What is UWABAKI ? | 10 things to know about UWABAKI, Guided by Japanese webmaster

‘Uwabaki’ is very popular item in Japanese life. It could be that most of Japanese have experience to put on ‘Uwabaki in the life.

Today, I would like to explain about Uwabaki in Japan. You will have proper information about UWABAKI, after reading this page.

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You can get detailed knowledge of UWABAKI as item common in Japan, though 10 things to know about it. All of commentaries are by Japanese webmaster, based on experience of Japanese life.

10 things to know about ‘UWABAKI’

In this paragraph, I would like to introduce UWABAKI to you. Let me explain 10 things to know about this item, so that you can get knowledge easily and smoothly.

Please kindly open items what you want to know, from 10 things.

The word, ‘Uwabaki’ originally means generic name of shoes, putting on inside of the building.

In present-day Japanese society, ‘UWABAKI’ is mainly used as school shoes. So currently the word ‘UWABAKI’ means shoes for students to put on inside of the school building.

Reference : weblio

UWABAKI is basically with white color. It is specified by schools in most of cases. And in some cases, the color of toe part is also designed by school, based on entering year to the school.

Author’s research

The material of UWABAKI is PVC. In the past, there were UWABAKI made from Canvas. However, currently, Majority is overwhelmingly from PVC.

Author’s research

UWABAKI is available in following places in Japan

  • Shoe Stores
  • General Merchandise Stores
  • Home Centers
  • School Stores

Author’s research in Yokohama city

The price of UWABAKI is between range from JPY 700 to JPY1,500, in most of the products. It’s quite rare, however, there are high-end products, whose prize is more than JPY 6,000.

Author’s research in Yokohama city

In entrance hall of the school, there are shoe rack, called ‘GETA-BAKO’. Students put off outside shoes and put on UWABAKI there.

Author’s research / experience

UWABAKI already existed in end of 19th century, in starting educational system in Japan. In 1950’s, design of Uwabaki is getting similar to current style.

Sauce : J-Stage webpage

Lifetime of UWABAKI is basically several month to one year, in most of cases. It’s basically consumable item.

The reasons of replacing UWABAKI are mainly as follows :

  • Damage (Stain, Tear)
  • Outgrowing

Author’s research / experience

UWABAKI and UWAGUTSU are same.

In some areas, school shoes is called ‘UWAGUTSU’ instead of UWABAKI. Although majority is ‘UWABAKI’, there are some more different names, such as ‘UCHIBAKI’, ‘ZUKKU’.

Reference : at home webpage

No. Although UWABAKI is essential in almost all of Japanese school, there are some area where students don’t need to put on UWABAKI at the school buildings.

For example, in the schools of Kobe city, students don’t need to exchange shoes when they come into school buildings. Student doesn’t put on UWABAKI in this area.

Reference : Nikkei.com


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