One of the best subjects that Japan owns better that any other country is definitely stylish piece of clothing. With a wide catalogue of traditional Japanese clothes worn by Japanese people across centuries, and this therefore inevitable that some of them tend to come back some years in Fashion worldwide. Among some of them, one in particular is becoming a must-have for every true man or woman Japanese Fashion adept in 2021 is the Hanten. But first let's answer the common question that you are asking yourself right now, what is a Hanten jacket?
A Hanten Jacket is a traditional Japanese jacket with a warm padding or cotton lining all over the body which makes it a very popular coat during the Winter Season in Japan. The Hanten was also the everyday working garment of common people in Japan during the Edo Period.
However, there are no restrictions on who can wear it, unlike some other Japanese jackets and coats. There are also no gender restrictions and the Hanten can be worn by both men and women.
What does Hanten mean?
The term Hanten (半纏 ) refers directly to how the jacket look. The word is formed with a combination of the Kanji "han" (半) that means "half", a reference to the length of the sleeves being half the length and the Kanji "ten" (纏) that is the common term word to described something that is supposed to be worn by people.
What are Hanten made of?
Although most Hanten Jackets can be made of many different materials, the best ones remain in:
Hanten made of cotton are perfect for cold weathers and are drastically softer to the touch. However, cotton is a quite complicated fabric to work with and more expensive, so the price of a Hanten made of 100% cotton will be much higher than one made of synthetic material.
The advantages of Hanten designed with synthetic fabric such as polyester or modal are many. Firstly, they have the advantage of allowing more difficult patterns or symbols to be designed on the fabric, so if your goal is to have a Hanten printed or embroidered with a special symbol, it will always look better on this type of fabric.
Furthermore, polyester is a less noble material than cotton or silk, so it is less expensive, less hard to work with and the cost of purchase is greatly reduced. Today, the majority of Hantens sold on the market to the general customers are made of a combination of cotton and polyester, about 70% cotton and 30% polyester.
Some very high-end Hanten are made of premium silk, but they are quite rare. Silk is a material associated with wealth and opulence, and Hanten is considered a garment of the people, which is probably why silk Hanten are harder to find.
Different types of Hanten
This traditional coat was designed to suit the needs of any men and women no matter their body type of the season of the year but mostly during cold weathers. With its warm lining of thick layer of wadded cotton for warmth, it was a perfect jacket to wear during winter and could even display a family crest or other designs on the front or on the back.
So thanks to its popularity during the Edo Period, lots of different Hanten structures have been designed since the 1800s, here is a little list of the different types of Hanten that you can find in Japanese Fashion:
Japanese Farmer Wearing a Hanten during Edo Period
1. Long Sleeve Hanten
Long sleeves are obviously the warmest option if you're looking for something that comes closest to the feeling of being wrapped in a blanket (without having to drag a blanket with you). The downside is that these cotton-filled Japanese Hanten are very thick.
Furthermore, you are more likely to spill things accidentally on you while wearing a Long Sleeve Hanten, so if you're thinking of wearing your Hanten for a job or task where you manipulate substances or aliments, like cooking or crafting, this is not the best option.
But, in the end, if you just want something to keep you warm while lounging in front of the TV, this is the way to go.
2. Half Sleeve Hanten (Yakko)
The half-sleeved Hanten is so popular that they even gave it its own name. The "yakko" (冷奴) is the best alternative and what most of us recommend you to wear in 2021. You get the warmth of long sleeves and the convenience of a sleeveless style in this half sleeve Hanten.
3. Short Sleeve or Sleeveless Hanten (Chanchanko)
Called Chanchanko (ちゃんちゃんこ), this short sleeve Hanten looks like a vest and are very popular among Japanese youth but also adults as it keeps their hands free. They are perfect for anyone who wants to keep warm while doing tasks with their hands, including cooking, gardening or crafting.
Differences between Hanten, Happi, Haori and Noragi
Hanten, Happi, Haori and Noragi are all different styles of kimono jackets. Most are designed to be worn over a kimono in cold or rainy weather, both for better insulation and to protect the kimono from the elements.
The haori is very similar to the Hanten as it's a short coat that reaches the hip and is also worn over a kimono. However, traditionally, the haori was reserved for the social elite and bourgeoisie, while the Hanten was adopted by the common people.
Happi is usually dyed in a single color but emblems and certain patterns provide relief from the monotone. They are still worn at many matsuri in Japan and by traditional Japanese workers, such as farmers.
Noragi is also a casual Japanese workwear and is usually worn by workers working in the fields or engaged in physical forms of work.
The noragi jacket comes down to the hip or slightly above the thigh. It has a simple, informal design and does not need to be worn over a kimono. Interestingly, American singer-songwriter John Mayer is often seen in a casual Japanese noragi.
How to wear a Hanten?
Although this traditional garment has changed over time, its simplistic design allows it to be accessorized with many outfits.
The Hanten can be worn over a white turtleneck or even on a Sunday over pajamas. It is a rather casual jacket that would be perfect for a loose look. As you can see, the Hanten is a very versatile jacket.
Japanese people don't use heating during winter and usually use a kotatsu to keep them warm, but not everyone has one. Therefore, a winter coat like the Hanten, warm and elegant, is really the ideal garment to pay off the electricity bills!
Whether you are studying, dining with your family, going out shopping or attending a matsuri, the Hanten is perfect choice between comfort and elegance.
How to maintain a Hanten?
Taking care of a Hanten is a bit like taking care of a Japanese futon: just air it out after every long period of usage. Every one or two weeks, it is best to find a sunny morning and let it hang in the sunlight for an hour or two.
How to clean a Hanten?
In general, Hanten should not be put into the washing machine. However, depending on the material that your Hanten is made of, it may be possible to put your Hanten in a net and wash it directly with all your others clothes. In most cases, it's best to hand wash it, wrinkle it and let it dry in the sun.