Footwear made from exotic materials and in specific styles often indicates a wearer's status and role in society. The following four pairs of shoes tell us immediately who the wearer was, what their station in life was as well as, where and how they lived.
The use of closed footwear did not spread to the Japanese people in general until westernization. However some forms of shoes existed for military, religious and imperial wear, like these court boots made of lacquered paper and brocaded silk. The upturned toes were designed to hold back flowing robes to prevent the wearer from tripping. The imperial dynasty traces its history back to 660 B.C.E. with the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu as the lineage's ancestor.