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Warmer weather brings open collar shirt styles

Date Posted: 2006-04-21

If Okinawans had a choice, they would never wear neckties.

Begrudgingly, Okinawa businessmen don suits and ties from November through March, while looking forward to spring.

April is here, and neckties are disappearing. Kariyushi shirts are again the fashion, and everyone from store clerks to company presidents are gleefully slipping into the colorful, comfortable clothes.

Necktie wear is down 76% from five years ago, according to the Ministry of Public Management. Since the Kyushu Okinawa Summit in 2000, when every attending president and prime minister was necktie-free, neckties have been in decline. A government official pointed out that before the summit, every office and every civil servant wore a necktie, as did workers at hotels, banks and even restaurants. Today, thatís history.

For those with a yearning for neckties, the option exists for some. Students are buying new shirts and ties, with Okinawans leaning to the inexpensive side, only •155 for a tie. A mainland Japanese spends •2,000 for ties.

Kariyushi wear is gaining popularity across Japan. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was sporting an Okinawa designed and made shirt last summer as he unveiled a new program eliminating neckties and suits to help workers stay cooler and reduce dependency on air conditioning.

Okinawa is doing its part too, stepping into the public relations realm to convince visitors kariyushi wear is the only way to enjoy Okinawa, and life.

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