Montsuki Haori Hakama (Japanese formal attire for men) (紋付羽織袴)

"Montsuki Haori Hakama" is a Japanese traditional costume that is commonly regarded as the most formal attire for men at present. It is a combination of crested nagagi (a full-length Japanese garment), hakama (a pleated and divided Japanese skirt for men) and crested haori (a Japanese traditional half coat).

In the Edo period, people of samurai society wore it as simplified formal attire, which became the most formal wear for men of common people in the middle of the Edo period, and which became further popular as a formal garment in the Meiji period when the government designated 'black haori hakama bearing five family crests' as official formal attire by the decree of the Grand Council of State.

Since the decree's provision to wear a decoration stipulated this attire as the first class formal costume, it is now generally regarded as formal Japanese clothes. But, since it had originally been no more than simplified formal wear, people of traditional religions and arts of performance do not necessarily consider Montsuki Haori Hakama formal. Also, since the provision did not allow this costume to bear medals of the first order of merit or higher one, Montsuki Haori Hakama is regarded as lower than a swallow-tailed coat, the most formal western clothes and equivalent to a frock coat or morning coat, the second class formal western clothes.

Meanwhile, formal clothes of the people of samurai society in the Edo period depended on their official ranks, ranging from hitatare, kariginu, daimon (worn by a feudal lord as seen in the drama "Chushingura") and suo (worn by lower ranks than Hatamoto or direct retainers of the shogun, as seen on the stages of Noh, Kyogen and other plays.)
In any case, these formal clothes had little to do with the people other than samurai.

In the beginning of the Edo period, any kind of nagagi (full-length kimono garment) could be worn under haori, but now kuro-montsuki (black crested garment) is commonly worn. People wear kimono garment and haori coat, both bearing crest marks on right and left spots of a breast part and sleeves and on a back as well, are worn on the occasion of such prestigious events as a celebration, a name-taking ceremony, a funeral and an exchange of betrothal gifts.


Haori is made up of black habutae silk cloth and five family crest marks on it.

Official crest marks are dyed by leaving the pattarns undyed on its black field, while sewn crest marks are informal.

White flat braids are used for haori for the most formal case, but round braids and other type braids as well as other color of the braids are acceptable. It is just a convention practiced after the Meiji period to use braids of color in the grey range on the occation of funerals. Braids are tied in front of the pit of the stomach, putting clusters over, while flower tie and other tying methods are informal.

Nagagi (montsuki, a crested full-length garment) is made up of black habutae silk cloth and five crest marks on it.

Official crest marks are dyed by leaving the patterns undyed on its black field, while sewn crest marks are informal.

During the summer season, people may wear nagagi and haori, both made of ro (gauze) or sha (silk gauze) fabrics.

People may sometimes wear crested garments of other colors than black as casual clothings.

Belt: Kakuobi (a stiff sash for men)

Hakama (a formal pleated and divided skirt for men)

Usually, silk fabrics of broad-striped pattern like Sendai-hira (a kind of silk fabrics for men's hakama skirts) are used to make hakama skirts for men, while plain hakama is regarded as informal.

Today, it is allowed for men to wear both umanori-bakama (a kind of hakama skirt of horse-riding style) and andon-bakama (a kind of hakama skirt of tubular type), but men in nature are supposed to wear umanori-bakama.

Tabi (Japanese digitated socks): Only white tabi socks can be worn for this Montsuki Haori Hakama style.

Footwear: Only setta (Japanese traditional sandals) with white thongs can be worn for this style.

Sensu (a folding fan): White-ground sensu is held by a wearer of this garment.


On the occasion of a ceremonial exchange of betrothal gifts

On the occasion of a wedding ceremony

This attire is worn by the groom, fathers of the bridal couple, guests and others.

On the occasion of a ceremony for announcement of somebody's succession to a professional name

For example, rakugo-ka (a comic story teller) wears this attire on the occasion of a ceremony for announcement of his succession to the new name.

On the occasion of ozumo (a grand sumo tournament)

Sekitori (sumo wrestlers ranked in the top two divisions) wear this attire as their formal dress, as well as shinpan-in (shobu-shinpan, or ringside judges who may claim their objection against referee's decision) wear it.

On the occasion of a funeral

The color of braids of haori coat is equally white as in the case of auspicious events, but some customs allow to use black or grey braids for a funeral.

In the case of rakugo-ka (a comic story teller)

Rakugo-ka (a comic story teller) is allowed to wear this attire after he gets a promotion of two stages.

Appositional formal dress

Morning coat

Tail coat

Tomesode (a married woman's formal kimono)

[Original Japanese]