Hanten

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Japanese homes are traditionally designed to allow prevailing wind to pass through in the summer for natural cooling. As a consequence, these homes are extremely cold in the winter. Japan’s growth to the number two economy in the world has taken place in the last 50 years, predominantly from the 70s on; couple that with a reluctance to abandon tradition, and you’ll understand why there are still a number of chilly houses.

HantenHanten (袢纏・半纏) are garments precipitated from this condition. They are designed similar to haori (羽織) which are often worn over kimono, but they are filled with batting for insulation. Many hanten are made from cotton, but the two pictured here are made from retired kimono (着物), so they are nice silk. Core temperature protection has long been considered important in Japan and, in that vein, these are long enough to reach mid-thigh.

Commonly, hanten may have floppy, puffy sleeves which are very comfy; however, you’ll note these are sleeveless. When doing chores, particularly kitchen work, the sleeves become a liability. These are made for active members of the household. Nobody wants to drag a sleeve through an open flame or across a bloody cutting board.

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