Traditional colors of Japan

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The traditional colors of Japan are a collection of colors traditionally used in Japanese Literature, textiles such as kimono, and other Japanese arts and crafts.

History[edit]

The traditional colors of Japan trace their historical origins to the Twelve Level Cap and Rank System which was established in 603 by Prince Shōtoku and based on the five Chinese elements. In this system, rank and social hierarchy were displayed and determined by certain colors. Colors known as kinjiki (禁色, "forbidden colors") were strictly reserved for the robes of the highest ranking government officials; for example, the color Ōtan (orange) was used as the color for the robes of kuge and use by any other lower rank was prohibited. Colors known as yurushiiro (許し色, "permissible colors") were permitted for use by the common people.

Most names of colors originate from the names of plants, flowers, and animals that bore or resembled them. Certain colors and dyeing techniques have been used since the Asuka period, while others had been developed as late as the Meiji period when synthetic dyes became common.

Note that due to the long history of use of this color system, some variations in color and names do exist. Many of the names of these colors originate from Chinese, where the hierarchical color system is even more complex.

Colors[edit]

Red-Violet Series[edit]

Name Romanized English translation RGB Hex triplet Name Romanized English translation RGB Hex triplet
一斤染 Ikkonzome One kin (0.6 kg) dye 240,143,144 #F08F90 桃色 Momo-iro Peach-colored 244,121,131 #F47983
紅梅色 Kōbai-iro Red plum colored 219,90,107 #DB5A6B 中紅 Nakabeni Medium crimson (dye) 201,55,86 #C93756
桜色 Sakura-iro Cherry blossom color 252,201,185 #FCC9B9 退紅 Arazome Washed-out crimson (dye) 255,179,167 #FFB3A7
薄紅 Usubeni Pale crimson (dye) 242,102,108 #F2666C          

Red Series[edit]

Name Romanized English translation RGB Hex triplet Name Romanized English translation RGB Hex triplet
鴇羽色 Tokiha-iro Ibis wing color 245,143,132 #F58F84 桜鼠 Sakuranezumi Cherry blossom mouse 172,129,118 #AC8181
長春色 Chōshun-iro Long spring (season) color 185,87,84 #B95754 唐紅/韓紅 Karakurenai Foreign crimson[1] 201,31,55 #C91F37
臙脂色 Enji-iro Cochineal red/rouge 157,41,51 #9D2933 深緋 Kokiake Deep scarlet 123,59,58 #7B3B3A
甚三紅 Jinzamomi Thrice-dyed crimson 247,102,90 #F7665A 水がき Mizugaki Water persimmon 181,108,96 #B56C60
梅鼠 Umenezumi Plum-blossom mouse 151,100,90 #97645A 蘇芳香 Suōkō Sappanwood incense 162,79,70 #A24F46
赤紅 Akabeni Pure crimson (dye) 195,39,43 #C3272B 真朱 Shinshu True red 143,29,33 #8F1D21
小豆色 Azuki-iro Red bean color 103,36,34 #672422 銀朱 Ginshu Greyed red (lit. silvered red) 188,45,41 #BC2D29
海老茶 Ebicha Maroon (Shrimp brown) 94,40,36 #5E2824 栗梅 Kiriume Red-brown (lit. chestnut-plum) 139,53,45 #8B352D
曙色 Akebono-iro Dawn-color 250,123,98 #FA7B62 珊瑚色 Sango-iro Coral color 248,103,79 #F8674F
猩々緋 Shōjōhi Red-orange (lit. orangutan-colored) 220,48,35 #DC3023 芝翫茶 Shikancha Wilted brown (lit. wilted lawn-clippings) 171,76,61 #AB4C3D
柿渋色 Kakishibu-iro Persimmon-juice color 147,67,55 #934337 紅樺 Benikaba Red birch 157,43,34 #9D2B22
紅鳶 Benitobi Red kite (bird species) 145,50,40 #913228 紅檜皮 Benihibata Cypress bark red 111,48,40 #6F3028
黒鳶 Kurotobi Black kite (bird species) 53,30,28 #351E1C 紅緋 Benihi Blood red 243,83,54 #F35336
照柿 Terigaki Glazed persimmon 211,78,54 #D34E36 Ake Scarlet (blood) 207,58,36 #CF3A24
江戸茶 Edocha Red-brown (Edo brown) 161,61,45 #A13D2D 紅柄色 Bengara-iro Dyestalk red (lit. the color from dying with the stalk of the beni plant) 145,50,37 #913225
檜皮色 Hihada-iro Cypress bark color 117,46,35 #752E23 宍色 Shishi-iro Meat-color 249,144,111 #F9906F
洗朱 Araishu Rinsed-out red 255,121,82 #FF7952 赤香色 Akakō-iro Red incense-colored 240,127,94 #F07F5E
ときがら茶 Tokigaracha Brewed mustard-brown 230,131,100 #E68364 黄丹 Ōtan Ochre (earthen yellow-red-brown) 255,78,32 #FF4E20
蘇比 Sohi Overdyed / refreshed red-brown 227,92,56 #E35C38 遠州茶 Enshūcha Muddy brown (lit. the brown of a distant river) 203,102,73 #CB6649
唐茶 Karacha Spicy red-brown (Chinese tea brown) 179,92,68 #B35C44 樺茶 Kabacha Birch brown 177,74,48 #B14A30
宗傳唐茶 Sōdenkaracha Faded spicy red-brown 155,83,63 #9B533F 雀茶 Suzumecha Sparrow-brown 140,71,54 #8C4736
栗皮茶 Kurikawacha Chestnut-leather brown 96,40,30 #60281E 百塩茶 Momoshiocha Boiled red bean brown 84,45,36 #542D24
鳶色 Tobi-iro Ibis-color 76,34,27 #4C221B          

