Edo Tokyo Kirari  X Monocle

The 7 items that connect old and new

Spotlight on venerable fashion, food and lifestyle brands in Tokyo that combine longevity and innovation.

Don’t be fooled by its modern appearance: Tokyo is home to more than 3,000 businesses that are a century old or more. From traditional zori sandal artisans to confectionery makers, craftspeople all over the city are keeping its heritage alive and relevant. Edo Tokyo Kirari celebrates a selection of brands that are passing on their skills to the next generation.
edotokyokirari.jp

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1.
A stitch to wear

CLOTHES 

by Porter Classic

Founded by father-and-son duo Katsuyuki and Leo Yoshida, Porter Classic creates timeless clothing and accessories that draw on tradition. Proudly made in Japan, these garments will last for generations.
porterclassic.com

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2.
Drape minds

‘NOREN’

by Nakamura

Founded in 1923, Nakamura produces bespoke noren cloth hangings - a fixture at many restaurant and shop entrances in Japan - using traditional dyeing techniques. They’re popular with clients at home and abroad.
nakamura-inc.jp

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3.
A cut above

BLADES 

by Ubukeya

In Tokyo’s Ningyo-cho neighbourhood, atelier and shop Ubukeya sharpens, repairs and maintains knives, scissors and other bladed tools, all under one roof. Skill and warm customer service have been the secrets to its excellence since 1783.
ubukeya.com

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4.
Come out for the woodwork

JAPANESE WOODBLOCK PRINTS 

by Takahashi Kobo

Under sixth-generation president Yukiko Takahashi, this 160-year-old ukiyo-e studio prints classic and new works by various artists. It also spreads Japanese woodblock print culture through its workshops and exhibitions.
takahashi-kobo.com

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5.
Toast of Tokyo

GLASSWARE 

by Kimoto Glass Tokyo

This 90-year-old glassware wholesaler collaborates with glass-makers and designers. Kimoto sells glasses for every occasion and has a selection of saké cups and pouring vessels to suit different flavours.
kimotoglass.tokyo

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6.
New wave

‘NORI’

by  Yamamoto Noriten

Residents of Tokyo have been enjoying nori (seaweed) from Yamamoto since 1849; it was even offered to Emperor Meiji. The endlessly innovative firm excels at grading seaweed to serve as a garnish or for a snack.
yamamoto-noriten.co.jp

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History within reach: 400 years of expertise – now available worldwide

Tokyo offers a dazzling array of great Japanese products, old and new. If you look closely, you’ll find that many of them, from food and drink to clothes and crockery, are still made at the heart of the country, in Tokyo. Behind these brands lie skilful artisans who have been passing the irreplaceable knowhow, recipes and techniques from generation to generation in small workshops. They’re a living reflection of Tokyo’s 400-year history that has been in the making since the beginning of the Edo era. Although times have changed, the craftsmen have stayed true to themselves; everyone from kimono-maker to confectionery chef and glassware artist has not only preserved the traditions and culture of their trade but has also had an entrepreneurial attitude to adapt to the needs and tastes of the times. The result is a group of highly treasured yet accessible modern products and services that will stand the test of time.

On the new Edo Kirari online shop, some of these pieces are now available to a global audience. In an era where offshoring mass-production has long been a norm, it’s inspiring to witness these craftsmen working with their hands to achieve uncompromising quality over quantity. Edo Tokyo Kirari is a project to champion such “Made in Tokyo” brands – and tell their stories.
store.kirari.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/language/en 

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7.
Brothers in arms

FAMILY CRESTS 

by Kyogen

Kyogen is a guardian of family crests. By introducing digital technology into its time-honoured hand-painting method, it has transformed into a design company that creates new expressions using family crests.
kyogen-kamon.com

 

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