Eboshi (Japanese traditional formal headwear) (烏帽子)

Eboshi was the headwear which an adult man put on when he wore a Japanese formal attire from the Heian period to modern times.


In the early days eboshi had been tailored from thin silk, but later it changed to paper coated with black lacquer. There were several kinds of eboshi according to the formality of garments and the social status of the wearer, and the proper one was strictly chosen to apply. The formality of the eboshi was lower than that of the court cap worn with formal attire, and the eboshi was worn with casual attire from the Heian period to the Muromachi period.

Eboshi is originally for men, but sometimes worn by women including Shirabyoshi (a woman who performs Japanese traditional Shirabyoushi dance).

In modern times, the type of eboshi, completely covers the head which is fixed at the chin with the kakeo strap is used often, because the mage (chignon) to fix the eboshi has been abolished. We can see it worn by a gyoji (referee) of the grand sumo tournament.

Eboshi-oya (a person who puts an eboshi on a young man's head on his ceremony of attaining manhood), Eboshi-go (a person who has an eboshi put on his head on his ceremony of attaining manhood)

The person who takes the role as a guardian for a new adult (eboshi-go) at samurai family's ceremony of attaining manhood is called "eboshi-oya." This tradition originates from the uikoburi ritual (putting a crown on a young man's head on the ceremony of attaining manhood) of the Heian period. The origin is that samurai families introduced the eboshi while the nobles with Ikai (court rank) of imperial court wore court caps. In either case, a man put a court cap or an eboshi on his head, then was accepted into adult society from that day.

Incidentally, a triangle-shaped cloth which children tied to their foreheads instead of the eboshi to imitate adults during their play in the Heian period, was added to the shroud costume in later ages to dignify the dead. However, only the color was changed from black to white which is the color of the shroud.

Variation of eboshi

Tateeboshi (eboshi with a peak): The most formal among the eboshi. It is cylindrical form squashed from either side to adjust to kariginu (informal clothes worn by court nobles), and in rare cases, noshi (everyday clothes for nobles).

Shinto priests and so on wear it even today. We can see the golden one today as a part of the garment of the chigo (child of festivity) joining a festival.

Orieboshi (folded eboshi)
Samurai eboshi (folded and black lacquered eboshi)
Momieboshi (soft, crumpled and unlacquered eboshi)

[Original Japanese]