Woman wearing tageta as she harvests rice. Japan Footwear Museum
Woman wearing tageta as she harvests rice.
Japan Footwear Museum

Shoes for Work

In Japan over the past two thousand years, footgear was developed to provide labourers with traction, balance and height. From heavy industry to gathering food and resources from the fields, some of these inventions of necessity became actual tools, without which the wearers would be unable to pursue their livelihoods.


Temples, monasteries, feudal castles, pagodas and palaces are the major Japanese architectural monuments that made advancements following the introduction of Buddhism. Tall structures incorporate sloping roofs to minimize the imposing impression of height. Rubber-soled, cotton tabi like these are used by roofers and electricians for scaling roofs of both historic structures and modern dwellings.


After the technique of growing rice in paddy fields was introduced into Japan over two thousand years ago, the Japanese devised types of geta that covered large surfaces that would help carry the planters and harvesters over the soft mud floors of flooded rice fields. Rice straw was a useful by-product of the crop and was used for everything from sandals to roofs.

Inakabu-Kiri Geta

These geta serve double duty both in the rice paddies and out. The blade on the base allowed farmers to secure their footing in the soft muddy paddies. The blades were also useful for cutting stalks when the rice straw was harvested.

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