If you’re thinking of splashing out on a down or fleece jacket this winter, you might want to think again. For a century and a half the humble hanten has been a staple of many a Japanese wardrobe. And some recent research by one of the country’s top hanten makers illustrates just why that is.
For several years here at Japan Store we have carried hanten made by Kuwano Shinken Sangyo, who market their handmade jackets under the brand name Watanosato (“The Home of Cotton”). They come in a variety of traditional patterns and comply to the strict specifications that allow them to be classified as Kurume Kasuri and distinguish them from cheaper hanten, mostly made in China. One specification is that the padding must contain at least 50% cotton. Watanosato hanten contain 70% cotton, with 30% polyester to ensure the padding keeps its volume and insulation qualities for many years of use. So just how warm are they?
The company carried out tests to compare the insulation qualities of three types of jackets. They used one of their own hanten and compared it to a fleece jacket and a down jacket, both from popular brand Uniqlo. With an ambient room temperature of about 15 degrees Celcius, skin temperature was measured both before and while wearing the different jackets for a period of 30 minutes using a thermographic camera. The image below shows clearly that the hanten keeps you consistently warmer (for geeks, the table of data is at the bottom of the post).
So this winter try on a traditional hanten and enjoy the warmth that has insulated Japanese people for over 150 years. See our selection of mens and ladies hanten.
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