Free «Comparison between Chinese and Japanese Traditional Cloths» Essay Sample


The traditional people of Japan and Chine used to wear different cloths in different occasion. There are difference and similarities between the cloths of those two groups of people. This paper is aimed at collecting information using questionnaire about the traditional clothing of Chinese and Japanese. Questionnaires will be distributed to people randomly depending on age, location and locality. The young people could not be having sufficient information about the cloths so the questionnaires will be distributed to people aged forty years and above. The papers will be concerned on the significance of some cloth worn in different occasion and the fabric of those cloths. Comparison of the finding will be made.

Traditional clothing in China

Chinese clothing varied from one region to another. The clothing also changed from time to time. The traditional people referred the cloths as, “hanfu” and had variations like Chinese academic dress. The cloths changed depending on individual’s status in the society. Each social class had different cloths. The common men in China used to wear black cotton shoes while the wealthy and high class people wore tough black leather shoes during ceremonies or formal occasions. The wealthy also used to wear bright and beautiful shoes made of silk with leather inside. Common women used to wear bright lotus shoes coated with silk while the wealthy and high class women practiced a bound foot which was abolished in early 20th century. Women shoes were more elaborative than men shoes. Traditionally, Chinese people used to have different cloths for different social class (Antony, 2009). The cloths also differed between genders. Both men and women could not wear similar cloths. There were cloths for men and women. In case a man wore ladies cloths or vise versa he/she was punished due to violation of customs and taboos.



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Civil and military officials used to wear cloths with different codes to symbolize their positions and ranks. One of the codes, recognized most, is called the Mandarin square also called rank badge. Another code was application of color in the hats. The color hat knobs were fixed at the top of their hats for people to see from fare distance. The color hat knob symbolized individuals rank or position in the military. There were nine military ranks and existed nine different color hat knob. The military people did not wear the same cloths. They had different cloths for different occasions. During operations, they used to wear cloths different form those worn during ceremonies like holiday, burial and wedding parties. Members of each rank had similar cloths but different form members of other ranks. The same as social class difference in cloths, the military also had different cloths for member of each rank (Madsen, 2009). 

The rise of Qing Dynasty in 1644 to 1911 had a significant effect in clothing. In this period, noblemen were required to wear Manchu clothing styles. The Qing passed a law that required people in the palace to adopt Manchu hair and dressing style. The style was commonly adopted by commoners and a new styles called tangzhuang was introduced. Men used to wear changshan and women wore qipoa. In 1912, the imperial China was abolished and this led to a change in dressing and customs. Men and women fought to overthrow Qing Dynasty. They changed by introducing trousers and shirts for men instead of the robes worn previously. The dressing mode was regarded as Zhongshan suit and was adopted from Chinese students (Ashikari, 2010). The women changed from qipoa to fitting and slender dresses marked with a high cut. The dressing for both women and men used to change with time. The change has led to introduction of the current worn cloths which were adopted from western culture.

Traditions clothing in Japan

Currently, the traditional garments for Japan are still in use though modern cloths have emerged as a result of a combination of western and Japanese clothing. During ceremonies and special occasions like funerals, weddings, festivals and coming of age ceremonies people wears traditional cloths. During the Jomon period, the traditional clothing for Japan called Kimomo appeared (Antony, 2009).  Just like the Chinese people the dressing was different between genders. The first group to adopt western clothing styles was the military. They copied the style from English marine. Then students in universities were forced to change and wear western cloths since they were light. Other groups like teachers, doctors and business people followed suit.

Just like China, the military and civil officials in Japan used to wear cloths with codes which resembled their positions and ranks. Members of the same rank or position had similar cloths but different from other ranks. The military had different cloths ranging from color, material and make. The noble’s cloths were different form other people’s (Samantha, 2006).

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In each occasion, Japanese used to wear different cloths. There were cloths for work or daily duties. During ceremonies like wedding parties people used to wear bright cloths.  The couples put differently from other people attending the wedding. In burial, festivals, and age passage ceremonies people had cloths to wear. Mostly, the difference was in color and not material. They used to change from one color to another in different occasions. The Japanese have changed from Second World War with transformation of many cultural and dressing styles to western way of life (Madsen, 2009).

Both Chinese and Japanese traditional cloths were different form the cloths worn today. Both communities have adopted the style from western way of live. Currently, men in both communities wear suits, shirts and trousers while ladies wear skirts, blouse, and dresses tightly fitting. The traditional cloths were loose but currently people in Chinese and Japanese wear tight cloths with their body posture and figure visible. There was variety of cloths worn by Japanese people just like today (Gidon, 2011). For example, Japanese women had six different types of Kimomo, namely Frusode, Houmongi, yukata, Uchiakake, mofuku and tomesode. Both communities had different dressings.

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The Japanese and Chinese clothing have changed. The communities still wear their traditional cloths but when attending traditional ceremonies.  The change of cloths to western cloth has made the communities to look decent. 


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