When it comes to technology, Japan has always been at the forefront of innovation. From high-speed trains to cutting-edge robotics, the country has consistently looked for ways to stay one step ahead of the rest of the world. Now, Japanese technology has even made its way into clothing as companies embrace new innovations to help people cope with the intense summer heat.
This July, Japan faced its hottest summer in a century, with temperatures soaring to unprecedented levels. The scorching heatwave raised concerns about heat-related illnesses and deaths. According to an AFP report, at least 53 people died from heat stroke and nearly 50,000 required emergency medical attention. In response to this dire situation, companies in Japan have introduced innovative products designed specifically to relieve heat.
One notable innovation comes from Workman, a company that specializes in making clothing for construction workers. In 2020, they launched fan jackets that incorporate two palm-sized rechargeable electric fans on the back. These fans suck in air and deliver a cooling breeze to the wearer’s body at different speeds. The popularity of these jackets highlights the growing interest in fan-equipped wearable garments.
MI Creations offers another solution to combat heat stroke among Japan’s aging population. They provide neck cooling tubes containing cooling gel that can be refrigerated for 20 minutes and worn around the neck for up to an hour of relief. This simple yet effective approach helps reduce body temperature and mitigate heat-related risks.
Liberta, a Tokyo-based company, offers a range of clothing items such as T-shirts and arm sleeves designed to provide a refreshing sensation. These products incorporate xylitol-based prints that react with water and sweat on the skin, creating a cooling effect.
Chikuma has collaborated with power tool maker Makita and textile giant Teijin to develop office jackets and dresses equipped with electric fans. Unlike traditional fan garments that may appear bulky or unattractive, these pieces feature a unique structure that maintains a streamlined appearance while keeping the cooling air circulating.
Even traditional gender norms are evolving as men in Japan embrace practicality over stigma. Komiyama Shoten, a luxury umbrella maker, started producing men’s umbrellas in response to a call from the Ministry of the Environment to use such accessories for sun protection. While umbrellas were once considered feminine, more and more men are realizing the benefits of staying shaded and cooler under an umbrella.
Portable fans are also gaining popularity among both men and women. People like Shoma Kawashima rely on these devices for instant relief from the heat. These fans offer a convenient way to stay cool on-the-go.
However, it is crucial to recognize that these technological innovations alone cannot solve the challenge of rising temperatures. As climate change continues to affect the world, broader efforts must be made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement sustainable practices. This will ensure a more comfortable and livable environment for all.
In essence, Japanese companies have introduced innovative products to help people cope with extreme summer heat. From fan jackets and neck cooling tubes to xylitol-based clothing and electric fan-equipped garments, there are various options available for individuals seeking relief from scorching temperatures. However, it is important to remember that technology alone cannot address the underlying issue of climate change. Broader efforts towards sustainability remain essential for creating a comfortable future for everyone.