There is a prevalent idea within some martial art (Aikido for one) that Hakama were worn low enough to hide the footwork of a samurai involved in combat. After all, if the feet are hidden, it is harder for an opponent to predict where the attack will come from. For example, see this answer on MA.se about Hakama….

I strongly suspect that "samurai wore long enough hakama to hide their feet" is a modern urban legend. It does not sit well with the Japanese cleanlinesses: They remove their footgear and wash their feet before heading indoors yet have hakama that trail the ground picking dust and dirt…

I am looking for historical primary source, the more martial the better, about the accepted length of a hakama for a samurai.

Clearly, this might have varied between time periods so I am tagging this as sengoku and meiji restoration to narrow the time frame.

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    Admittedly not very scientific, but a cursory image search for "samurai" and "Hakama" as well as the photos and depictions in the related wiki entries would suggest that no, they did not wear hakama long enough to hide their feet. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 12:39
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    @DenisdeBernardy Yes, I did search for photos but was not convinced either way. Some of those grabs could be ceremonial instead of practical. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 12:45
  • In the photos I've seen the hems looked to be about two to six inches above the ground standing for men with feet at shoulder width apart, which would seem to cover both conditions; clear while walking and a fighting stance with bent knees might get it to the ground. I have no idea of how deep a crouch was/is used.
    – user22111
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 20:57
  • if they wore it long enough to hide their feet, it'd put them very much at risk from entanglement and tripping over the garment, which would be a greater disadvantage than any possible advantage of the feet being invisible.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 11:49
  • Please do not answer in comments. Please do not speculate in comments either. That is not what comments are for… Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


Japan, 1860. Samurai. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai) It seems, they had it long. enter image description here

And obviously, in different times they used different lengths. And of course, they used shorter variants when riding a horse - many hakamas that you see, are a rider's variant.

enter image description here enter image description here

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