Origin of the Japanese Happi Coat

The Happi coat originated during the Edo period (1603 to 1867) in Japan. They were primarily worn by the wealthy and working class and originally designed for men. Women soon began wearing them as a protective jacket over the kimono to guard against the elements.

House servants wore Happi coats that were embroidered with the Mon, or family crest they served. Later, shop keepers took up the Happi coat and stamped the name of their business on the back. Fire fighters wore the coats as protective jackets, emblazoned with their crest for visual identification of the firehouse they worked with.

Laborers adopted the Happi coat and used them as protective working jackets. The wealthy wore distinct Happi coats at celebrations and funerals for their servants to be able to identify them quickly when needed.

The long history of the Happi coat still exists today in modern Japan. Many social groups and religious organizations wear the coats marked with their group’s logo for festivals and public gatherings or to identify their membership to a particular religious shrine.

The coats have changed over the centuries going from a solid brown or indigo blue to today’s vibrant colors and varied patterns that signify symbolic cultural references such as the sakura blossom, the crane or dragon.

In the past decade, the Happi has gained popularity as a bathrobe, lounging robe, or as a cover up at the beach or pool. “Happi” today often denotes a mid-length or knee length robe, comfortable and care-free, ideal for modern day living.

Chopa Zen Home & Gift offers a wide selection of men’s and women’s Happi coats in a variety of colors and traditional patterns. They are soft, comfortable and made from 100% cotton for easy care. Our Happi Coats are made in Japan and come with a matching belt.

During the month of January, we are offering free shipping on all Happi coats! (within the continental US only).

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