Air-Conditioned Clothing All the Rage in Power-Deprived Japan

By Erin Harrison August 03, 2011

It may not be at outrageous as Lady Gaga’s notorious meat dress, but Japan’s must-have item of the summer has heads turning.

According to an ABC News report, what was a little-known clothing invention has become all the rage in Japan stemming from its power crisis and heat wave with daily temperatures of 95 degrees. Following the March 2011 tsunami that resulted in a major power crisis, Japan has had to make due with about one-third power and rolling black outs amid the sweltering heat.

No air conditioning, no sweat. That’s according to clothing entrepreneur Hiroshi Ichigaya, founder of Kuchofuku, or “air-conditioned clothing” in Japanese, who recently told ABC that sales for his clothes have increased 10-fold.

“Phones at his office haven’t stopped ringing,” the report said, following the sweltering temperatures and power shortage stemming from the triple disasters that hit Japan in March.

According to ABC, Kuchofuku jackets come equipped with a pair of battery-operated fans on the sides, which draw air in. “The constant breeze running inside the jacket helps evaporate all the sweat and creates a personal cooling system in the process,” Ichigaya explained to ABC.

One office at Kuchofuku headquarters in Toda, outside of Tokyo, registered a balmy 88 degrees, with 59 percent humidity, according to the report.

“People ask me, why would I want to wear a jacket when it’s so hot,” Ichigaya, a former Sony engineer, told ABC News. “I tell them, because it’s cooler than being naked.”

Weather officials said June’s heatwave sent temperatures in parts of Japan to their highest levels since 1961, UPI reported.

In related news, Nissan Motor Co. said Tuesday it has developed a system to supply electricity to ordinary households from batteries installed in its Leaf electric vehicle, showing that the car can serve as a power storage device at times of power outages.

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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