Kyahan – Leg Cover Up

Kyahan are cloth leggings that Samurai and their retainers wore during the Feudal Japan period. In Japan the words use for this part of the Samurai Suit are western soldier’s gaiters. Some call these are Japanese Samurai leg wraps.

These are garments worn over the shoe and lower leg pants. It is part of the Samurai Armor in a bid to serve as protective gear. These garments are worn as the padding underneath the Samurai greates or Suneate.

If planning to wear armor with Hakama; wearing this garment is a must. Some variations of these leggings include those that are covered with mail armor or Kusari Kyahan commonly worn by foot soldiers and Samurai as means of protection.

Even ordinary travelers have used these garments as a means of protection against cold, insects and underbrush. Kyahan is made of linen or cotton.

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It all depends on the season when it shall be used that determines the type of material to be used for these leggings. The cords to tie up and secure these garments have shorter inner cords and longer outer ones.

This is because the cords must be tied and secured better from the inside of the legs. This will prevent discomfort when other Samurai Armor like stiff greaves is placed over these.

Uses and Features of Kyahan

  • This will hide weapons.
  • The use of these leggings will keep uniform secure to the body during movement even when the uniform is bulky.
  • These are personalized in terms of size depending on the practitioner who will use it. Today even students of Ninjutsu use these garments.
  • It has a large strip of heavy-duty elastic that runs the length of these leggings. This will allow flexibility especially when there is a need to adjust to larger sizes. This can be known as instant modifications that will allow the wearer to use it comfortably.
  • There is a need to find Kyahan made of excellent quality to withstand constant wear and tear. The use of wrong materials will mean a little extra noise when moving around since the fabric is made of a different material that produces sound when moving. Search for Kohaze closures that work well silently.
  • Matches well with indoor tabi or even other kinds of Tabi or Japanese slippers.
  • Allows for comfortable training with or without the use of weapons concealed on it.
Samuraiantiqueworld [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Additional Info

These are handmade and are typically constructed from a double-layered blend of linen and rayon fabric. This blend is said to produce a more traditional feel for Kyahan.

The mixture of these fabrics also makes the Kyahan more durable. A modern version uses cotton canvass, stretch panel, and Velcro closure.

Some of the materials used for the new version are said to be a setback just like the extra noise produced by Velcro when moving.

Large sizes in these materials will fit everyone in large size but, not applicable for those with very large calves. For this group of individuals, they need to order customized versions of the Kyahan. This will, of course, cost a bit more.

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