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HAKAMA and Female Students

In the Meiji (明治) and the Taisho (大正) era, Hakama (袴, divided skirts over Kimono) was a standard outfit for female students. 

The root of Hakama can be seen on Haniwa (埴輪, ancient terracotta figures from the Kofun period) wearing it which are more like broad pants. In the Heian (平安) era, noble women wore Hakama under Juni-hitoe (十二単衣, 12 layered Kimono).

Back in the days of Samura (侍), Hakama were used as dress uniforms for Samurai worriers. In the Edo (江戸) era, women were banned to wear Hakama by the strict regulations based on titles and the gender. Maids at the Imperial Court were the only exception.

As Western culture was introduced in the Meiji era, teachers and students began to wear Western clothes. Along with that, people started to wear Hakama which provide more comfortable movement than Kimono, and girls in Hakama became a symbolic icon of the new era. However, as sailor collared uniforms came into fashion, Hakama began to regarded as old-fashioned.

Today, once again, Hakama has become a standard outfit for female students’ graduation ceremonies. The time goes around.

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