I've often said "everything is political", but I don't think I've ever applied it to socks before! Thanks, that's interesting to learn. Also never seen the original-type tabi before; I was indeed thinking of the modern, stretch version. Those are some connections I'd certainly prefer to avoid, though... (Interesting that Japan has abandoned the bamboo scaffolding - modern H&S legislation? They're still widely used in Hong Kong, but Chinese territories, including the SAR, aren't big on H&S!) Interesting the lack of seams (ringspun?) is seen as a luxury option these days. I would have assumed it was more complex or expensive to produce, but I have some cheap vests I bought in Peacocks that are made that way, so.... ?