The Kikujin no Ho (Surrey green round-necked robe) (麹塵袍)

The 'Kikujin no ho' is a kind of Sokutai (a traditional ceremonial court dress) that was worn by the emperor at small ceremonies, including special festivals such as Teiza (a festival in which the emperor would be seated in a garden), Noriyumi (betting on archery), and Yuba Hajime (imperial ceremony held to celebrate the first arrow to be shot at the Noriyumi).

Kikujin' is the color of Aspergillus oryzae. There are various views on the color including yellow and green; according to the description in the "Hakushimonju" ("Bai-Shi Wen Ji," a collection of poems by Hakkyoi, a famous Chinese poet), the color is the green shoots of a willow in spring. Found in various literature of the early Heian period, the color is the same as the 'aoshira-tsurubami' (grayish Surrey green color) and also called as 'aoiro' (blue) and 'yamabatoiro' (grayish Surrey green color).


The Kikujin no ho was worn by an emperor, a crown prince, a Daijo tenno (a retired emperor), a vassal after the early Heian period. Especially at Naien (private dinner) in the new year and Nogyoko (hawking or picnic that an emperor went out for a pastime), an emperor wore Akashira-tsurubami (grayish red color) and a vassal wore Aoshira-tsurubami. It seems the Kikujin no ho was put on regardless of Ikai (Court rank) at a gala ceremony such as Toka no sechi-e (an Imperial Court Ceremony). In the late Heian period, since these ceremonies became less popular, there were no occasions that vassals wore the Kikujin no ho together.

Example in wearing of an emperor

An example after the late Heian period shows an emperor wore the Kikujin no ho on limited occasions such as the Kamo and Iwashimizu special festival.

According to a literature of early Muromachi period, the pattern was the Kiri, take, hoo mon (the design of paulownia, bamboo and phoenix), which was the same as Korozen no goho (a cloth that an emperor put on when he or she performed an important ritual), and the pattern was first weaved and then dyed.

The Kikujin no ho was discontinued after the special festivals were suspended, but it revived in the Edo period with the revival of the special festivals.

After that, yarn-dyed Kataorimono (hard woven) with green warp and yellow weft and the pattern, which was just the same shape and size as the Korozen no goho was used. After the mid-early modern times, while in the conventional ho (outer robe) the back of cloths was used for outside, in the Aoiro no goho (Surrey green round-necked robe) the front side was used for outside. For lining cloth, the Yamashina family and the Takakura family used Ki hiraginu (yellow plain silk) and Suo hiraginu (dark red plain silk) respectively. Even in the summer, sha (silk gauze) was not used and simply tailored similarly to the Kataorimono worn in the winter.

Example in wearing of a crown prince

A crown prince put on the Kikujin no ho at Odokusho hajime (the first reading performed when the son of a high-ranking family reached to the age of seven or eight). In the early-modern times, Ukiorimono (woven with raised designs) with green warp and yellow weft and the Eno-marumon (the design of mandarin duck making circle) similar to the Oni no ho (a cloth which a crown prince puts on in a ritual) was used.

In the early-modern times, it was found from their relics that an emperor and a crown prince wore the Kikujin no ho made from the Ukiorimono with the design of long-tailed cock and arabesque with peony flowers and leaves similar to that of Kurodo (Chamberlain, to be described later) and a belt made from the same cloths.

Example in wearing of a retired emperor

A retired emperor dressed in the Kikujin no ho when he or she received Gyoko (an imperial visit) from the late Heian period and the Kamakura period.

In the early-modern times, cloths with green warp and yellow weft and the design of arabesque with chrysanthemum flowers were used, and were supplied together with red round-necked robe and grayish round-necked robe.

Example in wearing of a vassal

For the example in wearing of a vassal, the use of Rokui no Kurodo (Chamberlain of Sixth Rank) is the representative.

After the medieval period, the Ukiorimono with the design of long-tailed cock and arabesque with peony flowers and leaves was used.

While the Kikujin no ho was worn with the Sokutai (traditional ceremonial court dress), Hoko (an outer robe and a Hakama, loose-legged pleated trousers) and Ikan (traditional formal court dress) in the late Heian period, it was mostly worn with the Sokutai in the early-modern times.

It was because the Rokui no Kurodo wore the Hoko or Ikan for the rare occasion and attended at the court usually with the Sokutai.

In the medieval period, there was a custom that three out of four Rokui no Kurodo could wear the Kikujin no ho at the Gyoko. In the early-modern times, however, only a Gokuro (the head chamberlain of the Rokui no Kurodo) dressed in it.

When an emperor or retired emperor put on the Kikujin no ho, Kurodo did not wear it with respect for them.

Also in recent times, at Chokin no Gyoko (New Year's visit to the Imperial Palace) in the Keian era, a minister dressed in the Kikujin no ho.

In the modern age, with the abolition of the special festivals and the system of the Rokui no Kurodo, nobody, including an emperor, wears the Kikujin no ho any more.

[Original Japanese]