帽子【Head Coverings】

It seems that humans began to use some form of head covering as soon as they came to realize that the sun was too hot, or the rain uncomfortable. In Japan, it was the same. Probably the first hats in Japan were made of rush leaves to cover a large area and called Kasa from Kazasu – hold up. Bamboo and straw were also used. Later, cloth came to be used with cotton, hemp, wool and silk being popular.


Some of the coverings were called: Tsunokakushi, made of silk gauze and worn by brides to show a trusting wife by covering the horns of jealousy which were supposed to be obvious in wives. Tenugui, worn by many people in the old days for hats by workers and others; for wrapping becoming the Fukusa, carrying, to be the oh, and gifts. The towels given as gifts today are a result of the Tenugui.


The Hachimaki, a kind of cotton head cloth worn by people to indicate that they are going to exert great effort in doing something, like studying; The Sentobo, worn during wartime, called combat caps were also a very common type of cover for the head. Of course, steel hats were made for warriors and leather for common soldiers to wear, but in ancient times when samurai wore the chon-mage and ladies wore huge hair styles, hats became unpopular.


After the Meiji Restoration, however, western hats gained great popularity, even being worn with the kimono. One of these hats was the derby, a round hat with a brim, that was seen everywhere a few years ago. I saw thousands of them when I first came to Japan about 35 years ago. Today, we almost never see them. Times do change and customs change with them.


What is very interesting is that in the United States, animal skins were used for a long time. Even the tall hats worn by great gentlemen were made of beaver skins. Of course, hunters wore beaver-skin hats too, but they looked like beavers and were not neat. These top hats were fashionable then, and still are for very formal occasions. Do you remember Japan’s hats?

アメリカの帽子は、長い間動物の皮を使用して作ってきたという点で、非常にユニークだと思います。立派な紳士がかぶる高い帽子もビーバーの皮で作られています。 もちろん、狩師もビーバーの皮で作った帽子をかぶっていましたが、まるでビーバーの剥製のようで、洗練されているとは言い難いものでした。当時、シルクハットはとてもファッショナブルなもので、今なお公式な場面で着用されています。皆さんは日本の帽子についてどれぐらいご存じですか。

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