The conical Asian hat (also known as a sedge hat, rice hat, coolie hat or paddy hat) is a simple style of conical hat originating in East and Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Japan and Korea — many far-East and Southeast Asian countries have their own variation on it, and their own name for it.note This style of hat is used primarily as protection from the sun and rain, and is usually kept on the head by a cloth (often silk) chin strap; an internal band of the same material keeps the hat itself from resting on the wearer's head. While anybody can wear the hats, in China, they are primarily worn by women who work on farms or in fields for hours on end.note And a variation of the conical straw hat which is painted in bright fluorescent yellow can be seen by street cleaners in major Chinese cities. As late as 1950, and the fall of Hainan, this hat had military applications as it was pretty much the only standard-issue garment the Guomindang could afford to waterproof. The Communists on the other hand used Soviet-style waxed greatcoats and eschewed the "backward" and "feudal" image the hat conjured up (though none of their men actually got any until after they'd won the war and crushed all the labour-unions).
Farmers (especially rice workers) tend to wear them more often. Although in Korea, they are primarily worn by Buddhist monks.
In feudal Japan, the ashigaru, the footsoldier class who supported the samurai, wore a reinforced and militarised form of this hat, with a hanging kepi-cloth to protect the neck from sun and rain, as the trademark of their military caste. This was called jingasa (war hat), and was made either from metal segments riveter together, or from very stiff waxed leather. It offered such a reasonable protection from arrows, the main threat for the ashigaru on the battlefield, in a light and comfortable way, so that even some samurai wore them instead of heavy and cumbersome kabuto helmets. It was especially popular among the horseback messengers, who even invented a specialized form called bajogasa, "rider's hat".
In fiction, there are many Asian characters who wear conical hats... simply because they're Asian. Regardless of whether or not it makes sense for the character to be wearing such a hat, if they are Asian, they will be seen wearing one to allow viewers to recognize that they are in fact an Asian character.
A related trope is Lampshade Wearing: for a long time, in any remotely comedic western work, if a character was left in a room with a conical lampshade, you could almost guarantee that he would try it on and imitate a Chinese accent.
See also: All Asians Know Martial Arts
- American Apparel in 2011 came under fire for advertising and selling "Ching Chong hats" that were, you guessed it, Asian conical hats. Offensive name aside, these hats are popular with professional concert-goers (read: American Apparel customers) at multi-day outdoor music festivals for their lightweight shading qualities.
- Kibagami Jubei of Ninja Scroll fame often wears one.
- Enma Ai from Hell Girl is shown wearing one occasionally as part of her civilian clothes during flashbacks to the Feudal era.
- The Akatsuki from Naruto have these, though they don't wear them all the time.
- Jin-e from Rurouni Kenshin wears one and Sanosuke's family make them to sell at the trading post after their farm is destroyed.
- Chichiri from Fushigi Yuugi has one, which also gives him the ability to get out of bad situations via magic. Miaka tries this, and fails.
- Out of the Asian characters in Axis Powers Hetalia, only Vietnam has been seen using one of these hats in canon.
- In Yaiba the famed ronin Jubei Yagyu wears one of this, which is also a Cool Hat. Truth in Television, as these hats were part of the Yagyu's trademark crest, and Jubei himself apparently once used two hats worn as shields to disarm an opponent.
- Lupin III: Episode 0: First Contact: Justified Trope in the case of Goemon; as a tradition-obsessed Samurai, he wears it to keep his head dry.
- Being set in feudal Japan, many characters in Usagi Yojimbo wear these hats from time to time. Usagi's ears disappear whenever he wears one for some reason.
- Averted in Mulan where only women working fields are seen wearing these types of hats.
- The Zen Master from Cars 2.
- Crane and Po from Kung Fu Panda. Po even tries to use his hat for a throwing weapon during KFP2. It doesn't turn out well.
- During the song "Everybody Wants to be a Cat" from The Aristocats, Shun Gon the Chinese cat actually hits himself on the head with a cymbal, giving him the appearance of wearing a coolie hat.
- The caps on the mushrooms in "The Nutcracker" segment from Fantasia resemble coolie hats.
- Most films depicting the Viet Cong will have some of them wearing these hats. This is Truth in Television: Many Viet Cong disguised themselves as farmers before ambushing the Americans (or Australians, or the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, or...).
- Big Trouble in Little China has David Lo Pan's three henchmen, the Storms, all wear straw hats as large as umbrellas.
- Kirk Lazarus wears one while pretending to be a farmer in Tropic Thunder.
- Oliver Stone's Platoon depicted desperate, fleeing Vietnamese in rice paddy hats.
- Many early "talkies" that depicted Asian countries and characters would feature Asian characters (usually played by white actors) wearing traditional "Asian-looking" outfits, complete with these types of hats. Anna May Wong, being the first Chinese American movie star, was often foisted into these roles.
- A lot of the background extras who are Asian in Blade Runner (and there are a lot as the Japan Takes Over the World trope is quite prominent) wear conical hats. Apparently, this was to protect against acid rain, although the fact that only the Asian extras wear them makes it seem like they just used them so people could be identified as Asian on crowded streets.
- Lord Raiden from Mortal Kombat The Movie has one on when he visits Liu Kang's Shaolin temple near the beginning of the film.
