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  • Why women wear white?

    This question appeard on a facebook group and all the sudden I'm curious, why white? What is the philosophical, theological or nonsensical reason why women wear white and not another colour??????

    Just an aside note: I'm not asking if women should wear it or not, my question is why women wear it as a tradition

  • #2
    Men do wear white too

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    • #3
      men wear white when are go-dan or above or high rank sensei

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      • #4
        Mainly of tradition - men wear indigo/blue while women wear white.

        Personally, I think because white is the cheapest form of dye. Another word, the men are too stingy to spend money for their daughters/wives?... or maybe they just don't want to spend money that would end up with the female members of the family start beating up the males.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by chainz View Post
          men wear white when are go-dan or above or high rank sensei
          I was told something similar, but then the guys from Japan would occasionaly wear white, stating them as "summer gi". I don't see any rule enforced on this, though...I mean, I don't really have a problem with it, but you see a lot of mudansha wearing them. I'll stick with indigo either way. The question still remains. "Why do women wear white?".

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          • #6
            I strongly suspect its the calvinistic attitude in the by-gone age. or mainly just the cost.

            remember that daughters are considered to be a liability - so they probably wont spend too much money = cheapest dyed cloth = white.

            refer to search in this forum, some people allegedly that American failed to banned kendo and tried to reduce the popularity by having kendoka wearing white. (doesnt work obviously, so thats why alot of people wear white as well)

            white in asian culture is a colour of death, of mourning, and of shame(cowardice? white flag?). white could also be used as a colour of inferiority, or perhaps indigo/blue reflects the more solemn side of kendo, or maybe even that it reflect those of modesty of the kendoka.

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            • #7
              white also means purity. Virgin girls beating guys with a stick??
              different colored uniforms tell you more about the person whose face you cant see. Dont want a guy beating down a girl or a naturally tall child.

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              • #8
                you just can't really mistake a girl for a guy - you can still see the face through the men and from the high-pitched kiai.

                but you are right, it is just for the ease of separeting the male/female for the sensei (who are probably 70 y/o+ and has bad eyesights). after a while it become tradition and noone want to change.

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                • #9

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIxt3Zd6K0k


                  It takes style & dignity to get away with all-white :

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by imnothere View Post
                    you just can't really mistake a girl for a guy - you can still see the face through the men and from the high-pitched kiai.

                    but you are right, it is just for the ease of separeting the male/female for the sensei (who are probably 70 y/o+ and has bad eyesights). after a while it become tradition and noone want to change.
                    Both men and women wear white. My iaido sempai (Japanese) also teaches kendo and he often wears white. I think it's become popular with girls because many of them like how it looks, rather than for any deeper reason.

                    White kimono are traditionally associated with shinto priests (Kannushi) and the colour represents purity and cleanliness in traditional Japanese culture. I have heard that the colour was popularised in kendo by Nakayama Hakudo and his students. Nakayama sensei was particularly keen on links between shinto and martial arts.

                    White is also the colour of summer keikogi, at least in iaido. However not everyone follows this reasoning, and some just stick to black all the time.

                    In certain koryu white is the colour of choice. Hoki-ryu students usually wear white, in my experience. This may be linked to the fact that the imperial guards traditionally wore white. Pure speculation there! I know there are some Hoki-ryu students here so I might be corrected shortly.

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                    • #11
                      my wife liked the colour....

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                      • #12
                        It's interesting how one simple question is asked and pretty much all the replies are" Well I think it's probably..." Does anyone have an actual, based in fact reason that is definite as opposed "well I heard from a second cousin that once knew a guy that lived next to...."

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                        • #13
                          hmm... I have never actually found an answer to this question.Although both sexes can wear white, and not just dougi and hakama, I know there are a couple of high level (male) sensei in Japan that even have white bougu.

                          However, What I do find intriguing is that at the Gyokuryuki High School Taikai (annually held in Fukuoka), all of the girls teams HAVE to wear white dougi and hakama. I don't know if that is the case in any other taikai or not(?). But the boys teams can (and do) wear either colour...

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                          • #14
                            I have seen or told that

                            1) High rank sensei
                            2) Japense emperor Kendo (someone please confirm this ?)
                            3) Korean National Kendo team ( Korean think white represent pure and has been wearing this for sometime )
                            4) Some High school boys. ( I have seen some male teams wearing white )
                            5) Summer practice ( White uniforms are lighter than blue one)

                            However, I was told that if you are taking test(especially higher rank), you should wear blue uniforms.
                            Please correct me if any of these are wrong.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rainmaker View Post
                              I have seen or told that

                              1) High rank sensei
                              2) Japense emperor Kendo (someone please confirm this ?)
                              3) Korean National Kendo team ( Korean think white represent pure and has been wearing this for sometime )
                              4) Some High school boys. ( I have seen some male teams wearing white )
                              5) Summer practice ( White uniforms are lighter than blue one)

                              However, I was told that if you are taking test(especially higher rank), you should wear blue uniforms.
                              Please correct me if any of these are wrong.
                              Yep. These are all the things that I heard.

                              The question still stands for KW. "Why do women wear white?".

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