Japan’s Super Cool Biz? Yes. With Aloha Shirts? Ehh, Not So Much.

A few weeks ago, we reported on the Japanese government’s Super Cool Biz campaign, which is basically an initiative to encourage Japan’s office workers and business folk to wear lighter, cooler and somewhat more casual clothing during the hot summer months. It is a big part of this year’s setsuden summer in Japan, where a premium has been placed on conserving electricity due to the country’s diminished electric power production capacity in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown back in March. And apparently the Super Cool Biz campaign has been a big hit. Polo-style shirts in particular have become a kind of new and comfortable symbol of a more relaxed and energy-conscious environment in Japan’s busy and rather serious offices. In addition, some government offices in Tokyo and other cities are allowing workers to wear pattern-free t-shirts, and even knee-length shorts. So with every day this summer basically being a casual Friday in Japan, you wouldn’t be surprised to see folks wearing Hawaiian shirts, right? Well, wrong. Seems Hawaiian shirts, known as ‘aloha shirts’ in Japan, are a source of discomfort and controversy in Japanese office environments. At the link, you’ll get some historical background about the origins of aloha shirts (they were invented in Japan) and why these shirts are an uncomfortable reminder of Japan’s loss in World War II. Oh, and on the practical side, it seems that the very hot and humid Japanese summers make wearing the typical Rayon aloha shirt a pretty uncomfortable and impractical undertaking. Who knew? (Asahi Shimbun Online – “Aloha” Shirts Not Super Cool for Biz)

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