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Kamishimo were a two piece formal ceremonial dress worn by Edo period samurai of rank at court
and during ceremonies. A less formal version was worn as everyday dress by samurai in the
Muromachi-Momoyama periods, developing into a more formal and uniform part of ceremonial dress
in the Edo period.
The two piece Kamishimo featured a kataginu, a sleeveless jacket with pleated wing-like extended
shoulder pieces, and a hakama, made in a matching pattern and color. This was worn over a knee
length kosode kimono. The hakama could be either the baggy trouser-like Umanori type, or the
skirt-like Andon type.
Kamishimo were the required dress for formal occasions, imperial court ceremonies and appearances
within the Shogun’s castle. At those times, the kamishimo were often worn with naga-bakama,
elongated hakama trailing some 60cm longer than necessary, impeding the ability to walk normally,
thus preventing attacks and assassination. Being able to walk smoothly in naga-bakama was seen as
a sign of good breeding.
Kamishimo usually featured the family crest on the upper front, and central rear of the kataginu, and
on the koshiita plate at the back of the hakama too. The costumes were made of plain weave Japanese
asa hemp or cotton cloth, and patterned with stencil print.
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