Noshi were the everyday clothes for Emperors, Crown Princes, Imperial Princes or other court nobles after Heian period (the Heian costume). The appearance the Noshi looked almost the same as Ikan (traditional formal court dress), but the original meaning of Noshi (simple clothing) was casual clothing and there were no restrictions in terms of its coloring and pattern. The common color of Noshi in Summer was navy, white in winter during the late Heian period.
Noshi originally looked like semi-formal style clothing to go with eboshi, (a type of headgear worn by nobles in court dress) it was worn with silk belt instead of a Sekitai (a type of sash). The old style Noshi can be seen on a statue of God in Izusan-jinja Shrine or Damie Karozu (Karabitsu) of MOA Museum of Art.
Noshi used to be worn with the outer jumper called 'Ho' which was not color coordinated with Noshi, it was called 'Zappo,' this was worn after obtaining permission from the Imperial Palace called 'Zappo Senshi.'
Once Seinshi was informed at the judicial office and the police and Kebiishi (judicial chief who also acted as police), ("Saigu ki"), it was allowed to enter the Imperial Palace just wearing Noshi (without wearing Zappo). However, the theory was that it was allowed to wear Noshi into the Palace on occasions such as Gosechi (Imperial ceremony held at during Heian period in Daijosai (enthronement ceremony for new emperor) and Shinjosai (the ceremony when the Emperor eats rice from a new harvest). In Medieval times it was common to tell people wearing Noshi 'come to the Palace in your Noshi costume' through a messenger instead of issuing Senshi letter (Shosoku).
People who were court nobles, (higher rank than Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank - or state councilor) were allowed to wear Noshi, but 'Zappo Shenshi' was not automatically allowed because of official rank. Wearing Noshi meant a close relationship to the Emperor, originally Noshi was allowed for maternal relatives or a lecturer in the Imperial Household to wear, ("Kinpisho"), in the Medieval period there was no strict rules as to who were allowed to wear Noshi, most of the court nobles who held their position for a few years could wear Noshi. In clans where members are eligible to become regents and chancellor, young people were allowed to wear Noshi since the Heian period, it is said the Ichijo family from the Muromachi period was allowed to wear this costume without receiving Senshi, just after having coming-of-age ceremony. Also Chusho (assistant position to Konoe fu) and Shosho (assistant position to Konoe fu, one rank below to Chusho) of Konoe fu (even tenjobito (a high ranking courtier allowed into the Imperial Palace) apart from the court nobles) were allowed to wear Noshi in the Palace without receiving Senshi since early Kamakura period, those who were not court nobles wore plain Noshi without a pattern. The color of Noshi in winter, was white outside and purple inside, and futaai (a shade of deep purple) in summer. People were allowed to wear Noshi privately at home without receiving Senshi, but permission changed to Kariginu (informal clothes worn by Court nobles) and it was rare to see people wearing Noshi at home.
In the Medieval period, Kariginu was worn by upper class court nobles, the formal headwear for court nobles and the Noshi became unpopular and it was commonly worn by people who had permission from a retired emperor to enter the retired emperor's Imperial Palace. In the Kamakura period it was common for people who's official rank was higher than Minister to wear Eboshi apart from the special occasions such as; betto of Kebiishi used while working for the Kebiishi office, or when the head of the Kajuji House of the Fujiwara clan attended their hokke hakko (a Buddhist service).
There was no need to receive Senshi to wear Warawa noshi (Noshi for the children). In the Edo period it was the official costume of 'Chigo' (a page) who did routine work in the Imperial Palace, in latter half of the Edo period, many court nobles wore Warawa noshi for the coming-of-age ceremony and they changed to ikan (traditional formal court dress) after wearing the crown.
How the costume was worn
Noshi was generally worn with Shitagasane without Kyo (a type of strings), until the 10th century, it was common to wear 'Noshi hoko' when people wore Noshi with Shitagasane underneath with Sekitai (a type of belt). On this occasion people wore a crown and Sashinuki (type of hakama). According to "The Tale of Genji" (suzumushi or cricket) there was a casual style wearing Shitagoromo without wearing Sekitai. According to records from the 11th century, there was a style called 'Noshi Sokutai' where people wore Noshi, Shitagasane, ue no hakama, Sekitai. This style was used by the children of people with high rank at the coming-of-age ceremony, but there was no record of this style being used since the end of the Heian period. Noshi hoko was last used with Kobai (light pink) Noshi by Yoshimochi ASHIKAGA in the middle of the Muromachi period, (this example was probably considered as old fashioned), there were almost no other examples, but one historical article (Tsukyo (Michie) koki which mentioned that Retired Emperor Sakuramachi used it for a Buddhist service (for the dead).
The order of garments worn with Noshi costume was to wear undershirts with shita bakama, sashinuki, hitoe, kinu and Noshi. Kinu means Akome to wear with Sokutai, there was a theory that Kinu was made longer than Akome. The whole costume is completed by wearing eboshi and carrying a fan. Originally it was not allowed to enter the Imperial Palace wearing a Noshi costume except for some aides who had special permission from the emperor to do so.
