Japan at its best
Friday August 1st 2014

My Geta

At the bottom of my kimonobox I have many beautiful geta. They don’t get enough use these days, but in sorting through them I realised how inspirational the Japanese geta were for modern fashion in general.

These must be the ultimate platform shoes!

Brilliant Feet
Brilliant Feet

Originally of course, the idea behind raised shoes for the Japanese feet was to prevent the kimono from getting mud on the hem. When you are wearing very expensive silk kimono that is one thing you must avoid at all costs.

A century ago these girls knew how to avoid mud on the kimono
A century ago these girls knew how to avoid mud on the kimono

Imagine how difficult it must have been for these girls to walk! And what amazing headgear the middle girl has in her hair. The weight of the costume must have been very tedious.

Typically, Geta are made from a piece of solid wood with two wooden blocks underneath. And they make a click clack sound, karankoron karankoron. It is a lovely onomatopoeic word written in katakana like this カランコロン.

So a century or more ago, before the noise of cars took over the Tokyo streets, the sounds of geta clacking away must have been quite a characteristic of Japanese life!

Geta
Geta

There is usually a metal plate on the section that touches the ground to help lengthen the life span of the Geta. The V-shaped thong of cloth forms the upper part of the footwear.

Lovely composition of photo
Lovely composition of photo

(Whilst my own geta in the kimonobox are lovely – I have chosen to use these brilliant images from flickr to highlight the importance of the geta in Japanese culture. Click through on the photos to see more wonderful images and work from their photographers.)

Single tooth geta is really difficult to walk with – look through this video – excellent work!

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