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What’s a haramaki, and why is Mario on it?

August 11, 2014


Shigesato Itoi’s company, Hobonichi, is mostly known overseas for its quirky but versatile daily planner, the Hobonichi Techo. Another major product is one less familiar overseas: the haramaki, or belly warmer.

Abakabonpapas this old but informative PingMag article points out, the haramaki was once strictly functional underwear that had a grandpa-image similar to yellowing long johns. In 2001, Hobonichi reinvented them as fashion items to layer with your clothes.

You know those everyday momentary chills you get when you bend over and your shirt rides up a little? Gone. I see London, I see France, I see someone’s wearing a super handsome belly warmer over their pants. Studies have proven that wearing this thick, extra layer around your stomach keeps the rest of your body warm in the winter. It’s also great in the summer when trapped inside all day under a blasting air conditioner.


Before and after wearing a haramaki.

The 2014 Summer collection includes three very special designs created in collaboration with Nintendo. One design stars Mario, and two designs feature Mr. Saturn from EarthBound.

While the sizes were designed around the relatively smaller body of Japanese people, the terrycloth material is incredibly stretchy and large enough to fit most westerners. You can wear it directly over your skin, over an undershirt and under your shirt, or completely over your shirt.

You can find size charts and ordering instructions here.


The 2014 Summer lineup in a Loft department store in Tokyo.



From → Japan, News

  1. James permalink

    So I’ve been looking for these at Loft stores around Tokyo, and haven’t been able to find them… could you point me to the right store (and maybe even which floor they’re on)? Thanks!


    *email the reply, please!

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