Ōkuchi

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おおくち 大口


Ōkuchi pleated trousers are a hakama style noh costume with stiff wide panels in the back and softer pleated panels in the front. Plain ōkuchi are worn by male and female higher ranking characters. When worn, the back panels are formed into a hump, adding bulk to the figure and ease of movement.

Noh kyōgen

Roles and Draping

Ōkuchi are worn by characters of high-ranking women, priests, and old men, as well as warrior-courtiers, They are also worn underneath sashinuki 指貫 to give the latter bulk. Cords are strung through holes at the top of the back panels. When these are pulled and tied, they create a large tuck that results in a bulge over the upper back side. When donned, the front is tied to the actor's body with long sashes and a Y-shaped wooden support slipped into the center back. The bulge of the pleated back panels is slipped over the forked support and then the back panel sashes brought to the front and tied.

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Textile Features and Tailoring

The front panels are plain weave silk while the ribbed back panels alternate tightly packed heavy wefts and single wefts to create a very stiff fabric. The front panels are given pleats that widen towards the hem and are connected to the back panels between the legs and at the sides from about knee height down. The two stiff, broad back panels need to be sewn with special knot stitches. They are basted in a V along the outline of the tucks that form the back bulge.

Designs and Colors

Plain colors are standard: white (priests, warriors, ministers) predominates, and red for women, but lavender, green, brown and blue are all possible. Sometimes ōkuchi have discrete patterns woven into the plain-weave ground, either in colored thread or in metallic leaf.

Contributor

Monica Bethe