Kazami is a lightweight top (clothing) for girls of the noble class during the Heian period.
Originally, it was worn as a garment for absorbing sweat. However, it was used as a light outerwear in children's clothing but it was made into a luxury item, and it became formal clothing for girls of noble class.
Hare no Kazami
It is a luxurious outerwear used by young girls serving as attendants in ceremonial rites of the Imperial Court.
It is long and its shape is the same as that of a military officer's outer robe called "ho" (outer robe). The collar is folded inside and worn in the tarikubi style (wrapped in the front with a V-shaped neckline). Therefore, it looks like an uchigi (ordinary kimono) when viewed from the front. However, the sides are not sewn together and it is worn so that the front is open at the chest. The front is about 3.6 m long and the back is about 4.5 m long, and when worn, both trail behind like streamers of a kite.
Because the girl wearing it is underage, it is worn by layering a shorter akome (innerwear) for girls, unlike an uchigi for grown women. It is also worn with the sleeves, which are normally made with 1.5 times the width of the fabric, folded back by about a third (this was probably done for the same purpose as tucking in the hem and the shoulders in the modern-day kimono). Hitoe (a single-layer kimono) and nagabakama (long hakama (divided skirt) whose hems trail on the ground) are purple that represents youth, instead of red. Like the sokutai (traditional ceremonial court dress) costume, a white outer hakama is worn over a women's nagabakama, which is a unique way of wearing it. This style traces back to the days before the costume became fully adapted by the Japanese Imperial Court, when women serving at the Imperial Court wore an outer hakama over the inner hakama, just as the men did.
It seems to represent the formality of the attire for girls of noble birth when they begin to serve at the Imperial Court.
When this costume was first established it had more of a neutral form, such as wearing a sekitai (a type of sash, made of leather) like men's sokutai and styling the hair in 'agemaki' (locks of hair looped and tied above the ears), a form also worn by boys. However, after the mid period of the costume's establishment the attire became closer to that of a grown woman, for example, the hair was worn in 'taregami' (long, flowing hair) style, and the sash became ateobi made of the same material as the kazami.
As opposed to the grown men's ikan (traditional formal court dress) costume, there was a way of wearing the costume called 'kazami no tonoi shozoku' (kazami costume for overnight stay at the Imperial Court), in which the outer hakama and the sash were omitted.
Ke no Kazami (informal or daily kazami)
This was an everyday wear worn by young girls of noble class. Because it was an everyday clothing information on it is virtually nonexistent. However, its form is described in Senmen Koshakyo (ancient hand-copied sutra on a fan), and a replica has been created based on that.
For the ones for summer, there is the 'yudachi' type that is open at the shoulders, as in kariginu (informal clothes worn by court nobles), and uses a cord to tie the shoulder section just as the shoulders in a jinbei (informal summer clothes for men). There is also a type that has sodekukuri (straps used to turn up the cuffs).
Kazami for modern day Shinto rituals
It developed from Hare no Kazami, and it is used in occasions varying from modern court functions to modern Shinto rituals.
It is a pale blue costume that looks like a long ho. It is worn with a futa-ai (bluish purple obtained by dyeing with both deep red and indigo blue) shitagasane (long inner robe) and an outer hakama, just as in the Heian period. However, the hakama worn underneath is not a nagabakama, but a red oguchibakama (wide-leg hakama, pleated and divided skirt made in fine stripes) just as the men do. Shigai shoes are also worn.
The hairstyle is not the old-fashioned taregami, because the hair would interfere with the activities. A style called 'agemaki' is used, in which the hair is parted and the locks of hair on the left and the right are looped and tied with red paper strings above the ears.