Yellow Red Series[edit]

Name Romanized English translation RGB Hex triplet Name Romanized English translation RGB Hex triplet
胡桃染 Kurumizome Walnut-dyed 159,116,98 #9F7462 蒲色 Kaba-iro Cattail color (the plant) 182,73,37 #B64925
黄櫨染 Kōrozen Sumac-dyed 89,43,31 #592B1F 焦茶 Kogecha Scorched brown 53,31,25 #351F19
深支子 Kokikuchinashi Rich gardenia 245,127,79 #F57F4F 洗柿 Araigaki Washed-out persimmon 236,130,84 #EC8254
代赭色 Taisha-iro Red ochre color 159,82,51 #9F5233 赤白橡 Akashirotsurubami Sawtooth oak 236,149,108 #EC956C
礪茶 Tonocha Polished brown 152,85,56 #985538 煎茶色 Sencha-iro Green tea-colored 130,75,53 #824B35
洒落柿 Sharegaki Stylish persimmon 255,162,107 #FFA26B 薄柿 Usugaki Pale persimmon 252,164,116 #FCA474
萱草色 Kanzō-iro Daylily-colored 255,137,54 #FF8936 梅染 Umezome Plum-dyed 250,146,88 #FA9258
紅鬱金 Beniukon Red-bronze (lit. red dye and turmeric) 251,129,54 #FB8136 丁子茶 Chōjicha Clove-brown 143,88,60 #8F583C
憲法染 Kenpōzome Legal dye (from when color use was regulated by class) 46,33,27 #2E211B 枇杷茶 Biwacha Loquat (tree) brown 171,97,52 #AB6134
琥珀色 Kohaku-iro Amber 202,105,36 #CA6924 淡香 Usukō Pale incense 255,165,101 #FFA565
朽葉色 Kuchiba-iro Decaying leaves color 213,120,53 #D57835 金茶 Kincha Golden brown 198,107,39 #C66B27
丁子染 Chōjizome Clove-dyed 169,98,50 #C66B27 狐色 Kitsune-iro Fox-color 152,86,41 #985629
柴染 Fushizome Brushwood-dyed 140,89,57 #8C5939 伽羅色 Kyara-iro Aloewood-color 106,67,45 #6A432D
煤竹色 Susutake-iro Weathered bamboo (lit. "sooty") 89,58,39 #593A27 白茶 Shiracha White tea-colored 196,142,105 #C48E69
黄土色 Ōdo-iro Ochre (lit. earthen yellow) 190,127,81 #BE7F51 銀煤竹 Kinsusutake Golden-grey bamboo (dried and weathered) 125,78,45 #7D4E2D
黄唐茶 Kigaracha Chinese yellow tea-colored 183,112,45 #B7702D 媚茶 Kobicha Brown-nosers' brown (lit. "the brown of flattery") 107,68,35 #6B4423

