Why is The karategi white?

Despite the fact that you can see karategi of all colors around you, the traditional color of karategi is white!

But why the white color? Especially when so many other martial arts wear black uniforms?

Why not adopting something more practical that, for example, doesn’t get dirty so easily?

why is the karategi white

Here, we must dive into Japanese culture, which places a high value on cleanliness. It is for this reason that people wear face masks when they are sick, shoes are always left at the door and toilets look like magical monuments to personal cleanliness.

There are several theories that explain why the color of karategi is white. In this article we will start from the most general reasons up to two main theories: a philosophical and a practical one.

White as cherry blossoms


With its white color and the absence of ornaments, the karategi symbolizes purity and simplicity. White, like the cherry blossoms, was a symbol that, together with the sword, represented strength, purity of soul and courage for the samurai.


As pure as the spirit of a beginner should be when he approaches the practice for the first time.


An even simpler reason is that the karategi has to be a simple and humble dress, it follows that the white color is just the natural color of undyed cotton.

Philosophical theory

In Japan, white is the color of mourning (black and white are the total opposites of the west).

In fact, when you die you are buried in a white garment very similar to a karategi.


The symbolism of the white karategi is your mortality, whoever wears it should be like “dead”, detached from earthly things, pure and sincere in his actions and intentions, and when you train, you must train in all seriousness with these thoughts in mind.


Considering this aspect, we can say that white is excellent because it is easy to wash, especially considering the number of washes it will have to sustain if we train and sweat properly.

Practical theory

Have you ever considered why nurses wear in white?

The classic white is in high demand because it is synonymous of cleanliness and order.

But consider this:


In case there were to be any blood loss, where would it be most noticeable: on a white or a black uniform?

Of course, on a white one.


We wear white in the Dojo for the same reason, so that blood stands out and injuries can be treated quickly.



A white gi is more than just a symbol of humility: it also conveys the seriousness of the practitioner.

The condition of the gi is a reflection of the state of the martial artist’s mind.

A karateka has to take care of his karategi as a mum takes care of his son.

Karate Martial Art Team

Karate Martial Art Team

The Karate Martial Art Team is made up of 3 contributors who have full-time job and in their free time are dedicated to martial arts and writing. Do you want to become one of the Team? Get in touch on the contact page.

Notify me
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

On this website we use first or third-party tools that store small files (cookie) on your device. Cookies are normally used to allow the site to run properly (technical cookies), to generate navigation usage reports (statistics cookies) and to suitable advertise our services/products (profiling cookies). We can directly use technical cookies, but you have the right to choose whether or not to enable statistical and profiling cookies. Enabling these cookies, you help us to offer you a better experience.