Mozu-Furu Q&A Vol.05

What did people wear in the Kofun Period?

On the upper body, they wore kimono-like garments that overlapped at the front. Below this, men wore baggy trousers like the Japanese hakama, while women wore a long skirt-like garment called "mo". Kofun Period people also had distinctive hairstyles. For men, the hair would be coiled together and tied behind the ears, called "mizura". For women, the hair would be bundled up in a bun, like the "shimada mage" style used in later times.
Clothing in the Kofun Period has been researched from haniwa and artifacts found in the burial. These even reveal that people in those days wore accessories and crowns.
Kofun Period Fashions
Photo, c.: Haniwa of a "miko" priestess wearing a necklace
(Kyotamba-cho Shiotani 5go-fun), image provided by Kyoto Prefecture Research Center for Archaeological Properties
Photo, r.: Haniwa of a king wearing a crown
(Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture), archives of the Tenri University Sankokan Museum

Were there any fashions and trends in clothing?

In the Kofun Period, contact with other countries is thought to have become more active than in the preceding Yayoi Period. This can also be seen in styles of clothing.
For example, gold-plated earrings, crowns and others were introduced from the Korean Peninsula and became highly desired items.
Of course, people in those days most likely did not wear these things on a daily basis. Instead, we think these new fashions were mainly worn by high-ranking individuals who could build their own tumuli.
Golden accessories must have been unusual at the time, and having them probably showed the prestige of the wearer.
Kofun Period Accessories
Photo, l.: Sash Buckle
(replica of artifact from Shichikanyama Kofun)
Image provided by Osaka Prefectural Chikatsu Asuka Museum
Photo, c.: Earrings
(from Ichisuka B7 go-fun) Osaka Prefectural Chikatsu Asuka Museum
Photo, r.: Necklaces (glass beads, stone beads)
(from Minegazuka Kofun) Habikino City Board of Education

Mozu-Furu Q&A INDEX

  • What are kofun?
  • How were kofun constructed?
  • Where did people live in the Kofun Period?
  • What kinds of haniwa are there?
  • What is the inside of a kofun like?