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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

The principal were the hakama and the koromo


*B.

H. Chamberlain.

**In China the case was different. There, garments made of skins or covered with feathers were worn in remote antiquity before the art of weaving had become known. The Records recount that in the age of the Kami "there came" (to Japan) "riding on the crest of the waves, a kami dressed in skins of geese," and this passage has been quoted as showing that skins were used for garments in Japan. But it is pointed out by Japanese commentators that this Kami Sukuna-bikona is explicitly stated to have come from a foreign country, and that if the passage warrants any inference, it is that the visitor's place of departure had been China.

As to the form of the garments worn, the principal were the hakama and the koromo. The hakama was a species of divided skirt, used by men and women alike. It has preserved its shape from age to age, and is to-day worn by school-girls throughout Japan. The koromo was a tunic having tight sleeves reaching nearly to the knees. It was folded across the breast from right to left and secured by a belt of cloth or silk tied round the loins. Veils also were used by both sexes, one kind (the katsugi) having been voluminous enough to cover the whole body. "Combs are mentioned, and it is evident that much attention was devoted to the dressing of the hair."* Men divided theirs in the middle and bound it up in two bunches, one over each ear. Youths tied theirs into a top-knot; girls

wore their locks hanging down the back but bound together at the neck, and married ladies "dressed theirs after a fashion which apparently combined the last two methods." Decoration of the head was carried far on ceremonial occasions, gems, veils, and even coronets being used for the purpose. "There is no mention in any of the old books of cutting the hair or beard except in token of disgrace; neither do we gather that the sexes, but for this matter of head-dress, were distinguished by a diversity of apparel or ornamentation."*

*B. H. Chamberlain.

FOOD AND DRINK

Rice was the great staple of diet in ancient, as it is in modern, times. The importance attaching to it is shown by the fact that the Sun goddess herself is represented as engaging in its cultivation and that injuring a rice-field was among the greatest offences. Barley, millet, wheat, and beans are mentioned, but the evidence that they were grown largely in remote antiquity is not conclusive. The flesh of animals and birds was eaten, venison and wild boar being particularly esteemed. Indeed, so extensively was the hunting of deer practised that bows and arrows were often called kago-yumi and kago-ya (kago signifies "deer"). Fish, however, constituted a much more important staple of diet than flesh, and fishing in the abundantly stocked seas that surround the Japanese islands was largely engaged in. Horses and cattle were not killed for food. It is recorded in the Kogo-shui that the butchering of oxen to furnish meat for workers in a rice-field roused the resentment of a Kami called Mitoshi. There does not appear to have been any religious or superstitious scruple connected with this abstention: the animals were spared simply because of their usefulness. Vegetables occupied a large space in the list of articles of food. There were the radish, the cabbage, the lotus, the melon, and the wild garlic, as well as as several kinds of seaweed. Salt was used for seasoning, the process of its manufacture having been familiar from the earliest times. Only one kind of intoxicating liquor was ever known in Japan until the opening of intercourse with the Occident. It was a kind of beer brewed* from rice and called sake. The process is said to have been taught by Sukuna, who, as shown above, came to Japan from a foreign country--probably China--when the Kami, Okuni-nushi, was establishing order in the Japanese islands.


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