Noragi jacket

Discover the noragi streetwear jacket

Japanese streetwear is full of many interesting clothes to wear. This is the case of the noragi jacket, a piece that is becoming more and more important in the men's wardrobe.

The parallel history between Noragi and kimono

Japanese fashion is inspired by the country's glorious past. Thus, in the streets of the cities and in the countryside, the inhabitants dress in kimonos. This garment has attracted the attraction of other cultures, which saw in it a symbol of strength and power. Indeed, in France for example, the kimono is associated with the practice of judo or karate. The most sporty have the image of Teddy Riner's fights with a white or blue outfit.

teddy riner in blue kimono

The term kimono is therefore mainly used to designate a sports fighting outfit. If this is not wrong, the origin of the kimono is not. Before the Western world came to influence Japanese culture, the term kimono referred to any kind of clothing. The translation of the word, by "kiru" and "mono", means "clothing that one wears on oneself".

The kimono has a T-shape, with large rectangles, either sewn or folded. It is worn by both men and women. Today, Japanese people wear it for official ceremonies such as weddings and funerals. It is an extremely codified garment that designates by several characteristics a certain social class. Thus, the material, the color or the patterns were also related to the age or the marital status.

Japanese kimonos worn by women

Many variations exist and all have different names. There is for example the furisode, which is nothing else than the female kimono. It is recognizable thanks to its long sleeves that almost touch the ground. Japanese women use it especially during the seijin shiki ceremony, in which we celebrate the passage to adulthood of young Japanese women.

The kimono comes from the Chinese and Korean influence. Indeed, during the Asuka period, between the 6th and the 7th century, Buddhism is invited on the Japanese islands. At this time the Japanese will revisit the traditional Chinese garment, the hanfu, present during the Tang period. Other skills were also introduced to the Japanese archipelago. Metallurgy and even writing arrived in the country.

With the Nara period, in the 8th century, the kimono will finally gain in popularity with the inhabitants. The garment has then short and wide sleeves, which the famous samurais will wear. In the past, the kimono was called kosode and its shape will be lengthened. Its aspect will also evolve, in particular because of the economic and social crises which took place. It is the case for example of the sumptuary laws, under the Edo era, which limit the access to precious materials.

The Meiji era, from 1867 to 1912, will mean the decline of the kimono. Indeed, laws were passed to modify the dress of the country's civil servants, who then wore pants and jackets with lapels. Yosoka is the name of this clothing transition at the end of the 19th century.

The history of the kimono finally allows us to better understand the history of the Noragi jacket, which is less known than its sporty counterpart. If the kimono and the noragi jacket have a parallel history, it is because these two garments were both gradually left aside with the western influence, before coming back to the front of the scene.

An ancient garment and symbol of the Japanese countryside

the noragi jacket

The noragi jacket seems at first sight like a kind of Japanese cardigan. But it is much more than that. As we will see later, it is a garment symbolizing the rural environment in Japan.

The name noragi comes from "nora" for field and "gi" for uniform, which means "field uniform". Going further, it can be broken down into several kanji :

  • 野: the first one which means plain or fields.
  • 良: the second which relates to the pleasant and the good.
  • 着: the third which means to carry.

 If the word is translated literally, it finally comes to "good to be worn in the fields". More globally the name noragi refers to the set of clothes worn by the Japanese rural class as well as the more modest.

In addition to jackets and kimonos, there were also pants and socks. Everything was handwoven by Japanese women. They spun the hemp and linen and wove it. This knowledge was transmitted from mother to daughter and followed the generations until the arrival of weaving wheels and other devices.

As far as dyeing was concerned, indigo was preferred because it was available locally and allowed to maintain the weaving. In a more distant Japan, the poor could not wear colors that were too flashy either. Finally, the interest of indigo was to present anti-mosquito properties.

Cotton was then imported from China to be cultivated in the southwest of the archipelago, which gave rise to new productions of noragi. Hemp was finally replaced little by little as the processes became more and more mechanized. Trade was flourishing and merchants, as well as some craftsmen, became rich.

Unfortunately, in Japan, the social rank is very important. Thus, when a Japanese was part of a higher social class, it was necessary to show it. For 265 years, the Tokugawa military government applied an isolationist policy. It was the shogunate that was then in place. In order to keep a certain balance between the classes, sumptuary laws were introduced. The peasant class is paradoxically the one who is subjected to many prohibitions. Even the rules of dress were regulated by the government. Certain materials and patterns were forbidden for certain classes.

