Transparent umbrellas

I think I’m starting to be too used to Japan and I’m loosing my capacity to be surprised by “things that make Japan different”. I uploaded his picture to Flickr and many users told me that all umbrellas in the picture except mine are transparent!

View picture on Flickr

Yes, the transparent umbrella is the most common one in Japan. They’re cheap and they break easily, but people does not care because it’s seen as a temporary or emergency umbrella. Many transparent forgotten umbrellas can be found on the streets after some rain,. Also, I call the transparent umbrella the “community umbrella” because when you put your transparent umbrella together with other transparent umbrellas when you enter a shop or restaurant… then when you leave the place you don’t really know which one was your umbrella so you just get one 🙂 It would be interesting to track a transparent umbrella around Tokyo during rainy week, I bet it would have many “owners” until it breaks.

Another advantage is that you can more or less see what it’s in front of you. In fact when riding a bicycle under the rain it is really useful, although I think it is illegal to ride a bike with an umbrella in Japan. I do it all the time and the police never said anything to me.

Japan is the country in the world where more umbrellas are produced during a year, and transparent umbrellas are the most common here. It must have some kind of record, It could the most successful umbrella of all times, maybe the news super-umbrellas will be the transparent ones 😉 ? Do you know which company makes these transparent umbrellas?

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  • Ekowc

    June 30, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I have never seen transparent umbrella here. Usually they are black or dark blue.

  • Segata

    June 30, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Tokyo seems so beautiful in the rain.
    Lots of bijin ladies in the streets;)

  • Neil Duckett

    June 30, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    It’s amazing how useful a transparent umbrella is …. vision is so much better than the original kind.

  • ptm

    June 30, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    I just came back from my first visit to Japan. The transparent umbrellas were one of the first things I noticed. We were staying in Shinjuku and the first day was rather stormy. The majority of umbrellas that I saw that day were transparent–with white handles. These were carried by both men and women.

  • Anonymous

    June 30, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    First thing I noticed is how well everyone in the photo is dressed.

  • Ricky

    July 1, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Nice photos. Very nice!

  • tornadoes28

    July 1, 2008 at 11:30 am

    That is something new I have learned about Japan. Interesting. Now I wonder why you would see any other umbrella other then transparant. Those people in the pictures with other colored umbrellas must be rebels.

  • kirai

    July 1, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    yes! I’m a rebel too I guess 🙂

  • Jamaipanese

    July 2, 2008 at 6:07 am

    in jamaica it’s the cheap black umbrella -_-

  • ~JeromeFo

    July 3, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Unfortunately…my country dun have transparent umbrella >

  • Edward

    July 4, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Wonderful photos! Never thought about it before, but it would be interesting to track one. I guess a little like a message in a bottle. Maybe a blog and ask people to leave a comment and picture…

    Guess I’m a rebel too. Always using by white and blue umbrella.

  • Aybars

    July 5, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Great shots, I just love the rain and how lively the life seems in japan.

  • tofu

    July 5, 2008 at 11:10 am

    i like the color of the photo .. is nice …

  • Windbell

    July 9, 2008 at 1:56 am

    I like the transparent umbrellas and also the black ones too.

    Funny how everyone looks at the camera. If I do that back at home, people just shun away 🙁

  • susbarg_waterandlife

    July 9, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Well done Kirai! That’s what I call “Water and Life”! These rainy photos give a very interesting perspective of everyday life in Japan.

  • nanachan707

    July 12, 2008 at 3:01 am

    what’s really funny is that while transparent unbrellas are used in rainy days, the opaque unbrella has also a wide use during sunny days since japanese people avoid getting tanned like the plague! and so they use opaque umbrellas to block the sunlight – which I don’t really understand since I’m Spanish and love my olive skin. 🙂

  • viki

    July 15, 2008 at 6:44 am

    I love transparent umbrellas

  • Thierry

    July 20, 2008 at 9:32 am

    I prefer the transparent umbrella. It let me watch the buildings and the people in front of me. 🙂

  • keeheritage

    January 26, 2009 at 10:44 am

    In my country transparent umbrella cost like hell…. the cheap ones are printed in cute design and usually in soft pastel color.. if it rains hard or windy the umbrella will break.. the transparent are of high quality and i got mine stolen damn.. xP…

  • shorts

    January 27, 2009 at 6:28 am

    I went to Tokyo last november. Transparent umbrella was really handy when I got caught in the rain without an Umbrella. Very cheap and they sell them everywhere… In ikebukuro that is…

  • templeofheaven

    April 22, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Clear umbrellas are manufactured in China for very cheap. If I remember the number correctly, Japan buys over 100 million umbrellas a year and most are cheap throw away types. Really bad for the environment.

  • Mikaela

    April 23, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    That’s so cool.
    Is it true that sharing an umbrella is romantic in Japan?

  • adriana

    June 8, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Hello! i am searching any information about umbrellas, and specially transparent ones.
    My name is Adriana, Im from Argentina and i´m studyng industry design. i´m doing an investigation about umbrellas. Please, if you know which company makes this umbrellas, or which was the first in manufactured this kind of umbrellas, i will be very gratefull with you


  • Chandra Wijaya

    June 13, 2009 at 2:55 am

    It must be good business there.. 😀 Selling cheap umbrella that easily break…

  • cryptnotic

    March 26, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    It should be noted that the transparent umbrellas are only about 150 to 300 yen. I don’t think anyone makes much money on them. Every newsstand will have tons of them when it starts raining. And people will give them away or leave them places for the next person who needs it.

    I think it’s a good system.

  • Chaudie

    June 5, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I would love to see these with people in my area instead of them with their heads down walking blind and about to get hit by my car. It was raining the other day and about three different families nearly walked into my car.

  • jenny

    December 18, 2011 at 4:41 am

    Lovely pictures!

  • Shinjuku Photo Walk | Randomwire

    October 13, 2012 at 2:58 am

    […] else have I seen these kinds of transparent umbrellas but they were everywhere in Japan. They have the advantage that you can see where you’re […]