- In The Man with the Golden Gun, Sheriff J.W. Pepper refers to the people of Thailand as "pointy heads".
- In the beginning of Good Morning, Vietnam, the protagonist mistakenly believes that several women wearing these hats are the same woman, even though his guide corrects him. He doesn't care and starts chatting up the next one he sees.
- Most Korean civilians in M*A*S*H, especially in the early seasons, wear rice hats. The TV series was simply following the lead of the movie, where just about all the anonymous Korean civilians wear them, even though the style is specifically the Vietnamese form, which was never common in Korea. The show is trying to parallel the Vietnam war as much as possible.
- In Father Ted, Ted puts a loose lampshade on his head and impersonates a Chinese man by stretching his eyes. Unfortunately, some Chinese people from the Craggy Island Chinatown (which has been there "since last week"), see him. Hilarity Ensues.
- The Japanese Muppets in the Spike Milligan episode of The Muppet Show wear these.
- The background character of the Chinese Cook in Zarkana.
- Mortal Kombat's Raiden wears a simple straw hat similar to that of a harvester's, while Ashrah wears a decorated Japanese kasa.
- Final Fantasy X. Yojimbo, the sole samurai aeon, wears a large conical hat.
- Brother 4 and Brother 6 from Afro Samurai.
- In Battle Realms this hat is worn by peasants in the Dragon and Serpent clans, and by Kenji during the early stages of the campaign.
- Available for your Xbox 360 avatar.
- Worker units for east Asian civilizations in the Civilization IV expansion pack Beyond The Sword don the conical hats.
- Canthan peasants in Guild Wars Factions.
- Played with in the World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria. There are headgear items resembling conical hats that can be worn by player characters, and a number of pandaren NPCs wear them, but not all of them. You can buy them as a faction reward from, fittingly, farmers.
- The Jian Shan Di faction in E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy stylize their headquarters after a Shinto temple, and have Powered Armor reminiscent of Samurai armor. Their heavy armor sports a conical straw hat and a gas mask. Their leader's hat is topped by a pair of golden tigers.
- The titular character from Dust: An Elysian Tail wears a satgat draped in ragged cloth lining. His ears stick out of the top of the hat, and he doesn't wear a chin strap to keep it on. Despite all the jumping and twirling he does in the game, the hat never actually comes off except in cutscenes. Fidget lampshades and openly wonders how Dust can see anything in front of him since the hat is always obscuring his eyes.
- Street Fighter IV: Two of the Japanese fighters, Makoto and Gouken, both have alternate outfits with these included. Makoto's is justified, as she spends up lot of time outside fixing up her dad's dojo and the outfit with the hat is clearly made for that kind of work. Gouken, not so much considering he was trapped in a coma for years.
- Features in Koei's Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games. In the former, it's unusually distinctive due to it being worn only by Nanman Armor Troop unit. In the latter, common spear infantry wear these hats.
- The Empire's Tankbusters in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 wear large, high-tech electronic versions of these hats. They're more than just decorative—they fire a cylindrical wall of lasers straight down, which allow Tankbusters to instantly burrow into the ground to hide from enemies.
- One of the civilian models in Command & Conquer: Generals is seen wearing one, which makes sense since China is one of the factions. ... It makes less sense when they show up in Central Asian territories.
- The servant in Mercenary Force wears one of these.
- Smite managed to avert this with the Asian deities (Chinese, Japanese, and Hindu) until the release of Susano, God of the Summer Storm, however only Susano wears one by default, and he's the only Asian deity to do so, aside from Guan Yu in his "Master Guan Fu" skin.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Sheikah, with their heavily Ninja influenced culture, are sometimes seen wearing large conical straw hats.
- In Super Mario Odyssey, some Goombas wear hats that match the theme of whatever level they inhabit. So, naturally, the Goombas in Bowser's Kingdom wear large straw hats.
- Once again, Raiden, in Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm.
- Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender owns one, though he rarely wears it. Longshot, Zuko and Iroh also occasionally wear these hats.
- On South Park, the entire Chinese dodgeball team wears these hats.
- Classic Disney Shorts:
- "Three for Breakfast" ends with Donald Duck slipping onto some butter Chip 'n Dale spread onto the roof of his house while attempting to retrieve a rubber pancake the two chipmunks apparently stole, causing him to fly back into his house and up the chimney, hitting his head on the chimney cone giving him the appearance of wearing a Chinese coolie hat. Chip then wears the rubber pancake on his head as if it were a coolie hat.
- In another cartoon, Donald uses his vacuum to transport the chipmunks to China, and each time they return wearing coolie hats.
- The eponymous hero of Samurai Jack often wears one of these.◊ Which gets destroyed regularly. In one episode he's shown making one at the beginning, then bikers run over his sandals and he ends up trading it for a new pair.
- Sensei Wu is the most prominent wearer of the conical hat in Ninjago since he is the stereotypical Old Master who acts as a mentor to the ninja in a fantasy Wutai setting.
- Mysto from Mixels wears one, to fit the "wise elder" theme he has for his tribe.
- Most the Japanese people The Beatles run into in "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" sport this hat (the boys themselves wear them in the episode as well).