We can say purple is the most noble color. (“Kodai-murasaki”is the most typical.)
Since ancient times, purple has been the noble color worldwide.
In Japan, under the first system to rank officials into 12 levels established by Prince Shotoku in A.D.603, purple was the color which was only allowed to be used by the top rank people.
But in the Edo period (17th – 19th Century), “Edo-murasaki” color became fashionable among ordinary people (“Edo” is the ancient name of Tokyo and “murasaki” means purple).
In the era of the 8th Shogun Yoshimune Tokugawa, “Murasaki-sou” (Lithospermum erythrorhizon) were grown and dyeing clothes purple became popular around the west Edo.
This purple color was bluish and called “Edo-murasaki”, as contrasted with “Kyo-murasaki” (“Kyo” means “Kyoto”) which is reddish purple.
Sukeroku, the main character in one of the famous Kabuki performances “Sukeroku yukari no Edo-zakura” wears a browband, and the color of the browband is “Edo-murasaki”.
*An example of coordination of kimono is here.
Typical purplish colors and their Japanese name
|kurobeni / kurokoubai|
|kokimurasaki / fukamurasaki|
|edomurasaki / kakitsubata|
|ayameiro / syoubuiro|
|budounezumi / ebinezumi|