A Marunaka Kogyosho Co. employee inspects the company's colorful flip-flops in the western Japan city of Gose, Nara Prefecture. According to the manufacturer of the colorful flip-flops called "gyosan," their sole and fitting that goes between the toes are cast together from synthetic resin, which makes them tough, while the jagged and grid patterns give them good grip. Though originally developed for fisheries workers, gyosan became popular among scuba divers in southeastern Japan's Ogasawara Islands about 20 years ago, then came to be known nationwide. As they have also become popular fashion items among young people in recent years, some 80 colors have been produced, including fluorescent ones, and some with glitter. Marunaka Kogyosyo uses only domestic materials, and manufactures some 350,000 pairs annually. President Yoshihiro Nakai, 57, said, "We'd like to keep making quality and durable products for our fans."
(Japanese original by Naohiro Yamada, Osaka Photo Department)