The Story of Zashiki-warashi no geta
There is an old Legend that tells of "Zashiki-warashi", a children's lucky fairy, that lives in Iwate area of Japan. It is believed that if the zashiki-warashi comes to stay at a house then the family living there will have good luck in everything. I was told the following wonderful story from my father.
Many years ago during a time in Japan when foreign shoe styles were becoming popular, Mr. Kunitaro was anxious about the future of the Japanese traditional shoe, the geta. He made many different styles of geta from his own ideas and his own work.
One day in the winter, he was making geta in his workroom as usual, when he heard the sound that geta makes "karan-koron" coming from the direction of his shop. At first he thought, "a customer has come into my shop". He went out to his shop and looked but found no one there at all. He thought, "children must have been playing with my geta", but when he looked all the geta were in order. So, he finally thought it was just his imagination and returned to his workroom. Soon he heard the same sound of the geta, "karan-koron" out in the shop again. This time he thought at once that, "it must be "zashiki-warashi" doing this". He soon made some very cute geta for zashiki-warashi and offered them to the workshop's Shinto Alter. And then, very soon, his geta began to sell like hotcakes. His shop was prospering. I am sure zashiki warashi wanted to wear them because they are so cute.
Since then, this geta style is called "zashiki-warashi geta" and will bring good fortune with the sound that the geta makes, "karan-koron". They have been displayed in the Jojo's shop windows as a talisman. Put them at the front door of your home and they will bring good luck.

Notes: The word "karan-koron" is the Japanese sound-word for the particular sound that geta make when someone is walking in them.



In the past, this geta shop was at the front, with a workshop right behind the store. Behind this building was the family home. It was a more peaceful time, when life was slower and more gentle. The sound of the geta coming into the shop was like a peaceful announcement to the shop's owner that a customer was here. He could hear this special sound from anywhere near, and could then go provide his service. This sound can still be heard today whenever geta are used, "karan-koron". Isn't it beautiful?


A little history...
Mr. Kunitaro Yoshida, the originator of the Zashiki-warashi-geta owned the Geta Shop called "Yoshikuni's" in Iwate. Yoshikuni is the predecessor of the present-day Akai-hanao-no-jojo.


My Shop calls the zashiki-warashi geta, "The Children's Geta". This geta style has some special features designed for the deep winter snows of this area. The main one being the shape of the wooden "teeth" on the bottom of2the geta. When you look at the zashiki-warashi geta, the teeth are shaped in a way so they become more narrow as they extend down, toward the ground. Usually geta teeth are square-shaped so that the inner surfaces are parallel to each other, all the way to the ground. This shape can create problems in deep snow because the snow can become stuck between the geta teeth and form a hard ball that makes walking difficult and dangerous. The zashiki-warashi geta do not collect snow between the teeth because of their unique shape. The snow continually falls out. The winters of the Morioka area bring a lot of snow so this design is very useful here. In addition, some other modifications can be added to the geta for winter weather. One addition is the "toe-cover" made to attach to the front of the geta covering the foot and lined with fur. Also, at times rubber covers or spikes are put on the bottom of the teeth to give added grip in icy conditions. These are called, "Zashiki-warashi no yuki geta" or, "Zashiki-warashi geta for snow".

当店のざしきわらしの下駄とは子供用の下駄のことですが、この地方独特な特徴があります。ごらんになるとわかると思いますが、歯先に向かうにしたがって、歯が少し細くなっています。これは歯と歯の間に挟まった雪がすぐ取れるようにするためです。普通のちょっかくの歯の下駄は歯と歯の間に雪が挟まり、だんご状になり歩くことができなくなります。盛岡の冬は雪深く、そのためこのような独特な形の下駄が作られたのでしょう。冬にはこの下駄に毛のついた防寒用の爪掛け(head cover? toe cover) をつけたり、歯に滑り止め用のゴムやスパイクをつけます。これはざしきわらしの雪下駄と呼ばれております。

The Nanbu Kiri Geta Preservation Society in Morioka Akai-hanao-no-jojo
南部桐下駄保存会  盛岡 赤い花緒のじょじょ



じょじょのざしきわらしの雪下駄 画像をクリックしてごらん




ざしきわらし下駄の質問 A questionnair for zashiki-warashi geta  南部桐下駄保存会

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このざしきわらし下駄のご感想  What do you think of zashiki-warashi-geta story?





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This page last updated 1/11/2004