Happi Days

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Happi Days

Happi are lightweight, cotton jackets, with standard style sleeves, not the deep, kimono style ones, and they are worn by the Japanese at festivals and sports events and sometimes worn as shop livery or by performewrs, such as taiko troupes. You can see one in the picture above.

Samue are suits with wrap-over jackets (similar to  jinbei tops), that have standard type sleeves and not kimono style ones, and trousers (often with elasticated at the ankles or with drawstrings there). Samue were originally field workers’ wear and can be seen worn by Buddhist monks when travelling. They are comfortable, casual wear. I only have one left on the site, as I have only ever bought a few. I am not sure if I have any more in my boxes but, if I have, it won’t be many and I don’t know when I will come across them. You can see a samue in the picture below.

Below, you can see a hanten. These tend to be slightly heavier cotton than happi and are often worn as work livery and sometimes seen at festivals. They too have standard style sleeves and not kimono style sleeves. They are also worn by Japanese firemen, whose hanten have belts. In the past, for fire fighting, they wore specially heavy weave hanten, matching trousers and special hoods that cover the whole head apart from the eyes and wore the lighter weight hanten at all other times. The firm, heavy weave helped make them fire resistant. Nowadays, I believe, they only wear the lighter weight ones and, when actually fighting fires, wear more modern fire fighting apparel.

I don’t have many hanten. I laid aside the one in the photo quite some time ago and have no idea where I put it, so it isn’t on the site yet but I will add the few I have as I find them. The one below isn’t mine but it is very cute: a modern, fleece, Elmo, Japanese, hoodie hanten.

The next picture shows a jinbei. These are light, summer tops, with wrap-over fronts that tie at one side. They sometimes come with matching shorts

I have that jinbei plus a jinbei and shorts set to add soon to the Jinbei section of my website. Children’s sizes of all these garments are in the Children’s Clothing section of the site and not in the new sections, which are only for adult ones.


Here, below, you can see a girls’ red kimono; it is a kimono for Shichi-Go-San celebrations. Shichi-Go-San (Seven-Five-Three) is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three and seven year old girls and for three and five year old boys, held annually on the weekend nearest to 15 November. Women’s kimonos are exceedingly long, because females wear kimonos with a big fold-over at the waist that shortens them when on, so these girl’s kimonos are excellent display items, as they are not nearly as long as adult ones.

If you want to wear a kimono as a pretty coat or want to wear one without the traditional, shortening fold-over at the waist, this girl’s size is great on an adult because children worn without the big fold-over at the waist, these kimonos for seven year old girls are surprisingly long and calf to ankle length on an adult, depending on height. Because children also wear them with big tucks sewn into the shoulders that make them narrower,  without those tucks, the shoulders are also wide enough for many adults to wear. My UK size 10, adult daughter wears this girl’s size, closed with a simple, 3 inch deep belt, and, as she is a fairly petite adult,  they are about ankle length on her. My older sister wears this size too, open, as lightweight, pretty, three-quarter-length-sleeved coats that are mid calf length on her. When in hospital recently, she also wore one as an open robe, which was greatly admired and brightened up her stay there.




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