kariyushi is a term typically applied to describe a type of shirt that is quintessentially Okinawan. They are brightly designed (although many are more subtly colored) with shisaa, bingata, and floral patterns. In the summer months the kariyushi are often worn in lieu of the traditional white shirt and tie.

The shirts actually became popular after 1970 when hotel workers began wearing them in an attempt to attract tourists to Okinawa. Over time tour guides and other travel-oriented workers began wearing them. Now, many central Okinawan government workers wear these shirts during office hours having been prompted to do so in 2005 as part of a "Cool Biz" campaign. Each head of state wore one during the 26th G8 summit held in Okinawa in 2000. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi wore one at the 2003 Japan Pacific Islands Summit that convened on Okinawa.

They can be purchased for a few thousand yen but some go for tens of thousands. Those are the type made out of musa basjoo, the Japanese fiber banana, similar to Hawaiian tapa cloth.

One must be cautious though when using the name "Kariyushi" as it is a trademark of the Okinawa Industrial Joint Association. Specifications for qualifying as Kariyushi include provisions that the material used in their production must be manufactured on Okinawa, and the pattern must promote Okinawa tourism.



















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