Helpers for foreign tourists in Japan get new uniform

Yoichi Masuzoe gets a preview of the new uniforms for Tokyo guides
Yoichi Masuzoe gets a preview of the new uniforms for Tokyo guides (Fashionsnap.com)

TOKYO (TR) – Volunteers looking to help foreigners visiting Tokyo will soon be clearly visible as a new uniform by fashion designer Tamaki Fujie should ensure they stand out in any crowd.

On May 29, Yoichi Masuzoe, the governor of Tokyo, unveiled the new uniform at a news conference in Japan’s capital. “We received many designs,” Masuzoe said, according to website Buzzap. “We chose this one because it is easy to recognize.”

The new uniforms, which include a hat with a red circle, inspired by the Japanese flag; a vest in the nation’s national color, a royal blue; a printed tie; and a black pants or a skirt. Omotenashi, the Japanese word for hospitality, features prominently on the back of the outfit. They are intended to associate the volunteers with Japan and present them in a smart manner, fashion website Senken said.

Buzzap points out that Japan’s netizens were not so kind, saying it was difficult to understand how such a uniform would be chosen under any circumstances. Others, according to the website, suspect that the original design was diluted into a monstrosity through requests by Tokyo officials into a Frankenstein outfit.

Japan has received an increasing number of tourists in recent years, in part because of the weaker yen and the buildup to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The city will place volunteers in the uniforms at 10 locations across the city, including Shinjuku and Asakusa.

Designer Tamaki studied fashion printmaking at Central Saint Martins College in London, website Fashionsnap said. Her designs for the public are occasionally available at Isetan Park in Shinjuku for limited periods.

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