Unique design should be a hit with fashionistas and history buffs, and also hides a subtle anime cosplay secret.
While Japan’s feudal era is now a thing of the past, this is actually a pretty good time to be alive if you’re assembling a samurai-style wardrobe. Just within the past few weeks, we’ve seen the announcement of a new line of summer samurai half-coats and expanded options in the lamellar armor-inspired satchel sector.
But with the rainy season fast approaching in Japan, Bushido fashion fans will need a way to keep dry. A katana handle umbrella might seem like the obvious choice, but if you want something that exudes even more elegant simplicity and casual grace, the better option is an umbrella that takes its cues from a bokuto, or wooden sword.
The stylish umbrella is being sold by Japanese company Thanko, whose previous offerings have included clip-on armpit fans and a USB Pollen Blocker mask that covers your entire head. The company has decided to go with a much more practical solution for dealing with Japan’s rainy season, which comes between the hay fever peak in spring and the blazing hot days of midsummer.
But just because Thanko’s engineers took it easy on this project doesn’t mean the artistic designers did too. There’s some cool kanji character etching on the handle. Well, at least it looks cool. The actual meaning is pretty pedestrian, since the kanji just reads “Toyako,” or “Lake Toya,” a common tourist destination in Hokkaido.
If this is all starting to sound familiar, odds are you’re a fan of anime and manga franchise Gintama, in which leading man/badass swordsman Gintoki wields a bokuto with the same kanji characters carved into it. The similarities are clearly intentional, as Thanko’s official name for the product is Bokuto Umbrella Toyako, and one of its promotional images is a thinly veiled bit of Gintama cosplay.
▼ While not an officially licensed Gintama product, you can’t really trademark the name of a real-life lake, and Gintoki himself has shown a liking for financial gain.
But even those who’ve never watched a single one of Gintama’s 328 anime episodes or read any of its 634 manga chapters can still appreciate the aesthetics of this cool umbrella, which comes with a shoulder strap-equipped cover.
The Bokuto Umbrella Toyako can be ordered here through Thanko, and is priced at 1,980 yen (US$18).
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’ll take the rainy season over a snowy one.