A kamishimo is a matched suit with sleeveless vest and pleated trousers (hakama) made of hemp and worn by lower samurai and commoners in both noh and kyōgen, On formal occasions, kamishimo are also worn by chorus and instrumentalists.
Roles and Draping
The kamishimo is worn over a kosode 小袖, typically a noshime 熨斗目. The vest is tucked into the hakama, typicaly the formal, long, trailing nagabakama. In kyōgen, high-ranking commoners, like the master in Busu 附子, wear a kamishimo with nagabakama. On formal occasions, the noh chorus members and instrumentalists wear kamishimo with ankle-length hanbakama, or for ceremonial rituals with nagabakama.
Tailoring and Textile Features
The top is basically a sleeveless suō 素襖, but the front panel has been pleated to form wing-like shoulder panels gathered into thin front bands. The pleated trousers, both long and short, are tailored like the suō hakama. Kamishimo for noh and kyōgen tend to be made of bast and dyed with paste-resist patterns, either stenciled or hand painted through a funnel.
Designs and Colors
Family crests are placed high on the center back seam and at chest level in front. Designs include overall repeat patterns, broad stripes, and pictorial motifs in blocks of contrasting colors, typically white, tan, indigo and green.
Kamishimo with scattered kemari balls on a blue ground. Edo period. Tokyo National Museum.