Yellow Series[edit]

Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet
浅黄 Asagi Light yellow 247,187,125 #F7BB7D 山吹色 Yamabuki-iro Bright golden yellow (and a particular rose varietal) 255,164,0 #FFA400
玉子色 Tamago-iro Egg-colored 255,166,49 #FFA631 櫨染 Hajizome Sumac-dyed 224,138,30 #E08A1E
山吹茶 Yamabukicha Bright gold-brown 203,126,31 #CB7E1F 桑染 Kuwazome Mulberry-dyed 197,127,46 #C57F2E
生壁色 Namakabe-iro The color of an undried wall 120,94,73 #785E49 梔子 Kuchinashi Cape jasmine or gardenia 255,185,90 #FFB95A
玉蜀黍色 Tōmorokoshi-iro Corn-colored 250,169,69 #FAA945 白橡 Shirotsurubami White oak 206,159,111 #CE9F6F
黄橡 Kitsurubami Golden oak 187,129,65 #BB8141 藤黄 Tō'ō Gamboge 255,182,30 #FFB61E
花葉色 Hanaba-iro or kayou-iro Floral leaf-colored 255,185,78 #FFB94E 鳥の子色 Torinoko-iro Eggshell paper-colored 226,190,159 #E2BE9F
鬱金色 Ukon-iro Turmeric-colored 230,155,58 #E69B3A 黄朽葉 Kikuchiba Golden fallen leaves 226,156,69 #E29C45
利休白茶 Rikyūshiracha Faded Sen no Rikyu's tea 176,146,122 #B0927A 利休茶 Rikyūcha Sen no Rikyu's tea 130,107,88 #826B58
灰汁色 Aku-iro Lye-colored 127,107,93 #7F6B5D 肥後煤竹 Higosusutake Japanese iris and sooty bamboo 127,93,59 #7F5D3B
路考茶 Rokōcha Contemplation in a tea garden 102,83,67 #665343 海松茶 Mirucha Simmered seaweed 76,61,48 #4C3D30
菜種油色 Nataneyu-iro Rapeseed oil-colored 161,121,23 #A17917 黄海松茶 Kimirucha Yellow Sea pine-brown 137,108,57 #896C39
鶯茶 Uguisucha Nightingale-brown (greenish brown) 92,72,39 #5C4827 菜の花色 Nanohanacha Rape-blossom brown 227,177,48 #E3B130
苅萱 Kariyasu Japanese triandra grass (Themeda japonica) 226,177,60 #E2B13C 黄蘗 Kihada Amur cork tree (Phellodendron amurense) 243,193,58 #F3C13A
蒸栗色 Mushikuri-iro Steamed chestnut color 211,177,125 #D3B17D 青朽葉 Aokuchiba Pale fallen leaves 170,135,54 #AA8736
鶸茶 Hiwacha Finch-brown (Cardueline finch) 149,123,56 #957B38 女郎花 Ominaeshi Patrinia flowers (Patrinia scabiosaefolia) 217,182,17 #D9B611
鶯色 Uguisu-iro Nightingale-colored 100,85,48 #645530          

Yellow Green Series[edit]

Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet
鶸色 Hiwa-iro Greenfinch color 189,169,40 #BDA928 青白橡 Aoshirotsurubami Pale oak 187,164,109 #BBA46D
柳茶 Yanagicha Willow tea 156,138,77 #9C8A4D 璃寛茶 Rikancha Rikan brown 83,74,50 #534A32
藍媚茶 Aikobicha Flirtatious indigo tea 71,63,45 #473F2D 苔色 Koke-iro Moss color 139,125,58 #8B7D3A
海松色 Miru-iro Codium fragile seaweed color 82,75,42 #524B2A 千歳茶 Sensaicha Thousand year old brown 59,52,41 #3B3429
梅幸茶 Baikōcha Baiko brown 133,124,85 #857C55 岩井茶 Iwaicha Iwai brown 94,85,69 #5E5545
鶸萌黄 Hiwamoegi Siskin sprout yellow 122,148,46 #7A942E 柳煤竹 Yanagisusutake Sooty willow bamboo 77,75,58 #4D4B3A
裏柳 Urahayanagi Underside of willow leaves 188,181,140 #BCB58C 淡萌黄 Usumoegi Pale young green onion 141,178,85 #8DB255
柳染 Yanagizome Willow dye 140,158,94 #8C9E5E 萌黄 Moegi Fresh onion 91,137,48 #5B8930
青丹 Aoni Blue Black Crayfish 82,89,59 #52593B 松葉色 Matsuba-iro Pine needle color 69,77,50 #454D32

