and Geta fit together. This a rough fit of course because no foot is in there.

Tabi plus Geta

Kimonos come in many many pieces. The average males kimono is about 5 pieces, can be more for formal occasions. A female’s kimono can have 14+ pieces, scary! Thankfully I’m wearing a guys Kimono, and no having strange ideas out there! You know who you are. Stop that ‘thinking’ thing, you’re doing enough damage to the world as it is.

Kimono’s, at least nice ones, are made of silk. And rather nice silk at that. Thus, we wouldn’t want our dirty mortal bodies touching such ordained possessions. Under all kimonos is a undershirt type gown called “nagajuban” or just “juban” for short. Please pardon the poor coloring on this photo. I only noticed the photo had poor lighting after all was said and done. Well, the Juban is actually a fine white silk … usually. Mine is a slight off white and not yellow at the poor photograph shows. Juban are worn under everything. Only the juban comes in contact with the body as it is the cheapest and easier replace.

Juban

Right on-top of the juban goes the actual kimono. The kimono is generally long, as long as the juban. My kimono is a simple dark grey/blue one. It has the family crest, not my family of course, on three parts of the back.

Kimono -backKimono -front

Over the bottom portion of the kimono goes a Hakama. A hakama is almost required for formal occasions … of course that depends what type of formal occasion it is. Though usually you (men) will wear one for formal occasions. I couldn’t get a good picture of mine, so I ‘borrowed’ some. Note: The one pictured here, and the one I got are not made of silk. They are usually not made from silk because they get dirty very easily, duh.

Guy with hakamahakama flat

To add a good sense of formality, we add a Haori. It’s like a jacket, yet not. It’s also made of silk, so yey for that! Of course this goes over the top portion of the kimono, for those who couldn’t figure out where a jacket goes. I actually have two Haori. One for formality and the other as an extra and to add a little bit more spunk. The ‘nicer’ one, the one with the designs on it is the one that goes directly over the kimono. The extra Haori is very simple and no designs on it except for the family crest.

Haori extraHaori frontHaori design close up

Now how does all this tie together? Simple: belts. And lot of em. There are no buttons on a kimono as it would destroy the smooth and flowing image. Thus, everything is tied with belts. There are actually several types of belts. There are ones you use just for tieing random stuff together, a belt to tie a juban and kimono to you, a belt for fashion … the list goes on somewhat, especially for women. Pictured below are two types of belts. The white simple ones are Koshi Himo, and the black with white stripes is a men’s Kaku Obi. This is a rather stiff sash/belt. And long … I can wrap this thing around 6 times around by 32 inch waist! The only think I can’t figure out about the Obi is that does it go over or under the hakama? That I don’t know yet.

hoshihimoKaku Obi

The last piece I’ll talk about today is the Haori Tie. No special name that I know of yet. It is a VERY formal decorative piece. It is tied to two small loops in the front of the Haori (not pictured).

Tie

Well … those are the basic parts of a man’s kimono. Hope you learned something!

Cheers,

–PK

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  • Norbert

    Those ninja socks are really cool! Except for the split toe thing… not sure how comfortable that is.

    And here I considered learning how to tie a tie or bow as complicated enough, you need to go and raise the stakes. Go figure.

    Overall, very cool. But where are the swords?

  • mike

    very good explanation clears some things up. I did have one question though, if you can get back to me where does the sword fit i noticed there is no belt. since it was common practice for samurai to where swords at all times was just curious where they attatched if there was a seperate belt to bind em or if they tucked em in the side of the hakama where its open.

  • http://www.piotrkrzyzek.com Terran4000

    The swords can go under the sash. If you wish, you can get a separate belt just for holding the sheath then have that under the obi.

  • dani

    hi i am trying to figure out how to wear my kimono and hakama. your page has been very helpful. But since the kimono is long, doesn't it bunch up when you put on the hakama?

  • http://www.PiotrKrzyzek.com Piotr Krzyzek

    Hey Dani,

    Your right, the kimono is long. But when you put on the hakama it doesn't bunch up, if it does then there is something wrong. It'll get squished a bit yeah, but not bunched up.

    All you do is put the hakama on from the bottom and tie the back first. This helps to keep it up and aligned right. Then, just fix your kimono to flow nicely inside. And then finish tieing it all up.

    If that doesn't work out well for you, try putting the hakama by putting it over your head. Oh course, it'll only work if you have a hakama like that one I have. If you have one with 'pant legs' (lets call them that for now) then you have no choice put to go feet first.

    IF you do have the two legged version, like pants, then you have several options:

    * get a shorter kimono
    * loosen your kimono so that is can nicely split below the belt to fit into the pant legs.

    Though I've never had a problem with either, things just seem to flow nicely in a kimono setup :)

    Hope that helps.
    –PK

  • p. jones

    I love the kimono you are wearing with the black striped pants. Please tell me where to purchase it.
    P. Jones

  • ken

    putting on a kimono is really complicated, apparently even Japanese girls have to take classes just to learn how to put it on correctly
    http://www.japansugoi.com/wordpress/japanese-tv-commercial-for-kimono-wearing-lessons/

    • http://www.piotrkrzyzek.com Piotr Krzyzek

      Holy moly! That’s a bit insane. Didn’t know there were complete classes for it, yikes!

  • ?????

    The tie for the haori does have a name it’s a ???? (Haori-himo)

    • http://www.piotrkrzyzek.com Piotr Krzyzek

      Awesome! Thanks for letting us know! I never knew it was that name.