Particularly during the autumn typhoon season but even through all types of weather, Japanese people like to keep an umbrella at hand to protect from the elements. Surprisingly, since ancient times when it was developed, the umbrella has seen little in the way of substantial improvements. Sure there have been upgrades in collapsibility and wind-resistance features, but the general structure of a parasol and all the arguable flaws inherent with it remain. This is where Japanese company h-concept steps in and hopes you buy their Unbrella which aims to rectify everything wrong with the traditional umbrella. For the hefty price tag of 9,450 yen (US$95) they seem confident it’s got what it takes to do it.

So what about the Unbrella is so revolutionary? As you might have gathered from the images, it’s an upside down umbrella and… well, that’s pretty much it. Not exactly earth shattering, but aside from standing out in a crowd, h-concept and Unbrella designer Hiroshi Kajimoto believe that this twist brings an awful lot to the table.

First, by folding inwards from the top, the wet surface of the umbrella is contained inside itself. This means you don’t have to worry about getting yourself or those around you wet with your run-off. This unique folding pattern also allows Unbrella to stand up by itself requiring no stands.

Although not part of the main design, this writer’s favorite feature has got to be the fastener that can be wrapped around in either direction. This saves that annoying moment in the rain fingering around the slimy wet vinyl trying to find which way the stupid belt wraps around.

“By opening upside down it turns our preconceptions of an umbrella inside out. It’s exactly the reverse of an umbrella. At first you might just think it’s an umbrella with the frame on the outside, but soon after using it you’ll be aware of all the good it brings you.” (Hiroshi Kajimoto)

Kajimoto also hopes that Unbrella becomes the new standard in umbrella design when it’s released in February of 2014. However, after viewing the images of this yet to be release product, there seem to be a few minor hiccups. First, it’s only available in three different shades of blue. Blue’s a great color and all but more variety would be good. Second, by folding up inside out it’s very difficult not to pretend it’s a sword when you’re walking around after a rainstorm and secretly hoping someone picks a fight with you.

However, the nine-thousand-yen question is whether this reverse design protects Unbrella from Japanese pedestrians’ greatest foe: typhoon-grade winds. Recently the country’s streets and train platforms have been left looking like the beaches of Normandy on D-Day with all the discarded umbrellas mangled inside out by the wind and abandoned.

If Unbrella can survive such windy assaults simply by allowing itself to bend upwards, then the high price tag could be worth considering. Unfortunately, neither h-concept nor Kajimoto seem to mention that aspect, which means we’ll either have to assume Unbrella’s durability or wait until one of our rich friends buys one early next year.

Source: h-concept via My Navi Women via Itai News (Japanese)