Tanzen (丹前)

Tanzen is a thickly padded winter garment of Japanese style. It is also called Dotera.

It was first became popular among servants of a Hatamoto samurai and then widely spread among the general public.

The Tanzen is shaped just like a padded haori (a Japanese half-coat) having wide sleeves and worn by tying front strings. In addition, the collar and lower part of sleeves are hemmed with a different cloth. It is commonly made of gaudily striped cloth and this design is called Tanzen stripe.

The Tanzen is said to originally come from garments worn by Katsuyama (yujo (a prostitute)), a popular yujo of red-light district Yoshiwara.

Katsuyama was formally a yuna (a prostitute in a bathhouse) in a bathhouse in Kanda, Edo (Chiyoda Ward). Located in front of hantei (residence maintained by a daimyo in Edo) of the Hori clan, the bath house was called "Tanzenburo bathhouse." In the Tanzenburo bathhouse, a place in connection with Katsuyama, yuna wishing to follow Katsuyama worn clothes quite similar to hers. Servants of a Hatamoto samurai who often visited it competed their elegance by wearing haori similar to the clothes of yuna's. In this way, "Tanzen" became a name of a kind of haori.

The Tanzen style--the way men like these servants of a Hatamoto samurai, and later kyokaku (a professional gambler in the Edo period) casually worn gaudily striped Tanzen and a wide Tanzen obi sash. This style became a kind of a fashion.

Shozaemon TAMON was a Kabuki actor who often played an role of kyokaku on Kabuki stages. He gained a great popularity because he worn this Tanzen--which was popular in those days--and leisurely went in and out of passage through audience to stage showing a swaggering walk. There was no end to the number of men who worn Tanzen and walked around in town leisurely following the popularity of this tanzen roppo (a swaggering walk). Such men were also called "Tanzen."

[Original Japanese]