Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No558

Hello from Japan.

Last Fiday and Saturday, the summer heat was terrible. It was approx 98 F degrees in Osaka.

In Higashi ohmi city(in Shiga prefecture, where Lake biwa locates), the highest temperature became over 101 F degrees(38.8 C). That is almost the temperature of ofuro, when we take a bath, the temperature of hot water is approx 101-104. We cannot even know people are talking about ofuro or air anymore. It is a very nice temperature for ofuro, but we do not like the air with this temperature around!

Summer heat was not too terrible like this in the past. We worry about future climate. We often hear about abnormal weather from customers abroad, so it seems we are all experiencing the climate so new to everyone in the world. We need to seek for the way to survivie- summer is getting a very hard season. We cannot recommend you to visit Japan in summer, as we often say, spring and autumn are nice, if you are thinking about visiting Japan.


Today, we like to talk about a young entrepreneur, Rika Yajima who made this company:


When she was in senior of university, she made this company to produce goods for babies to children(The company is introduced as the brand for zero to 6 years old). What she is doing is to link traditional craftsmen and children. 

She was always interested in traditional craftsmen's work and was visiting locasl craftsmen when she was young. She felt these craftsmanship should not be lost and should inherit-and started this company to make children's daily goods, such as tablewear, clothings and other things. She won in many venture business contests by her idea and the products.

Here are the products of the company:


For example, the pastel color bib---the design is traditional Shippo tsunagi( you can see the design in kimono and obi often. The pattern is originally from Buddism and the pattern means the eternal chain and harmony & balance). They used Isekatagami, traditional stencil paper, Bengala pigments, and organic cotton. 


The buttons have the same pattern also.

Thery have other products, produced by real traditional craftsmen.

*baby clothes, towel and other fabric products - by real indigo dye from Tokushima with organic cotton

*bowls  - by Ohtani yaki from Tokushima

*lacquar wareowls - by Yamananaka nuri from Ishikawa

*blancket - by plant dye from Kyoto

 and so on.


For children, plastic tablewear are most popular but she thought using `real' table wear from the beginning is very important. They break, but meeting good design and authentic material is more important - so they can know what is real and good. 

Actually most craftsmen are in crisis- they cannot know what can sell. As a young student, Rica visited thsoe craftsmen and saw their situation. She thought young children who are given such authentic 'good' products can become a long time customer


They just opened the shop open to public in Meguro, Tokyo:



The price must be the hurdle at the moment. She is suggesting these products to use at nursery schools. For both purpose- offering more job for craftsmen and let children know about Japanese traditional work and good quality(and design), she is trying to introduce more vaious items.

It is easy to say, `it will not work because of this and that......' but recently, I think trying new things is meaningful. What you start may not work but it can become a cornerstone for next step. I may sound pessimistic for her business...as far as the price is concerned, it seems very difficult. In Tokyo, there are a lot of wealthy class people, and also people who have more attention to organic food and products, so the products might sell. I think if there are `hit' item people will become more aware about  traditional technique.

In this `fast fahion' era, her website makes us think about things we buy.