Green/Blue Green Series[edit]

Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet
薄青 Usuao Pale blue 140,156,118 #8C9C76 若竹色 Wakatake-iro Young bamboo color 107,147,98 #6B9362
柳鼠 Yanaginezumi Willow grey 129,123,105 #817B69 老竹色 Oitake-iro Old bamboo color 94,100,79 #5E644F
千歳緑 Sensaimidori Thousand year old green 55,66,49 #374231 Midori Green 42,96,59 #2A603B
白緑 Byakuroku Whitish green 165,186,147 #A5BA93 錆青磁 Sabiseiji Rusty celadon 137,138,116 #898A74
緑青 Rokushō Patina 64,122,82 #407A52 木賊色 Tokusa-iro Horsetail color 61,93,66 #3D5D42
御納戸茶 Onandocha Storeroom brown 61,64,53 #3D4035 青竹色 Aotake-iro Green bamboo color 0,100,66 #006442
利休鼠 Rikyūnezumi Greyish dark green 101,98,85 #656255 びろうど Birōdo Velvet 34,70,52 #224634
虫襖 Mushiao Insect screen 45,68,54 #2D4436 藍海松茶 Aimirucha Indigo Codium fragile seaweed brown 46,55,46 #2E372E
沈香茶 Tonocha Aloeswood brown 90,100,87 #5A6457 水浅葱 Mizuasagi Pale green onion 116,159,141 #749F8D
青磁色 Seiji-iro Celadon color 129,156,139 #819C8B 青碧 Seiheki Blue-green 58,105,96 #3A6960
錆鉄御納戸 Sabitetsuonando Rusty storeroom 58,64,59 #3A403B 鉄色 Tetsu-iro Iron color 43,55,51 #2B3733
御召茶 Omeshicha Silk crepe brown 53,78,75 #354E4B 高麗納戸 Kōrainando Goryeo storeroom 32,56,56 #203838

Blue/Blue Violet Series[edit]

Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet
湊鼠 Minatonezumi Harbor rat 117,125,117 #757D75 青鈍 Aonibi Dull blue 79,73,68 #4F4944
鉄御納戸 Tetsuonando Iron storage 43,55,54 #2B3736 水色 Mizu-iro Water color 134,171,165 #86ABA5
錆浅葱 Sabiasagi Rusted light-blue 106,127,122 #6A7F7A 瓶覗 Kamenozoki Inside of a bottle 198,194,182 #C6C2B6
浅葱色 Asagi-iro Light blue color 72,146,155 #48929B 新橋色 Shinbashi-iro New bridge color 0,108,127 #006C7F
錆御納戸 Sabionando Rusty storage 69,88,89 #455859 藍鼠 Ainezumi Mousy indigo 92,84,78 #5C544E
藍色 Ai-iro Indigo color 38,67,72 #264348 御納戸色 Onando-iro Onando color 54,65,65 #364141
花浅葱 Hana'asagi Light blue flower 29,105,124 #1D697C 千草色 Chigusa-iro Thousand herb color 49,117,137 #317589
舛花色 Masuhana-iro Opposite flower color 77,100,108 #4D646C Hanada Light blue silk 4,79,103 #044F67
熨斗目花色 Noshimehana-iro Iron head flower color 52,77,86 #344D56 御召御納戸 Omeshionando Kimono storage 61,76,81 #3D4C51
空色 Sora-iro Sky color 77,143,172 #4D8FAC 黒橡 Kurotsurubami Black chestnut oak 37,35,33 #252321
群青色 Gunjō-iro Ultramarine color 93,140,174 #5D8CAE Kon Dark blue 25,34,54 #192236
褐色 Kachi-iro Coarse wool color 24,27,38 #181B26 瑠璃色 Ruri-iro Lapis lazuli color 31,71,136 #1F4788
紺青色 Konjō-iro Navy blue color 0,49,113 #003171 瑠璃紺 Rurikon Dark blue lapis lazuli 27,41,75 #1B294B
紅碧 Benimidori Stained red 120,119,155 #78779B 紺桔梗 Konkikyō Navy blue bellflower 25,31,69 #191F45
藤鼠 Fujinezumi Mousy wisteria 118,105,128 #766980 紅掛花色 Benikakehana-iro Safflower color 90,79,116 #5A4F74
藤色 Fuji-iro Wisteria color 137,114,158 #89729E 二藍 Futaai Dark indigo 97,78,110 #614E6E

