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A mino straw cape
A mino straw cape

A mino () is a traditional Japanese raincoat made out of straw. Traditional mino are an article of outerwear covering the entire body, although shorter ones resembling grass skirts were also historically used to cover the lower body alone. Similar straw capes were also used in China,[1] Vietnam and Korea.

Overview

Rice straw has naturally water-repellent properties, with water droplets that hit a mat of straw tending to flow along the length of the fibres, rather than penetrating underneath it. For this reason, early Japanese rain gear was often made of straw, which had the added benefit of being cheap to acquire, easy to weave and fasten, and being light in weight; however, this rain gear was also bulky in size, and highly flammable. In earlier eras,[when?] straw clothing had the additional advantage of affording a significant degree of camouflage in certain terrain,[1] including forests and wetlands, similar to modern ghillie suits.

As synthetic fibers and later plastics were introduced to Japan, mino lost much of their practicality and fell out of use. Today, however, they are still worn as costumes in various traditional folk traditions and festivals, such as the New Year celebrations of the Oga Peninsula, where men dress as ogre-like namahage wearing masks and mino. Mino are also seen in some kabuki plays.[2]

Popular culture

Sarumino (猿蓑, "The Monkey's Raincoat") is a 1691 anthology of Bashō-school poetry. It is widely considered to be one of the most important compilations of classical Japanese verse.[3][4]

The bagworm Pokémon, Burmy, is called Minomucchi (ミノムッチ) in Japanese, which is a portmanteau of ミノムシ (minomushi), the Japanese word for bagworm, and the Japanese suffix —cchi, which denotes a cute nickname. Minomushi itself is a portmanteau of mino and mushi, meaning "bug". This means that Burmy's Japanese name roughly translates to mean "a cutie in a straw coat".[5]

The Ice-type Pokémon Snorunt is based on a yukinko, a Japanese folklore spirit from the snow, which also wears a mino.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Japanese Mino (Rainwear)". costumes.unc.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  2. ^ M. Shaver, Ruth (1966). "6". Kabuki Costume (1st ed.). Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company: Publishers. p. 91. "Actors went to great lengths to produce striking effects. For example, Bandō Shūka, playing the rolle of an onna hinin (beggar woman), appeared on the stage covered with a komo (straw mat sometimes used as a raincape) made of gold threads instead of the usual rice straw.
  3. ^ "Sarumino (The Monkey's Raincoat), book in hanshibon format, two volumes Edited by Kyorai and Boncho Genroku 4 (1691) Izutsuya Shobei, publisher | 細道・より道・松尾芭蕉". basho-yamadera.com. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  4. ^ Shirane, Haruo (2008-04-21). Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900 (Abridged ed.). Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-51614-3.
  5. ^ Schmidt-Jeffris, R. A.; Nelson, J. C. (2018-09-15). "Gotta Catch 'Em All!Communicating Entomology with Pokémon". American Entomologist. 64 (3): 159–164. doi:10.1093/ae/tmy048. ISSN 1046-2821.