Skating Geta



Skating Geta
This was a Japanese revolutionary idea that, when it was first invented over a hundred years ago, became very popular and was the heart of winter play.
In times past, when all Japanese wore geta as their shoe style, winter snow skiing and ice-skating were not well known or popular. Then some Japanese got the idea of putting blades on the bottom of geta and using them as ice skates. This was cheap and easy to do and also playing in the streets then was safe so it became very popular among children. Very quickly it became the main form of winter play. They would use ice skating geta to have races and see who could go the farthest as well as build mounds to jump over. Sometimes they would water the jumping area one day before so it would become ice overnight. The people even held championships from all over town and competed with each other. Ice skating geta were also used for doing daily chores like shopping. Most people would wear the geta with socks, or "tabi" a special Japanese style sock, but sometimes would skate with nothing on their feet except the geta. After they became cold they would get near some heat and warm up. Their feet would become very red and their toes would get frostbitten and itchy. But the skating was so much fun they would keep going. Those were fun times for the people but times have changed a lot and the streets are so busy with traffic now that it is not safe for this kind of play anymore.


The origins of the ice skating geta.
 The origins of the ice skating geta is traced back to a man named Inazo Nitobe. He was famous for many things and was from Morioka, Iwate Prefecture which is a wonderful twist of fate, I think. In 1891 (Meiji 24) when he was a teacher of Sapporo Agricultural School, he brought back home some ice skating shoes from a trip to Germany. Even though these were western style shoes, the blades were easily fixed to geta. Students and others became
fascinated with this geta modification and the new form of play it offered.
Then, in 1900, in Suwa district of Nagano Prefecture, this new sport became
really big and popular. They did some experimenting with blade materials and used iron as well as bamboo blades. Soon the ice skating geta boomed all over Japan. Following this the ice skating geta was developed in unique ways and styles in different areas. In Morioka, it became popular to follow in the tracks of sleighs because the snow became very packed and hard. There were basically two types of ice skating geta developed, the Tako and the Makure. The Tako was for beginners and the Makure was for more advanced skaters. Some people provided their own blades that they had designed and made at local blacksmithユs shops. It is an interesting note that Inazo Nitobe is the man pictured on the Japanese 5000 yen bill.


For the younger generation
Have you ever heard about the Ice Skating Geta?
A long time ago most Japanese children were playing this game but today,
most young people donユt know anything about this sport and many canユt believe it ever happened. Speed skating was the main activity and they used to use a style called a メflap skateモ because the rear of the blade was not attached to the bottom of the geta. It just flapped. This was a revolutionary idea and from a time long past.


How to play geta skating.
1) Never play in the street.
2) Put on socks, or tabi so you do not get frostbitten which is very
3) Remember, itユs very easy to slip so start little by little until you
become more sure and can stand better. Keep practicing.
4) This is done best on frozen snow, not ice or soft snow piles. You want
hard snow.
5) Sometimes blades get rusty so after using them itユs a good idea to dry the blades with a cloth. 

1) 車の通る道路では絶対に遊ばないこと。
2) しもやけにならないように足袋をはきましょう。
4) 氷の上は適しません。またつもった雪の中をすべるものでもありません。凍った雪面(固まった雪面)に向いています。
5) スケートの刃がさびる場合がありますので、すべったあとは布でふいて乾燥させておきましょう。



下駄スケートの質問 A questionnair for snow skate geta  南部桐下駄保存会

handle Name 

あなたは下駄スケートで遊んだことがありますか? Heve you ever wore snow skate geta?
Yes No

man woman 

この下駄スケートのご感想  What do you think ot the snow skate geta?














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This page last updated 2/17/2005