The japanese umbrella, an indispensable icon
A global umbrella survey conducted in 2014 showed that Japan has the highest number of umbrellas per capita in the world: 3.3, compared to the global average of 2.4. But you don't need a study to know how widespread umbrella use is in the Land of the Rising Sun! If you are in Japan on a rainy day, you will certainly see a lot of people outside with an open umbrella, even if the rain is relatively light because it has become an indispensable accessory for Japanese people, even a fashion accessory.
This sight may seem strange to some, especially those who come from countries where it is common to just smile and bear a little rain knowing that rainy days are frequent. Some might even be surprised to find out that while stealing money and valuables is not common in Japan, stealing an umbrella or rather borrowing the nearest available umbrella without permission certainly is! The world of umbrellas is very vast and it is often difficult to find one's own in the midst of all of them if it is not a personalized umbrella.
If you've ever wondered why umbrellas are so widely used in Japan, a little background is in order. Read on to learn more about japanese umbrella culture. Leather goods are an art form in the land of the rising sun and some models are even self-closing and sometimes even waterproof. We will talk about the automatic umbrella a little further down. Nevertheless, the original umbrella or in other words, the manual opening umbrella remains more than ever in the air of time in case of rain or strong wind to never get wet. There are also all kinds of colors and even very resistant ones!
The history of the japanese umbrella
Sources differ as to when umbrellas were introduced in Japan, but it is generally believed that oiled paper umbrellas made their way from China to Japan between the sixth and eighth centuries. Known as tengai, they were made from oiled and lacquered washi paper and could not be opened or closed. They were very elegant but served more as advertising umbrellas than as storm umbrellas to protect from strong winds or bad weather. We were more in an era of fantasy. We called this time the slippery year.
Around the Muromachi period (1336-1573), Japanese craftsmen created foldable umbrellas, the first wagasa (traditional japanese umbrella). Unlike some other countries, where umbrellas and parasols were originally intended to provide shade from the sun, Japan's earliest umbrellas offered protection from the rain. They had a very atypical dome shape for two people to take shelter under the umbrella. They were very resistant & made of rigid materials for an optimal protection. All this in order to protect the backpack and the pouch, because they were very often filled with crops. At that time, waterproofing didn't really exist yet. We were light years away from today's designer umbrella!
The utility of a japanese umbrella
Let's start with the obvious: umbrellas are meant to protect their users from rain (and, in winter, snow). It is likely that many people in Japan carry umbrellas because it is an ingrained habit. What may seem awkward for some may be more practical and comfortable for locals, as they prefer to stay dry at the cost of having one less hand free than getting soaked by the rain.
You can also opt for a transparent umbrella, the Japanese love it, the man loves to see the rain falling while being under his umbrella. This category of umbrella is often very ergonomic and its material is curved while remaining very solid without losing all its elegant sides. That said, some speculate that the humidity in Japan is also related to the widespread use of umbrellas. Clothes take longer to dry when it's humid (and raining), and air-drying indoors can sometimes give off a musty smell.
No one likes to feel wet and sticky from the combined effects of rain and humidity, especially in June, the rainy season, and early summer. Rain and wind don't mix well during mid-season, so we offer high-end models to protect you 100% from wind and gusts. It is always possible to try a middle range from our wide range. It will be less expensive but still very resistant, they are also unbreakable during the folding.
The umbrella in japanese, a way of life
Common sense applies here: be considerate of others! Give yourself enough space to open and close an umbrella, so as not to accidentally hurt someone. On a train, make sure your umbrella does not block the way. Place it on an umbrella stand or hang it from a handrail where you are sitting or standing.
The model you choose will stay with your wrist for a long time. That's why we also have a customizable wrist strap. Whether you are more into sober or handmade spirit, we only sell solid umbrellas for a very high wind resistance with fiberglass technology.
Bringing a wet, dripping umbrella into an establishment is frowned upon. You can't help but bring one on a train, but when you enter a store or restaurant, leave your folding umbrella on a stand or display outside. Some are even equipped with locks to avoid the all-too-common problems of umbrella theft and accidentally confusing your umbrella with theirs.
The umbrella stand is totally democratized over time, there is also the protective cover to recognize yours! It is also possible to customize the bell or the frame to differentiate you from others. We can also include the handles or even the shaft to make you stand out!
How to use your Japanese parasol?
First of all let us say that the folding umbrella or the bell umbrella has a real automatic opening but it is not very windproof. Its main activity is a matter of style! It is compact and often looks like an umbrella once it is folded, these designs can be very original especially when in action in the rain.
Over the past year designers have been evolving! We have seen the appearance of the Anti-UV, folding, transparent or with a curved shape. The fiber used is retractable and some luxury brands do not hesitate to use a shoulder strap in case one of the free hands can't catch your umbrella!
We couldn't leave you without talking about the big umbrella and not the umbrella bed! As you guessed it is not small, these are very exclusive and functional models, known for its longevity. This category is very rarely manufactured in France, you will tell me but why? It is simple, the national territory is not at all expert in the creation of transparent umbrellas.
Each country has its own practices and some are very talented in a specific category, for example the Americans are very strong in the creation and realization of golf umbrellas. To conclude, don't forget to open the umbrella in rainy weather or during bad weather. Whether you opt for printed or striped, the transparent umbrella remains very waterproof, the particularity is that these tips are replaceable at no cost, It also serves as a windbreaker in some very specific situations.
Which japanese parasol to choose?
Let's move on to the transparent bell umbrella, an extremely atypical style due to the bell shape, it is a kind of inverted umbrella. It is fully foldable and very strong. Like all of them, it's one size fits all and very easy to hold for an ultra light touch. There are nowadays retractable products that are still ultra resistant but will lose a little of their cute side.
Whether it is multicolored or black and white, it has the same ease of opening and closing as its brothers. Its dome is still big enough to protect you from a surprise gust of wind. For women we also designed the right handle to keep the elegant sides and a strong handle without getting their purse wet. Or worse, risk flipping or falling on a slippery step.
You could opt for a double-layer with a transparent effect or a white umbrella from the 2000's, it will be foldable, we have all these categories at Japan-Clothing and you could find cherry blossoms to decorate your women's umbrella. Close your child's umbrella forever after discovering our great collection.
It won't be bulky or mid-range! In the future we will release a carbon fiber & fiberglass collection with silver tones, ideal for a metropolitan use or even why not, for a wedding. You will have understood, it is now the fashion accessory par excellence, some high-end brands even sell a mini umbrella. You will find all the colors you want as well as a solidity without faults, whether for men or women!