August 26, 2016

Umbrella That Sells 8,000 Pieces
a Year in Japan


Just Like Oxygen and Water

Have you ever heard of vinyl umbrella, which is an umbrella made out of clear PVC? You can easily find them in shops like convenience store and kiosk, and for Japanese people its existence is almost as equal to oxygen and water. This is the best selling umbrella that sells 8,000 pieces a year. You may think “Do you really need that many umbrellas?”. However we Japanese are often surprised when we hear foreign people do not really use umbrellas with small rain. This is because the rain in Japan won’t stop that easily, and it doesn’t help to shelter under some roofs because again really, it doesn’t quite stop. Japan is a country with high humidity, so once your garment is wet it will take some time to get dry. You also carry laptops and phones which you wil like to avoid them from getting wet. In addition, there are many of heavy squalls (mostly noted as “Guerilla Rain” in Japan) happening a lot in recent years. If it starts to rain on a day where everybody is without their umbrellas, then that’s the time people run into shops to get hold of the vinyl umbrellas.



An Hook-Up Umbrella, Not the Real One

According to a record, it is said that vinyl umbrellas are consumed everyday, to the point people buy it at least one every year. There should be one real good umbrella in your house, which is much more well made and expensive than vinyl umbrellas. Let’s say you call that a love-of-your-life umbrella, then a vinyl umbrella will be your casual hook up that you have to get one occasionally and suddenly where you cannot resist? They are normally treated as one off and disposable umbrellas, though there are some good sides to it too. Fist of all it is made out of clear PVC which gives you 360-degree panorama view. You can notice of any bicycles that are running into you. Second of all it is light weight. Last of all it is cheap.



A Cinderella Story Behind Vinyl Umbrellas

After its birth in 1958, invented by a Japanese rainwear company, vinyl umbrellas have been the convenience tools for people, and it is changing by years. Although, its image as “disposable umbrella” has long been the hardest label to wipe off with. Then there comes the chance for vinyl umbrellas to gain honourable status.
In 2010, Empress Michiko has appeared in the garden party with vinyl umbrella the very first time. The reason for her choice is that so she can look at the faces of her guests clearly. The umbrella she has used is called “En-Yu”, by a company White Rose Co., Ltd. from Taito-ku, Tokyo. Assembling their years of inventions such as “easiness to use and non-stickiness when wet”, “reduction in wind resistance to decrease the weight at its handle”, and “a water proof satin fabric handle”, White Rose umbrella is acclaimed as world’s number one vinyl umbrella and world’s first formal vinyl umbrella.


そんな利点の多さから、ビニ傘は日本の雨具メーカーで1958年に開発されて以降、各方面で重宝され、進化し続けてきた。しかしなかなか安物の使い捨てというイメージを払拭しきれずにいたところに、 由緒あるステイタスを得るきっかけが訪れた。

Using the Clear View Feature

White Rose Co.,Ltd. is also producing vinyl umbrellas that are especially for politician’s street speech. Its clear view feature is thought to be useful for their speech as the listeners can see the face. Also fact that its handles are made hard to slip away and is wind resistant, White Rose umbrellas are favoured by politicians as they can “win the election by being strong with headwind and will not slip away from the picks”. The umbrella is named “Kate-ru” which in Japanese means “winning”.
Kids umbrellas partially use PVC material as well. For kids it is better to hold umbrellas that are mainly with colourful prints as they are short in height. That way it is easier for cars to recognise them in the rain. Kids umbrellas come with few small clear PVC windows, and it is been favoured by parents that this can secure the front view even for the kids who tend to walk by looking down the street, thus they can commute to kindergatens safely.



To the World’s Fashion Umbrellas

Japanese vinyl umbrellas have increased its attention world wide now, and there are many of the notable brands producing the same kind of products in recent years. There are even vinyl umbrellas that can cost about more than ¥20,000. Umbrellas invented by FULTON, which is a brand in London that holds Royal Warrant, and has gained its popularity after the Queen Elizabeth and and also the Duchess of Cambridge appearing with holding the FULTON umbrellas.
If you have any interests towards vinyl umbrellas, it maybe another way to have fun looking at vinyl umbrellas in in department stores with different colors and brands. There are several unique vinyl umbrellas from anything anything to cheap to expensive.
There is a trend gong on where you put some stickers and masking tape around its handles to avoid from making them look the same. If you come to Japan, please have a look and try about the vinyl umbrellas.



writer / MARY SANADA
photographer / HIROTO ITAGAKI

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