NIPPONIA
NIPPONIA No.21 June 15, 2002
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Comfortable on the Feet, and Stylish, Too
Social customs and climate have guided the evolution of footwear in Japan. These examples do not restrict the feet. They let the feet breathe, and can be put on and taken off quickly—thatís why some of them are still worn in Japan.
The cooperation of the following companies is gratefully acknowledged:
(1) Sukeroku (3-6 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; Tel: +81-3-3260-0015)
(2) Musashi-ya (Tel: +81-3-3351-7359)
(3) Idea Kobo Aso-zan (Tel: +81-467-33-0790)
(4) Shoji Ringyo (Tel: +81-237-83-6771)
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imageGeta
They click-clack when you walk. Common until about 30 years ago. (1)
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imageYaki-geta
The surface is scorched, then polished, to hide the dirt and facilitate maintenance.(1)
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imageSetta
The top of the sole was once made of bamboo sheath, but today it is made of the same material used to cover tatami mats, to keep the feet free of perspiration. The thong is usually black, although some recent versions feature a design.(1)
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imagePokkuri
The name comes from the sound emanating from under the hollow soles when walking. Worn by young girls on very special occasions. (1)
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imageNiwa-geta
Lacquered soles, leather strap. Often worn in the garden. (1)
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imageAma-geta
Lacquered geta for rainy days. The tsuma-gake (toe shields) can be attached to help keep rain and mud away. (1)
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imageZori
Luxury sandals for a woman. The sole has five layers with an enamel finish. Womenís zori come in a variety of designs and colors. (1)
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image"Diet slippers"
There is no heel so you have to walk on tiptoes. This tones the muscles and improves posture. A big hit today. A housewife invented them to help people improve their looks and health.(3)
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image"Health sandals"
The tops of the soles have many small pegs to stimulate pressure points on the soles of the feet.
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imageUwabaki
In most Japanese schools, from elementary to senior-high grades, students take off their shoes and put on uwabaki like these when entering the school building.
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imageRubber zori
Japanese zori became the prototype of the beach sandals now seen around the world.
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image"Health geta"
The small mound for the arch of the foot makes for a comfortable walk. The grain of the cedar wood is an added attraction. (4)
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imageTabi
Cotton tabi "socks" are usually white for women, dark blue for men (bottom right). These days, though, on traditional occasions men may choose another color to match their kimono. Those on the left with cords are an improved version of tabi worn in the 18th century. Modern tabi are closed with metal clasps shaped like fingernails.(2)
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imageJika-tabi
These have the tabi shape, except for the rubber sole. They are worn outside. They are sturdy and make moving about easy. This type is worn by people who help carry a portable shrine during a festival.(2)
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   Trends Today    Living In Japan    Traditional Footwear
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