Kimono History: The Kamakura era

This relatively peaceful period gradually ended with the conflicts between various military families, ending when the Minamoto family defeated their rival the Taira. Although the actual capital remained in Kyoto the effective center of power moved to Kamakura where the shoguns took up residence, thus starting the kamakura period. Clothing changed, moving from the extremely fancy clothing of the Heian period into a much simpler form. The kimono was no longer worn by those of the samurai class.

The women of the samurai class adopted the simple white kosode of the juni-hitoe as the principal outer garment, thus changing it from an undergarment to an actual outerwear garment. The sleeves were also partially sewed up. The formal outer garment was reserved only for use on special occasions.

When traveling the women of the samurai class did not display their faces in public so they wore a headdress called an ichime-gasa. They shortened the kosodes by tying them with a sash across the chest.

Towards the end of this period full-cut trousers called hakama began to be worn by women of the military class and the court.

One of the literary sources about the clothing of this time is the Kasuga Gongen reigenki emaki which is a handpainted scroll from about 1309. This shows upper-class women wearing elaborate kosodes.

Also, paintings from this time show kosodes and a feature that later evolved into serving as a pocket (tamoto ) in later times.

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