Violet Series[edit]

Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet
藤紫 Fujimurasaki Wisteria purple 135,95,154 #875F9A 桔梗色 Kikyō-iro Bellflower color 93,63,106 #5D3F6A
紫苑色 Shion-iro Tatarian aster color 151,110,154 #976E9A 滅紫 Metsushi Disappearing purple 63,49,58 #3F313A
紫紺 Shikon Blue violet 43,32,40 #2B2028 深紫 Kokimurasaki Deep purple 58,36,59 #3A243B
薄色 Usu-iro Thin color 168,124,160 #A87CA0 半色 Hashita-iro Half color 141,96,140 #8D608C
菫色 Sumire-iro Violet color 91,50,86 #5B3256 Murasaki Purple 79,40,75 #4F284B
黒紅 Kurobeni Dark red 35,25,30 #23191E 菖蒲色 Ayame-iro Iris color 118,53,104 #763568
紅藤 Benifuji Red wisteria 187,119,150 #BB7796 杜若 Kakitsubata Rabbit-ear iris 73,30,60 #491E3C
鳩羽鼠 Hatobanezumi Dove feather grey 117,93,91 #755D5B 葡萄鼠 Budōnezumi Grape mouse 99,66,75 #63424B
蒲萄 Ebizome Vine grape 109,43,80 #6D2B50 藤煤竹 Fujisusutake Wisteria and burnt-bamboo 77,59,60 #4D3B3C
牡丹 Bōtan Tree peony 164,52,93 #A4345D 梅紫 Umemurasaki Plum purple 143,65,85 #8F4155
似せ紫 Nisemurasaki Fake purple 67,36,42 #43242A 紫鳶 Murasakitobi Purple kite 81,44,49 #512C31
蘇芳 Suō Sappanwood 126,38,57 #7E2639 桑染 Kuwazome Mulberry dye 89,41,44 #59292C
紅消鼠 Benikeshinezumi Vanishing red mouse 68,49,46 #44312E          

Achromatic Series[edit]

Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet Name Romanized English RGB Hex triplet
白練 Shironeri Unbleached silk 255,221,202 #FFDDCA 白鼠 Shironezumi White mouse 185,161,147 #B9A193
銀鼠 Ginnezumi Silver-grey 151,134,124 #97867C 素鼠 Sunezumi Plain mouse 110,95,87 #6E5F57
丼鼠 Dobunezumi Brown rat grey 75,60,57 #4B3C39 藍墨茶 Aisumicha Indigo ink brown 57,52,50 #393432
檳榔子染 Binrōjizome Betel nut dye 53,41,37 #352925 墨色 Sumi-iro Ink color 39,34,31 #27221F
黒色 Kokushoku Black 23,20,18 #171412 藍白 Aijiro Indigo white 235, 246, 247 #EBf6f7

References[edit]

  1. ^ "からくれない". Shogakukan and Yahoo Japan Corporation. Retrieved 2010-11-15. 
  • Nagasaki, Seiki. Nihon no dentoshoku : sono shikimei to shikicho, Seigensha, 2001. ISBN 4-916094-53-0
  • Nihon Shikisai Gakkai. Shinpen shikisai kagaku handobukku, Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1985. ISBN 4-13-061000-7

External links[edit]