While samurai and the entire Japanese cultural elite could wear silk, the peasant class was simply required to wear noragi, which was then sewn into sashiko in order to have a long life. Like the kimono, there will be a certain renewal of the Japanese wardrobe under the Western influence from the end of the 19th century. As for the noragi, in the Japanese countryside, it was worn at least until after the end of the Second World War.


From work to fashion

At the end of World War II, despite the anti-American propaganda in the war, many Japanese came to admire the prosperity and strength of the United States. The taste for American suits and other fashion pieces finally arrived. The noragi jacket finally began to be outdated. Even in the countryside, where it still seemed to have a future, the peasants gradually put it aside.

Japanese reconstruction and economic revival accompanied the development of Western, and especially American, style throughout the country. In addition, technological developments pushed the noragi jacket to the side. New materials and production techniques arrived, further enhancing the development of Western clothing of all kinds.

As we have seen, the noragi jacket was primarily a garment used by the Japanese peasant classes. Thus, its design and conception were primarily intended to be a workwear piece, useful and pleasant.

If the collar has the design of the kimono, the sleeves are shorter and narrower. On many models, the armhole has a triangle gusset while the sides are straight. Initially woven by hand and supplemented with other pieces to extend the life, noragi jackets have gradually been used to create another style particularly interesting: the patchwork boro or sashiko.

patchwrok sashiko

As fashion is a story of cycle, the noragi jacket had to come back to the front of the scene. Lately, Japanese designers have taken it over to create a high-class streetwear garment. If this type of clothing was previously considered a symbol of the poor Japanese peasant class, the noragi now evokes the positive aspect of the thing. Work and perseverance are now put in the spotlight in pieces with well-constructed patterns.

Variations related to the noragi jacket

Several other outfits have taken noragi as a source of inspiration. First of all, it is the case of boro patchwork.

Boro refers to clothing made from pieces of fabric assembled together using the patchwork technique. There are also realizations of sheets as well as accessories. This type of textile was widely used in Northern Japan until the 20th century. The rural population used it massively because the necessary resources to make real clothes were not present. The Japanese used then the boro to resist to the cold of the winter.

patchwork boro

As this kind of garment is made of several pieces of different fabrics, it should be noted that it does not follow any real geometrical logic. It follows the seasons because the Japanese peasants added new pieces several times so that the boro could last even longer. Wear and tear leads to the appearance of newer textiles which are rectangular in shape in most cases.

In the Tohoku region, the climate did not allow the production of cotton, which along with silk, was reserved for the upper classes. But when their clothes were too worn out and thus thrown away, the peasants recovered them in order to assemble their textile pieces and thus create the boro patchwork.

Several techniques existed to sew the pieces to the basic garment. There was the sakiori, in which the fabric was torn into strips to form the weft while hemp threads formed what is called the warp. The katazome technique was used to create patterns. To do this, paper stencils were used and then rice paste was applied to the fabric. A dyeing allowed the pattern to find the color of the original garment.

Today, the boro patchwork is back on the scene. Because it was also put aside by the Japanese because it reminded them of poverty. Now, designers are inspired to create quality pieces, sometimes using the techniques formerly used.

The TENSHI™ noragi collection
noragi streetwear tenshi

The TENSHI™ store offers a whole collection of noragi jacket. Just like the old pieces that the Japanese used to create, show those around you that you are a true worker. All of the clothing available on our site aims to bring noragi, an inseparable part of Japanese fashion, back into fashion.

By being faithful to the original pieces, the TENSHI™ collection wishes to pay tribute to this high quality garment. You will thus be able to find several streetwear jackets with a worked and pleasant design. The wide and drooping sleeves are obviously present.

noragi TENSHI™

First, you'll have classic black models. Amaji, Ikehara and Arioka noragi techwear jackets offer the lightness, comfort and technicality of techwear pieces. These will finally allow you to be in tune with Japanese sobriety. Having an elegant look while enjoying a certain freedom of movement is possible.

But if techwear models don't appeal to you, TENSHI™ offers other pieces. For those who appreciate elaborate designs, the Shimoda model varies between two hues by offering a peace logo on the back. A pink color is also available for those who want to change the black.

noragi techwear TENSHI™

But TENSHI™ doesn't stop there.

The Ando and Sakamoto noragi streetwear jackets will bring some originality to this outfit. The first one takes the denim jacket side giving a trendy yet casual look. The Sakamoto model takes the code of the noragi jacket while presenting a gradient between gray and black. This one is also a good alternative to the hoodie.

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