Himiko (3rd century) was the first recorded ruler of Japan. The Chinese chroniclers described her as a great shaman queen who united 30 warring clans, established the imperial throne, sent diplomatic envoys to China, and ruled over her people with the aid of “magic and sorcery.” It seems that male dominance had not yet come to Japan.

The illustrations above are based on archaeological findings from the period when Himiko is believed to have lived. Our costume mostly draws from the detail sketch of Himiko in white. The pieces we suggest, from left to right:

1. White handpainted silk kimono robe. This gorgeous robe is a wonderful choice for Himiko. If you need an underskirt, a sari petticoat is only 10 dollars or so.
2. Vintage striped obi. Tie this in the ancient way, just like in the Himiko illustration: wrap it once or twice around your body, knot it in the front, and let the ends hang to the ground.
3. Leaf hair wreath. Yes, we know what kind of leaves those look like. Himiko was a shaman, see? And hemp was very much part of ancient religious rituals in Japan.
4. Leaf lei. Matches the hair wreath. If you get a couple of them you can splice them together for double length, and then do a cross-body sash thing like in the Himiko illustration.
5. Red agate necklace. Agate jewelry has been recovered from ancient Japanese tombs, so an agate bead necklace like this is perfect.


Costume illustration credits: The large background image is copyright Newton Graphic Science Magazine, from their “Nihon no ruutsu.” It’s borrowed from the Heritage of Japan site, which has lots of great info. The detail illustration of Himiko is by Angus McBride.

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Other costumes in this category: Queens