monpe (womens work pants) (もんぺ)
Monpe is a pair of work pants for women and a sort of "hakama" (a formal divided skirt for men) in Japan. They're characterized by loose-fitting waistline and drawstring hem around ankles, and suitable for activities as one can tuck in one's hem of kimono or outerwear. They're also called moppe or monpei.
It's said that the origin of the word is "momohiki" (drawers).
They're usually made of fabrics, such as wisteria, kudzu, hemp and so on. In ancient times, they were also made of leather, but later on, they're mostly made of cotton. They were once worn as yamabakama over a kimono for works and daily activities in the regions like Tohoku, but during the Pacific War, Ministry of Health and Welfare started 'Monpe promotion activity' and they were encouraged by Women's Club and such. With the deterioration of the war, women were obliged and nearly forced to wear them to defend themselves from air raids (Men were already issued the designated "kokuminfuku" (national uniform) before that). Strong fabrics such as striped cotton and indigo cloth with splashed patterns were used, and for special occasions, silk cloths made-over from ordinary kimono, were also used (Due to the regulation of fabrics in wartime, people had to make over Japanese-style clothing). Along with the fire at Shirokiya department store, wearing monpe was also a cause of the spread of bloomers. Even now, monpe are sold as mobile work clothes.
Sometimes monpe are used as a synonym of the poor citizen's life during the war because of the history that they were nearly forced to wear by the nation. A singer, Noriko AWAYA was famous for performing with stage costumes instead of monpe while she did entertaining performances in battle fields and was the cause of falling into disgrace with the authorities.