Hinohakama (緋袴)

Hinohakama (scarlet hakama (divided trouser-like skirt)) (also known as 'hibakama') is also called 'Kutenai no hakama' (Red hakama) because of its deep scarlet color and to indicate the red thread used in the hakama. Even to this day it is the costume worn by shrine maidens.

The 'uchi bakama', 'hari-bakama' forms of the hakama (divided trouser-like skirt) were the original forms of the hakama worn formally by court ladies in the Heian period. The hakama itself was worn high on the waist and then a cord tied front and back around the waist then secured by hooking on the right side and allowing the cord to hang down.

However, during Meiji period times, the educator Utako SHIMODA invented a hakama ('andon' hakama) for female students that incorporated more inner garment spaces than the men's version that lacked a gusset and, that was easier to put on and take off. After gaining popularity, an 'andon' version of the scarlet red hakama was also made. Most of the scarlet red hakama worn these days are orthodox 'andon' hakama.

Colors vary widely depending on the redness of the thread: from vermillion through to deep violet.

However, safflower dyes were expensive and associated with the idea of fire so, were from time to time subject to prohibition edicts but, this made no difference. In the year 917, Kiyoyuki MIYOSHI published an opinion piece included in 'Seiji Yoryaku' (examples of Heian period politics) where he mentions dissatisfaction with the scarlet hakama fad.
In general, the hakama worn by ladies at court etc were said to have been scarlet hakama and, the shade of the garment differed according to the age of the wearer. Very young females (little girls in Heian period Japan, unmarried adult women in the Edo period) did not wear red but instead, wore hakama of deep violet.

Currently as well, costumes worn at court and the costumes of temple maidens retain vestiges of this custom.

Whether it was because red was avoided due to an association between misfortune or good luck, bright orange hakama were worn.

Bright orange also has associations with forgetting so, is worn to convey a sense of healing the sorrow of separations. Also, during the Heian period when people moved house, to ward off 'fire' white hakama were worn instead of red however, by the end of the Kamakura period, this practice seems to have died out.
As with the hakama worn when performing religious tasks, the hakama is adorned with a cord. From the front it can't be determined if the cord is knotted however, this can be seen from the back. Also, even with the same scarlet hakama, the cheap costume dress-up version often omits the cord accessory.