As sakura trees begin to fully bloom, we are now entering a new season. With this, university students all around Japan are graduating and ready to contribute to the Japanese workforce.
Similar to other Asian countries, Japan has its own beautiful traditional clothing for graduation events, called hakama, which is a pant-like garment that is worn over a kimono.
Kimono VS Hakama
You might be more familiar with the traditional kimono. As you may have seen in pictures, kimono is a dress-like formal traditional Japanese clothing with mainly floral patterns. It hangs from your shoulders and tied around the waist with a belt called obi. Kimono can be worn all-year round for a number of occasion, such as weddings, funerals, and coming of age day.
Different to kimono, where women used to wear them everyday and can also be worn nowadays for a nice stroll around traditional districts like Kyoto, hakama is only worn by female during graduation ceremonies. While men used to wear them as well, male students today tend to wear suit during graduation for easier mobility.
Perfect for International Students
With a surge of international students in Japan today, hakama is also often worn during graduation ceremonies by female international students who wants to hold on to the memory of their student life in Japan. Due to the modest nature of Japanese traditional clothings, hakama is perfect for Muslim students, who do not need to modify the outfit except to add a hijab.
Where to Get Hakama?
As an international student, we will probably have a very few chance of wearing hakama. Thus, it might be best to look for a kimono and hakama rental store a few weeks before your graduation. We guarantee you will get all the information you need if you ask your university’s co-op center.
Hakama and kimono are usually rented for a whole day for about 20,000 yen each ($200) and the shop that rents them will help you putting them on during your graduation day. If you ask, they will even do your hair and make up for you for a little extra. All you need to do is find your favorite style and pattern, rent it, and you’re good to go! We guarantee you won’t regret wearing hakama on your special day.
For those who got the chance to wear hakama this year, we would love to see your pictures. You can send them to our instagram here. For those who are looking forward to their graduation day, we wish you all the best for your journey ahead.