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Miyake Samurai Armor Bag

craftman working on his kabutoSamurai Armor Bags from MIYAKE are applying the techniques used for armor crafting in Kyoto’s doll making art. Just like armors protected their wearers from swords or guns in the past, the “Samurai Armor Bags” will protect the contents of the customer's bag with its small iron plates.

Applying the techniques used in armor crafting, the bag is being produced by using a cord to connect the small armor plates with the leather board. Through the combination of different colors of the parts, as well as the fitting color of the cord, a selection of designs through modification is manufactured, enabling the production of many types of bags and accessories. Like this the design gives the product a characteristic and charming look.

Concept

Making use of Japan’s traditional techniques of armor crafting we produce so that Japanese culture can be integrated into people’s everyday life. We especially work to answer the demand of customers with high fashion sense and a deep interest in Japanese culture.

Kyoto’s traditional and artistic techniques are highly regarded abroad, but this still applies to just a small group of people and is still not known to the general public. By introducing products that put these techniques to use in today’s society, I’m convinced that we can manufacture products that not only will appeal to domestic customers but also to an international audience.

“Samurai Armor Bag” creates and spreads new traditional craft value. Hoping to enable a lot of people to get in touch with the magnificent of Japan’s traditional craft we started and will continue to manufacture.

History

In October 2009 everything started with one idea: Wouldn’t it be great if I could apply the techniques of armor crafting to the manufacturing of notebook cases? This thought marked the start of a new project called “Samurai Armor Bag”. It would take another 4 years from the initial idea to a detailed product plan. At first everything from design, crafting of the parts to the product’s assembly was done by myself. Yet, even after numerous repetition I couldn’t produce the quality I had in mind.

Nevertheless, as my principal occupation is that of a Kyoto doll manufacturer, I noticed that the change of our living environment, the declining birthrate, as well as the drop of interest in traditional culture resulted in visible sings, that the necessity of traditional goods was decreasing. Therefore, I started the “Samurai Armor Bag” project not only for the sake of the survival of the industry but also as a means to preserve the traditional techniques. I realized that the cultivation of new goods for the market was an urgent issue that needed to be addressed.

Miyake Samurai Armor Bag

 

It was just then, that due to the “Sengoku Boom” and initiatives from “Cool Japan”, young women with great interest in Japanese history started to embrace designs of the Sengoku era. Customers that long for products that have for example a samurai-armor-ish touch to them, as well as customers of local shops that sell Japanese goods abroad, are increasingly on the outlook for products embodying traditional Japanese culture.

In April 2012 while I thought to myself, that something needed to be done, I consulted with the Kinki branch of the Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation. The advises I received regarding marketing or production techniques, and also the new contacts I made since then, all these factors enabled me to make great strides in the field of realizing the production of the “Samurai Armor Bag”. Through the invitation of the Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation I participated at Kyoto’s “Products from Kyoto for the International Market Project 2012” (京もの海外市場開拓事業 2012) and became a certified merchant. In January 2013 I then displayed my products in Paris as well as Shanghai in March of the same year. Through the experiences and impressions, I gained at those exhibitions overseas, I came to the conclusion to sell my products abroad. For the sake of being recognized by the international market, which has a strict demand for quality and material selection, I especially contacted experts like a bag making specialist. Regarding this matter, I had a lot of issues with solving the problem of outsourcing development and production steps.

Following the events of 2012, as the control of “Products from Kyoto for the International Market Project” was shifted from the City of Kyoto to the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry, renaming the event to “Brands form Kyoto for the International Market Project” during the process, I participated in 2013 and was again certified as a merchant. This was when the production of the “Samurai Armor Bags” finally kicked off. In November of the same year I displayed at the “Kyoto Millennium Showcase”, as well as at Shanghai’s “100% Design Shanghai”.

  • 2012.10.05 ~ 10.08 Display at Tokyo’s “COOL Kyoto 2012”
  • 2013.01.20 ~ 01.22 Display at Paris’ “Maison&Objet”
  • 2013.02.27 ~ 03.01 Display at Shanghai’s “COCON Décor”
  • 2013.03.20 ~ 03.23 Display at Tokyo’s “BRAND NEW KYOTO 2013”
  • 2013.11.14 ~ 11.16 Display at Shanghai’s “100% Design Shanghai"
  • 2014.01.21 ~ 01.30 Display at Paris’ “Les Ateliers de Paris”
  • 2014.09.18 ~ 09.20 Display at Shanghai’s “Interior Lifestyle China”
  • 2015.01.23 ~ 01.27 Display at Paris’ “Maison&Objet”
  • 2015.02.17 ~ 02.18 Display at Tokyo’s “Next Kyoto Selection”
  • 2016.02.17 ~ 02.19 Display at Tokyo’s “rooms32"