Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.512

by JanneM


At construction field, we can see many `spidermen'. I did not know scaffolding builders are called `spidermen' in English.

In Jaapnese, they are called `Tobi shokunin'. Tobi is a bird (a black kite). Scaffolding builders jump and fly like this bird but actually the name is from the tool they use which is called Tobiguchi. The beak of tobi looks like this tool, and people who use the tool are also called Tobi. 




Today I like to write about the work wear of Tobi. 


The small work wear shop called Marugen from Nishinari in Osaka sells work wear of Tobi. http://www.marugen-tobi.jp/company/index.html

They now have another shop in Tokyo and also sell online too. Their business has been introduced as a unique and successful business:



For Tobi men, wearing Marugen work wear means a lot and very special.

Their work wear costs about three times higher than regular work wear but they say, good tobi men should wear Marugen wear. In other words, wearing Marugen wear means the man can do really a good job.


Just as other clothings, many work wear shops were selling cheaper mass production wear, but Marugen never changed their way.


The fabrics they use are made in Okayama, especially made for the Tobi wear. Very tightly and finely woven. Their Tobi wear is famous for the very wide bottom line and the stitches applied to strengthen the important part. So they use much more fabrics and a lot more process. The very wide bottom part allow the movement of knees more freely. The wide part is also like a censor-they can tell the wind becoming stronger, or tell the obstacles around their feet. They say, the part is like a whisker of cats or touch of insects. At shoulders and around the wrist, sashiko stitches are done finely for protection. The shoulder part is made really big- with the layers of fabrics and sashiko stitches- so they can lift steel frames and carry them. Yes, they are just like an armor!

The wrist part has metal clips just as tabi socks to fit and guard their wrists.


Working on top of high buildings is putting themselves on the edge. It is in a way, dressing in armor and going to fight!


Younger Tobi men were saying, wearing Marugen wear is a status and they were longing for the day to wear them. 

Older and experienced Tobi men were saying, they come to Marugen wear naturally. Marugen says many people bring their wear for repair too. Sometimes it costs a lot, almost the same amount as to buy a new one, but they say, the wear is like the part of their body.


Those Tobi men worked for the new sight `Tokyo Sky Tree' (2,080'   634 m)also were wearing Marugen wear, they said. Marugen is a really a top brand and they catch the heart of Tobi men. 

I just wonder this design (especially the pants) is familiar? Do you see these type of pants at construction field in your country???