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Welcome to Geta's hole

The Three Sacred Elements Of The Geta
1) The SOUND of the geta  2) The HOLE in the geta  3) The SIZE of the geta
下駄の三種の神器、1.下駄の音 2.下駄の穴 3.下駄のサイズ

An inquisitive foreigner sent me this question.
Why is the hole in the geta, where the straps attach, right in the middle?

If the hole, or strap attachment is in the middle, then the little toe looks like it will hang off the edge. Many people think that the geta hole should be placed in the geta off-center, where the big toe would seem to be naturally. It's natural that many foreigners' think like this. It's strange for people from cultures that use shoes because shoes have a definite left and right orientation about them, geta do not. Why doesn't geta have a left and right? Why is the geta hole in the middle? This is an important element about geta but most Japanese don't think about it because Japanese grew up with this style, it's natural for them. Japanese understand that geta can be changed from left to right with no problem. Recently many Japanese have forgotten that geta were originally a Japanese creation. I hope these questions, and their answers, can bring back an understanding of geta that we Japanese have forgotten.


"Why is the hanao placed in the middle of the geta? I remember my foot seemed to hang off the outer side."

I'm getting very similar questions from other countries. For example; Americans think it is strange that the zori are the same - no left and right like shoes.


What do you think of the placement of geta's hole?

What do you think of the experiment shown below? Please study the photos of the two different geta and then I would like to ask for your cooperation with a questionnaire.

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What do you think is the best reason for the hole placement in geta?

1) Change geta easily from left to right foot 左右取替えてはくことができるから
2) Put the hanao between the second and third toes. 人さし指と中指ではさんではけばよい
3) "The proof is in the pudding." Try it and you will see for yourself. 理論より経験こそ大事なれ

1) Change geta easily from left to right foot. Anyone can think of the first easy answer. As time passes geta becomes worn-out in some way. The way a person walks makes a difference in the pattern of how a geta is worn down. Maybe the outside of the teeth have worn down, or the inside, front, or back. Thatユs why we can change left to right. This evens-out the worn down teeth, the geta lasts longer.

2) Put the hanao between the second and third toes. A geta-shop owner suggested this to a customer and the customer tried it. This is possible to do but geta arenユt comfortable this way, are they? Do you want to try it?

3) "The proof is in the pudding." Try it and you will see for yourself. If geta are made with the hanao hole on the side, not center, for what seems to be a natural placement for the big toe, then the geta will have an automatic angle that will cause the heels to hit together as well as not be as stable to stand on. This design would not be functional for footwear. In short, long experience has helped to design the geta shape of today.

1) 左右取替えてはくことができるから。

2) 人さし指と中指ではさんではけばよい。

3) 理論より経験こそ大事なれ。(英語でこのような諺がなかったでしょうか?)
もし、穴を足指の状態と同じくしてはいたとしたらどうなるでしょう? つまり、右足の前穴を左に寄せて、左足の前穴を右に寄せて履いた場合、下駄の角度が傾き、歩くと転びやすく、はきものとしての機能をはたさなくなるというのです。ようするに、経験の結果今日のような形になったということです。

The Geta-Experiment

So let's try them on. What happened to your feet?

For this experiment the geta has two-teeth, size 24cm, width 12cm, height 5.5cm.
This is a common Japanese men's' size geta.
実験に使った下駄はTwo-teeth-geta 24cm, wide 12cm, height 5.5cm.

In the left photo is today's typical geta design with the hole in the center and in the right photo is the experiment geta, with the hole off-center. Please look at the pictures below. When they are worn, can you see that the angle between the geta is different?

These geta width are 12cm, which is pretty wide. But the hanao hole is in the middle so the little toe is sticking out on the side. This is normal.


These geta hanao holes are set off-center, so all toes fit on the geta well. But, when you wear them naturally, there is a really wide angle between them. When you start walking, then the back inside corners will hit each other. This is very dangerous.


The recent style of geta

 These days, modern Japanese geta are not always made with the hole in the middle.

In the left photo these geta are Japanese traditional design. They're straight-sided and really wide and square.
左の下駄は 日本の伝統的な下駄です。直線的で、巾広で、角張っています。

Recently, a popular Japanese womenユs geta design has the hole not in the middle but has a definite left and right sided-geta. These have an influence from modern sandals or shoes. These geta's characteristics are narrower for women and made with a clear foot shape. The traditional geta are very square but the new geta are more fashionable. When looking at geta, watch closely for which manufacturing technique is used.


The geta in this photo are made in Japan. They have a high heel that's popular with young women recently. These are made in many colors and the bottom has a rubber or a sponge base. This geta style is well known in Japan now.


These geta are made in Viet Nam. They are made with a foot shape, are easy to put on and wear as well as have a cute design. Another difference is that the hanao is attached to the side which is also peculiar.


These geta (in these two photos above) are made in Japan and are called "Kutsugeta".
This is the newest style for the year 2001. Itユs a novel design.

Look at the many different geta from different cultures. It seems everyonehas an opinion, comment or suggestion about the many different geta styles. I hope this controversy results in the growth in popularity of geta. My store is waiting for your comments. Thanks.

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This page last updated 1/11/2004