Have you ever heard of samue? No, no I’m not talking about samui (寒い; the Japanese word for cold) and I know that many of you are hoping for the wintery breeze to pass by in this hot and humid summer. But no! although I am also hoping for winter to come faster, today I’m talking about samue, a traditional Japanese clothing worn during the summer.
I believe most of you know yukata, the popular Japanese summer wear that people here frequently don when going to festivals and firework shows. Samue (作務衣)is very similar to the yukata, it is however, strictly menswear and its popularity has been declining over the years and we rarely see (or hear) about them any more even though it actually has a pretty good reputation.
The “Samu” of samue refers to the daily works of Zen monks including cleaning, preparing firewood, etc. And as you can probably guess from its naming origins, it is the costume that Zen monks wore traditionally. Many changes have been made to the samue and it has gone through several reconstructions to keep up with the changing preferences of the people.
Samue itself is a very nifty and convenient clothing, it’s socially acceptable to use it outdoors and because of its comfort, it’s a viable clothing to wear indoors too. Perhaps, its biggest advantage lies in the fact that it fits people of all kinds of body shape, so it’s really a one-size fits all type of clothing!
I joked about samui and samue earlier but samue is actually a piece of clothing that actually makes us feel samui. Since they are made of satin, the perfect material to weather the humid and hot summer in Japan. The best way to wash them is by hand washing (without soap) and they also dry very quickly, so it is one very easy and breezy summer wear!
Samue is also generally quite reasonably priced, you can get one for around 3.000 yen, and that already includes the bottom wear too. You can even obtain them from sites like Amazon so it’s very easy to find them!
And don’t be afraid to wear this piece of summer wear! I’m sure it’ll go perfectly with your style! While we may not be able to experience the traditional summer festivals of Japan this year and its beautiful fireworks, there is nothing stopping us from getting into summer mood and the samue is perfect for summer!
So, what are you waiting for? Try out this traditional piece of clothing! Once you feel its smooth fabric touching your skin, I guarantee that you’ll love it!