Jordy Delage: „The hakama is not meant to hide the footwork“

The hakama is seen in the West as the typical clothing of the samurai. Now, the hakama is originally a ceremonial garment, worn by the nobility but also by the clergy. In Japan, still today, the hakama is more emblematic of graduation, marriage and other religious ceremonies than samurai and martial arts, although it remains omnipresent, particularly in the practice of Kendo.

The one that one sees very often in samurai movies, setting in scene a ronin (samurai without master), confronted with unexpected attacks or duels. In such sequences, the samurai is often in his daily clothes and ties the legs of his hakama and the sleeves of his kimono to facilitate his movements.
And the second is the war. The upper echelons who did not concede at the front eventually wore the hakama, but most warriors were wearing armors and the hakama made no longer sense.

That being said, you will find quite interesting that Samourais in old movies such as Akira Kurosawa’s movies are wearing their Hakama very short, while in modern Jidai geki (movies) shot the past 10 or 20 years, the Hakama are much longer. Obviously, fashion has also taken over the historical movie industry!

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