Security guards at Japanese shrine stand out with anime-like uniforms for New Year
Japan requires uniforms for everything. High school uniforms, of course, are the most famous, but spend any amount of time in Japan and you’ll notice that not just students but employees are also required to don clothing of uniform style and color, from train attendants to office workers to servers at fast-food restaurants. There’s even a book illustrating 150 years of Japanese uniforms.
So it’s no surprise that a squad of New Year’s security guards at Kamakura’s Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine would require a uniform to distinguish themselves from the crowd. What is surprising, though, is how popular their bright red, long, trench-coat-like uniforms became on Twitter.
They call themselves “The Redcoats”, which is appropriate since they look very much like anime versions of really cold English Redcoats. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, which is the most prominent shrine in Kamakura, recruits new Redcoats every year, and according to their recruitment web page, they are a “special guard formed to ensure the safety and security of the many guests who visit the shrine during the New Year.”
Though they used to have navy blue uniforms, they have been wearing these red ones since 1996, because they stand out in the dark and at a distance, and also because they “preserve the dignity of the shrine”. They were custom-ordered by shrine management, so you can only see these red-uniformed security guards at this particular shrine.
Some of the guards wear armbands, as is common practice in Japan to signify staff members at big events, and the TSG logo on the uniform stands for “Toukai Security Guard”. Though some people might see a resemblance between these uniforms and those used during WWII, there’s no real connection intended between the two.
Japanese netizens like the practicality of the uniforms too, leaving comments like: “The long coats are nice. I bet they’re super warm, but more than that, they’re super cool!”
“I think it’s good that it’s a color and design that New Year’s shrine visitors probably wouldn’t wear, so it’s really practical considering they need to be clearly visible to direct the visitors.”
“I didn’t know they were actually called Redcoats! I get that the red is for visibility, but it’s a shame that the color isn’t related to Hachimangu’s history or anything.”
If you think they look pretty cool yourself, you may have missed the window for New Year’s, as they were mostly around from the 31st to the 5th, but netizens also say they’ll be back again for Setsubun next month, so you can head on over to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura to see them for yourself.