Cultural Activities

Yamato Co., Ltd / General Incorporated Foundation is dedicated to
promoting the culture of kimono through its initiative “Kimono no Mori.”

“Kimono no Mori” (NPO) and Yamato Co. Ltd are involved in training the next generation.

To ensure that the age-old infrastructure in traditional kimono production areas across the country continues to thrive, it is a matter of urgency to train the next generation, particularly in regions that specialise in hand-weaving and hand-dyeing. As part of Yamato’s centenary initiative, we have focused on a selection of production areas where we have implemented training and apprenticeship programmes. These include Kaga Yuzen hand-dyeing and Kagoshima’s Oshima Tsumugi hand-woven silk.

Kaga Yuzen Artisans : Successor Training Program

Background
Kaga Yuzen can only be used by officially certified artisans in officially designated production areas. Up until last year, there was a six year lull period when not a single new artisan applied for this certification. Although many people aspire to become certified artisans in this field, they are often held back by a lack of confidence in production, due to lack of experience in their abilities to also design. The current situation could mean that in the next 5-10 years, kaga yuzen will be in danger of becoming extinct. The initiative we have implemented is designed to prevent this from happening.

About
Established in April 2017.
1. We provide financial aid for production costs once every two years.
2. Candidates-in-training become certified as official kaga yuzen artisans by an official inspection body.
3. Manufacturing costs are subsidized.

Traditional Oshima Tsumugi
Weaver Training Programme

Background
Over half the existing number of specialised Oshima Tsumugi weavers are expected to retire in the next five years. 59% of Oshima Tsumugi weavers in Kagoshima are over 70 years old and 51% in Amami. It is therefore, a matter of urgency to train a new generation of weavers. But it is a highly specialised, highly technical skill that requires extensive training and currently Oshima Tsumugi production is divided into different production processes which makes training a new generation even more challenging.

About
1. In April 2018, the “Traditional Oshima Tsumugi Technical School” was established in both production areas.
2. Fund the training of 10 weavers per year in both Amami and Kagoshima.
3. Kimono no Mori assists in sourcing and hiring of mentors and teachers.

Yamato Corporation
Financial initiatives to provide earlier payment to production areas

In many kimono production areas, as well as the problems of an ageing population of skilled weavers, there is also a cash-flow problem. This is due to pre-modern and dated trading practises that relied on long-term discounts. In modern times, there are concerns as to whether these financial practises are sustainable and viable in the mid and long-term.
At Yamato Corporation, one of the main pillars of our corporate philosophy is “to protect the culture of kimono production and its specialist production areas.” In order to protect the economic stability and survival of these specialist kimono production regions, we believe it is imperative to ensure payments are made as quickly as possible directly to the production areas without the previous historic and systemic delays.
Yamato therefore amended our payment methods in April 2017.

Payment Method
Previously Present
70% cash : 30% ‘60-day promissory note’ Cash only. No promissory note system.
Payment Date
Previously Present
Once a month (end of the month, payment at the end of the following month) Twice a month. Closures from the 1st to the 15th are paid in the same month. Those after the 16th are paid on the 15th of the following month at the earliest.

Kimono no Mori (NPO) Activities

The NPO “Kimono no Mori” (previously the Clothing Research Promotion Organization) aims to recognize and commend people and businesses that have significantly contributed to the promotion of clothing within Japan and throughout the world. People who we have awarded with special commendations include Kenzo Takada, Issey Miyake, Shimura Fukumi, Kubota Kazutake and Pierre Cardin among others. Additional activities include the engagement in gathering and promoting academic research papers in this field. In the last decade, we have focused on the academic research and promotion of kimonos and also dedicated our organisation to promoting the kimono as a key part of Japan’s traditional cultural heritage.

1. Monozukuri Grand Prize

To prevent the drastic decline and interest in “monozukuri” artisanal craft production, we created a prize in 2011 that highlights and publicly honours new and innovative creations that we can offer to consumers. The criteria requires these new products to highlight the history, technology and tradition of each kimono region.

2018 Seventh “Monozukuri Grand Prize” Result Announcement
Merit Award Watamasa Tango “Mitsukoshi Riko Chirimen Hanabishi”
Merit Award Kyoto Toray Kimono Company “El Magic”
Special Effort Award Inokiyo Orimono weaving company. “Nagoya obi: Matching scarf set”

2. Shuichiro Award

We award this annual prize to publicly award innovative development efforts and technical advancement within the industry.

2018 The announcement of the inaugural Shuichiro Award
“Silk spinning” Yuki Tsumugi Inspection co-operative body training corporation.

3. Kimono Studies. Tokyo

Since 2004, together with the All Japan Kimono Promotion Organization, “Kimono no Mori” (previously the Clothing Research Promotion Organization) we have provided grants to the “kimono studies” course at Waseda University. The annual, 16-day “kimono studies” course, takes place each January on the Waseda campus. Its aim is to encourage further interest in the culture of kimono with a wide variety of lecturers including dye specialists, researchers, traditional Japanese performance artists and more.

4. Supporting Kimono: Artisanal skill. Production. Activity

As part of Japan’s age old and historic cultural heritage, the clothing culture of the kimono has been historically and socially shaped across the nation. It is an industry with links to the culture, tradition and technology of Japan throughout its history. The NPO “Kimono no Mori” subsidizes industrial bases in production areas and aims to help the survival of the kimono textile arts and pass on the knowledge of these specialized production methods to the next generation.

About : Kimono no Mori
(Formerly Clothes Research Promotion Organization)

Established
In August 1977, the body received official approval from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (currently known as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry). In May 2010, it became an NPO and in 2017, the organization was re-named Kimono no Mori.
The aim of the foundation
The foundation aims to contribute to the promotion of Japanese traditional clothes research by funding and assisting research in areas relating to clothes and the study of how national citizens wear and use Japanese traditional clothes. In this way, we want to contribute to improving the way Japanese clothing is used in every day life.
Business Aims
This corporation will carry out the following steps to achieve its previous targets:
  1. Conduct studies on clothing and the way clothing is used by Japanese citizens.
  2. Provide grants for academic research in the area of clothing and the way clothing is used by Japanese citizens.
  3. Payment of grants and the creation of incentives to generate practical research on clothing and the way clothing is used by Japanese people.
  4. Continuous assistance with surveys and research provided in previous terms.
  5. Business incidentals for all aforementioned projects.
Executive Staff
President Takashi Yajima Yamato Corporation Chairman and Representative Director
Managing Director Masanori Igarashi Yamato Corporation Corporate Auditor
Director Shigeru Matsushima Tokyo University of Science Graduate School professor
Director Koji Fujita Lawyer – Deputy Director, Okuno Total Law Offices
Director Takayuki Yajima Yamato Corporation Director of Business Creation Headquarters
Auditor Shu Kobayashi Chief Accounting Officer, Kobayashi Accounting Office
Trustee Motohi Ito Doctor of Economics · Gakushuin University Professor
Trustee Kaoru Iijima R & B · K Co., Ltd. President and Representative Director
Trustee Tsunemasa Tsuruta Professor Emeritus, Senshu University

Kimono no Mori (NPO)  >>