During this time those people had to wear a crown instead of wearing eboshi. (this style is called 冠直衣 - Crown and Noshi style.)
冠直衣 style was worn not only for the occasion on entering the Palace, but also for special occasions when people wear their best clothes such as when participating in other people's coming-of-age ceremony or going to a Buddhist service.
《the details are mentioned in above section》
In recent years, the hitoe and the kinu were worn together with Ikan, Noshi, Kariginu as formal style, or sometimes these clothes were worn directly on top of Kosode (a kimono with short sleeves worn as underclothing by the upper classes), or Sashiko (Kiribakama made from same fabric as Sashinuki) was worn instead of wearing Sashinuki. There was a record from the late Muromachi period stating that Shita bakama was worn at the coming-of-ceremony for Imperial Princes, but it became uncommon to wear them in the middle of the Edo period, they were only worn in formal style together with Hitoe.
The Emperor's Noshi was usually called Ohiki Noshi and the length of the bottom part of the Noshi was longer than other Noshi. At this time the Kinu and Hitoe worn as undershirts were long length shirts similar to the one's for woman, and the Hakama was Nagabakama with light pink color. The color and the pattern for Noshi was as follows.
The undershirts were,
Naga no onzo was white or light pink with koaoi mon (a type of an arabesque pattern) aya (figure cloth) and the lining was the same color with hirahinu (plain silk) fabric. Hitoe was with kurenai shigehishimon aya which was generally used for men's clothes. The Naga no onzo and the Hitoe in the modern times have pointy shaped sleeves similar to those for men, both sides were open at the bottom, they were stitched only thirty centimeters from the bottom of the clothes. In summer it was worn without Onzo or worn with Hikihegi (a type of Hitoe and the pattern was same as Kinu) without lining.
The Hakama was with 'nejimachi' which was the same as Nagabakama for women, in formal style it was with Kurenai koaoi mon aya (a type of an arabesque pattern figured cloth with light pink color) on the surface and the lining was a light pink color with plain silk fabric.
In semi-formal style, it was a light pink color with plain silk and made by 'Hikikaeshi jitate.' (the outside and inside of the sleeves were made with one piece of fabric
muso jutate (a kimono with a lining of the same fabric)
In the modern times there was an example of Noshi, which was the same style as for women, but without ryugo decorations at the end of the strings.
The Emperor often wore '御短 noshi' (on age noshi) (short length noshi). Hakama had a purple color and weaving with raised designs called 'Kaniarare' for Sashinuki. There was another Hakama, 'Koguchi bakama' which was similar to Sashinuki of 紅小葵文綾 being used.
Examples of color and patterns after the Medieval period
The Emperor wore shiro koaoimon kataji aya (white firm silk cloth with a pattern). The lining was purple (in modern times, Yamashina style futaai (a shade of deep purple, Takakura style suo - dark red) plain silk. The retired emperor sometimes wore Noshi made with a special elegant fabric, but generally it was same as court noble's Noshi, such as shiro fusenryo marumon kataji aya. The lining was the same fabric as those for subjects. The Crown Prince's Noshi was shiro koaoimon kataji aya (white firm silk cloth with pattern).
However in the modern times, the Emperor's ogata koaoi and the Crown Prince's koaoi chugata was with special pattern and it had a slightly different shape from the koaoi which the subject used for akome (a type of inner shirts).
Imperial Prince's colors and the patterns were the same as those for subjects, sometimes the pattern with a round chrysanthemum mark was being used for the hereditary Imperial family in the modern times.
The court nobles
White fusenryo marumon kataji aya in winter
The older people wore Noshi with a larger pattern. The lining was silk. Younger people with purple color, the older people with blue purple color, hanada (light blue), asagi (light yellow) with silk fabric. The elderly people with white silk fabric.
Children before having coming-of-age ceremony
Shiro koaoimon kataji aya (white firm silk cloth with pattern) in winter. The lining was purple silk fabric.
In summer all the Imperial members, court nobles, and the children wore kome ori (a type of silk gauze) with mie dauski (a diamond-shaped pattern), for the older people, they wore light blue and light yellow, the elderly people with white silk fabric.
There were various type of Noshi in "Utsuho monogatari" (The Tale of the Hollow Tree), 'Sakura Noshi' (white on outside and the lining was purple or other red or similar color) was often used in "Makura no soshi" (The Pillow Book), Futaai or light blue Noshi was often used in "Genji monogatari" (The Tale of Genji), we can imagine that the popular color which became common in the later years, was the latest in fashion at around the end of the 10th century. There are many exceptions in later periods, the famous ones are kobai (light pink) Noshi which was worn by FUJIWARA no Tadanazain the period of the cloistered governments and also worn by ASHIKAGA Yoshimochi and his favorite Noshi in early Muromachi period.