The Differences Between Korean Traditional Clothing & Japanese Traditional Clothing

Written by chris ciolli
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The Differences Between Korean Traditional Clothing & Japanese Traditional Clothing
The kimono is perhaps the best-known traditional Japanese garment. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

While traditional Korean and Japanese clothing may look similar in some ways, traditional garments for men and women are quite different in Korean and Japanese culture. While the best-known and most common traditional garment in modern Japan is the kimono, worn by both men and women for special occasions, in Korea, the traditional garment for formal events is the hanbok. While in both cultures, there is one skirted robe-like garment for both men and women, the style and accessories used with them are different for men and women.

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Traditional Korean Clothing for Men

The hanbok is the traditional outfit men wear for festive days and special events such as weddings and funerals and is still used in villages and areas where residents live more traditionally. The upper part of the garment is narrow and the lower part, baggy trousers or a skirt, as well as the long sleeves are wide and relaxed. Historically, men wore traditional hats like samos, gats, and nambawis with their hanboks, especially in the colder winter months.

Traditional Japanese Clothing for Men

In Japan men's kimonos are usually dark subdued colours like black and for formal occasions are often worn with hakama, baggy culotte-like trousers, and a monstuki or haori, half-coats emblazoned with the wearer's family crest. With a formal kimono men wear tabi socks and geta wooden sandals. For less formal occasions, men's kimonos are usually worn belted with an obi or a sash, without the hakama. Under kimonos, men and women wear a long undergarment called the nagajuban.

Traditional Korean Clothing for Women

Women's hanboks for formal occasions are often colourful and made of luxurious fabrics coloured with natural dyes. They are typically longer, and higher-waisted than men's hanboks. The waist of the garment is often adorned with a norigae, a type of pendant that's hung from one of the waist strings. Women might also use hair ornaments like daenggi hair ribbons, and dwikkoji or binyeo hairpins. Women also wear hats with hanboks. Hats and crowns worn by women include winter caps occasionally lined with fur and ornamental crowns.

Traditional Japanese Clothing for Women

Women's kimonos for formal occasions are often made of brightly coloured silk, printed with patterns. Women's kimonos are belted with an obi or sash. The obi is held in place by the obiage and the obijime. Unmarried women wear a formal kimono called the furisode with long baggy sleeves whereas married women wear a kimono with normal sleeves. Women often wear zori or geta sandals with tabi socks with kimonos.

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