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Kyoto sneakers given a distinctly Japanese touch

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Hanao Shoes, right, and sandals for geiko and maiko apprentice geiko

The Yomiuri ShimbunKYOTO — The Sports Agency is promoting a fashion trend of wearing sneakers with a suit — now that sneakers are available that look just like leather shoes, dress codes are changing in the business world.

So why not combine sneakers with kimono too? Sneakers known as Hanao Shoes are enjoying an underground boom with red, purple and other colors attached to the center of the footwear.

Hanao Shoes are part of “Whole Love Kyoto,” a fashion brand launched by Kyoto University of Art & Design Associate Prof. Yosuke Sakai, 37, and students of the university. The straps are produced by Osaka-based Kikunokonomi, a long-established maker of kimono accessories.

Hanao Shoes became popular when they were showcased at Kyoto Art Theater Shunjuza during the Miyako Odori dance performance last spring. Sakai and the students learned how to attach the Hanao-like straps to the shoes at Choboya in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, which manufactures Japanese footwear, including special sandals called okobo worn by maiko apprentice geiko. Hanao Shoes went on sale last summer.

The sneakers go for ¥18,144 a pair, and people were initially skeptical about how well the pricey sneakers would sell. Thanks to their authentic handwork and ease of wear, however, they’ve done very well. More than 70 pairs were sold at Shunjuza when the dance performance was held this spring. A total of 140 pairs were supplied to two luxury department stores in London.

Hanao Shoes will be available for a limited time only at department stores and select shops.

Haruka Takenouchi, 20, is involved in manufacturing Hanao Shoes and describes the sneakers as “old but new.” Even a female manager of an ochaya entertainment house in the Gion district wears them with a kimono. The dress code for the hanamachi entertainment quarter may change from the feet up.Speech

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