- “Yomitanzanyaki Kitagama Baiten,” where unique pottery from 4 pottery studios are available
- Founded in 1902! “Sakimoto Shuzo,” a Historic Distillery in Shuri, Continues to Produce Awamori with Unchanged Flavor
This is where "Kariyushi Wear" Started! Naha Futo Port Kariyushi Wear Exhibition and Sales Center
post : 2018.01.04 20:00
At the Naha Warf building which is the nearest port from Naha airport, there is a passenger meeting area with a little-known great shop housed within.
Its name is Kariyushi Wear Exhibition and Sales Center. The Kariyushi wear manufacturing and promotion first started from this place. They always have a good stock of items as many as 70 kinds of Kariyushi wear from 5-6 makers. They often receive a bulk of order from facilities like hotel which use Kariyushi wear as working outfits.
Kariyushi is a word used to describe something that is considered auspicious. One theory suggests that the origin of Kariyushi comes from the description when sea shells were brought ashore describing “kai yose” is a fortunate during the time people didn’t yet know the monetary and sea shells were very precious for humans, according to Naoko Mekaru, the chief of the secretariat Okinawa prefectural government and hotel and ryokan association.
They also respond to inquiries from customers about the particular design of shirt that caught people’s attentions on media such as TV. "We are well acquainted with characteristics of all manufacturers' designs, so we can give answers to any question." They have a very reliable knowledge.
At first, Kariyushi shirts that were available at the market were only for men and women wore small sized men's clothes. Around the year of 2006, women’s shirts began to be sold and now shirts with bright designs became available.
Ever since G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit was held in 2000 when the world leaders appeared in media wearing Kariyushi shirts, it gained a nationwide attention. Yet its history dates back to 1970’s when Mr. Teizo Miyazato who dubbed as a father of Okinawa’s tourism industry visited Hawaii. Seeing aloha shirts worn by local Hawaiians, he came up with an idea of making similar shirts in Okinawa with different designs suitable for Okinawa climate. He selected designs from among the public, named the shirt as “Okinawa Shirt” and then began to sell it.Going through changes in names several times, it was settled as "Kariyushi" in 1990.
The amount of production surpassed forty thousands shirts in 2013. New design is released every year on March 1st, so March and April are busiest months at the shop. They have a good storage of large size shirts, so often people of larger build make a bulk purchase. When we were here at the shop in July, which was off-peak times, they were short of items, indicating the popularity of Kariyushi shirts.
At first, what had defined Kariyushi wear was very strict, however it was gradually relaxed and more and more diverse designs came out. The basic two principles are: they have to be “made in Okinawa” and have something of an expression of Okinawa. Its various designs and Okinawa's exposure to media such as NHK TV Drama "Churasan" more boosted a popularity of Kariyushi. The product lineup come in a wide variety for men and women for all ages. It is suitable for souvenir from Okinawa.
Kariyushi wear is now acknowledged as formal office outfit, worn by countless establishments such as civil services, banks, airline companies and eating and drinking facilities. In 2016 April, Yagaji Hirugi school in Nago city first adopted Kariyushi wear as school uniform.
Kariyushi wear are normally worn with its tails are untucked, which is said to make the body's sensory temperature drop down by two degrees. Most importantly, finding a shirt in one's size is best way for dressing nicely. The sizes and shapes vary with each brand so make sure to try on every time and sometimes ask for advice for your color choice, Ms. Mekaru suggests. Nicely pressed shirts will look very neat and pay attention to how to accessorize,for instance with shoes, is also crucial point, too. She added.
Why not try Kariyushi Shirt, in order to survive Okinawa heat?
"I sometimes run into a person wearing a shirt of exactly the same as mine. When I see this actually I am happy because sharing the same shirt means sharing the same taste!" "It is like Ichariba Chode, once we meet, we become brothers and sisters." Ms. Mekaru said in a nice smile and continued. "Kariyushi Wear is great outfit suited to the Okinawa's climate. I hope it will be even more widely acknowledged both domestically and internationally."
Kariyushi Wear Exhibition and Sales Center's purpose of operation is sales and promotion of Kariyushi wear. Thus the prices are surprisingly reasonable. From a wide selection of the shirts, you are bound to find one that meets your liking!
Kariyushi Wear Exhibition and Sales Center
Address: 2-1 Tondo-cho Naha City Okinawa Prefecture
Open hours: 10:00-18:00 (April - August)
9:00-17:00 (September - March)
Closed on: Saturday, Sunday and Public holidays