There is something about little girls with straw hats. It brings back a nostalgic feeling and reminds you of the world of Ghibli. I couldn’t stand to buy one for my little daughter when I saw this straw hat at the CLASKA gallery&shop “DO”. The hat has a perfect round shape made by experienced craftsmen at the Tanaka Hat Factory in Kasukabe, Saitama, which is about an hour from Tokyo.
The Furutonegawa River runs through the Saitama prefecture, and the land was suitable for manufacturing rice and wheat. The Tanakas, the owner of the Tanaka Hat Factory, were originally farmers who exported rice and wheat overseas. From around 1877, they started to make straw hats by hand as a side business, and in the late 1800s when hats became a trend all around Tokyo, they started to make hats exclusively. By 1880 they were incorporated as the Tanaka Boushi-ten, the Tanaka Hat Factory. In 1892 they imported sewing machines from Germany, and to this day they still use some of these old sewing machines to make the straw hats. The skills and techniques are now passed on to the sixth generation, Mr. Yu Tanaka. Working alongside his grandfather, Mr. Tanaka is bringing in a new breeze to some of the hat designs.
You can watch this amazing video clip to see how the hats are made. Merely by changing the angle of sewing, the craftsmen make the beautiful round shape of the hat from straw braids. Originally made for farmers to prevent sunburn while working, the hats are made with incredible durability and breathes very well, which is perfect for children’s sweaty heads. My daughter hates wearing hats and always takes them off, but with this hat, she seems to forget she is wearing it.
They make hats of all shapes and sizes, so it might be fun to wear a pairing hat with your child!
If you are looking for a gift for a newborn, this is a perfect gift to use all throughout their childhood.