How to choose a Japanese umbrella. Does an optical illusion give you a different impression of a Japanese umbrella?

Learn about the mysteries of optical illusions and use this knowledge to help you choose the right Japanese umbrella!

First, please take a look at the photo below.

Doesn't the umbrella the child on the left look bigger?

But it's actually the same size .

The angle of the umbrella and your position also play a role, but this is all due to an optical illusion.

The colors are slightly different, but here are some product photos to compare.

We will introduce various optical illusions and their relationship to choosing a Japanese umbrella.

1. Japanese umbrellas and size illusions

The Delboeuf illusion : when the frame is large, the contents appear smaller

The image below is the Delboeuf illusion.

When you compare the yellow circle in the center, doesn't the yellow circle on the left appear larger?

It looks bigger when surrounded compared to when it's not surrounded.
Furthermore, the thicker the black line, the more noticeable this difference becomes.

The two shapes, yellow and black, appear as a set, which leaves a lasting impression.

This is an illusion that lurks in many places in our daily lives.
When choosing glasses, if you want to make your eyes look bigger, choose glasses with small, clear frames that don't stick out from your face.
For example, when the same dish is served in a restaurant in a large dish versus a small dish, the dish appears more refined and voluminous.

Now, let's take the circle on the left, which already looks large.
What would happen if we made the black circles all the same size?
The yellow on the left appears even larger than usual.

If we draw a diagram of the first Japanese umbrella design... the largest red part determines the impression the most, so the umbrella on the left gives the impression of being larger.

So, will surrounding yourself with a large Japanese umbrella make your face look smaller?
...It's hard to say for sure.

The size of the person may appear to change, but the Japanese umbrella is very eye-catching, so the overall impression is dominated by the impression of the Japanese umbrella.
A small umbrella gives a delicate, sophisticated and light impression, whereas a larger umbrella makes you look more glamorous and voluminous, doesn't it?
However, your face will look smaller when you hold a Japanese umbrella than when you don't.

The "Ebbinghaus illusion" - things appear smaller when there are prominent objects around them

In the image below, the grey circle in the center is the same size on both sides. But does it look like the one on the right is bigger and the one on the left is smaller?

When there is something eye-catching around us, we unconsciously compare it to something else and experience an illusion. This is the same principle as the Delboeuf illusion. In fashion, just as wearing a hood or shawl around your neck can make your face look smaller, using a Japanese umbrella can also make your face look smaller.
Even with the pattern on a Japanese umbrella, if the pattern is large it will stand out and make your face look smaller, while if the pattern is small and intricate it will blend in without being too assertive and will draw attention to the cuteness of your face.

If you are short, the Japanese umbrella will look big

The impression of size also depends on the height of the person holding it.
It's best to choose the size that suits your height and get closest to the impression you want to achieve.

Here are photos of the same umbrella being held by different heights. Even though it's the same umbrella, it looks bigger when held by a small child.
In the first photo, the illusion is made even more pronounced by the child holding the umbrella on the left.

For a person 163cm tall─Left: Small Janome Umbrella (diameter 92cm), Right: Janome Umbrella (diameter 106cm)

For a person 145cm tall─Left: Small Janome Umbrella (diameter 92cm), Right: Janome Umbrella (diameter 106cm)

For a person 130cm tall─Left: Small Janome Umbrella (diameter 92cm), Right: Janome Umbrella (diameter 106cm)

A large umbrella will make the whole family feel comfortable even when they are under it, and will create the impression of closeness.

For more information on the size and height of Japanese umbrellas, please click here.

  1. Japanese Umbrella Size Guide

The "Muller-Lyer illusion" where the length changes due to the arrow effect

In the diagram below, the purple line in the middle is actually the same length on both the top and bottom.
But doesn't the bottom one look longer?

The Muller-Lyer illusion using arrows.
When applying eyeliner as part of makeup, if you apply it around both the outer and inner corners of your eyes, your eyes will look smaller, and if you apply it in a flick up motion around the inner corners of your eyes, your eyes will look larger. This is the effect.

A Japanese umbrella is made up of a large triangle made up of the ribs and washi paper, combined with a smaller triangle made up of the inner support ribs.

If you tilt the Japanese umbrella so that the triangle on the support is prominent, it will make you appear taller and , in the case of a child, will give the impression of their growth in the photo.

By holding the umbrella upright and emphasizing its triangular shape, you can express the youthfulness of a child or the closeness of a family or couple.
Also, holding an umbrella upright emphasizes the vertical lines, drawing the eye upward and making you appear slimmer and slender .

2. Japanese Umbrellas and the "Psychology of Color"

Colors that look bigger/colors that look smaller

In the image below, the yellow circle appears larger and closer.

There are "expanding colors" (mainly bright colors) that appear larger than they actually are, and "contracting colors" (mainly dark colors) that appear smaller depending on the contrast with the background.
There are "advancing colors" (mainly warm colors) that appear in the foreground, and "receding colors" (mainly cool colors) that appear in the background.

In the same illustration of the Japanese umbrellas shown earlier, if you change the colors of the background and umbrella, the first thing that catches your eye will be white instead of blue, and the umbrella on the right will appear larger.

So, it's not necessarily the case that Japanese umbrellas with a white design appear smaller .

"Cool" "Energetic"...the mood that color gives off

Because Japanese umbrellas cover a large area of ​​color, the impression each color gives affects the overall atmosphere. For example, when a maiko's white makeup is accented with a red umbrella, she appears more mysterious and feminine.

Red/Passion, Exotic, JAPAN

Yellow: Bright, friendly, lively

Green: healing, wisdom, harmony

Blue: refreshing, clean, calm

White: sacred, pure, clean


If you have a Japanese umbrella in a color that matches one of the colors in your outfit, your outfit will come together. In the photo above, if you have a red umbrella, your eye will be drawn to the red in your outfit, and if you have a green umbrella, your eye will be drawn to the green in your outfit. It feels like the main color of the outfit is decided.

Understanding psychology behind Japanese umbrellas makes choosing an umbrella even more fun

The impression that colors have is different for each person. It is said that the illusions we have introduced are felt strongly by some people and not so strongly by others. We hope that this will give you some hints on how to use the product in an enjoyable way.

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