Design & Daily goods

JETRO Global Eye

Working as one team in global business: Consortium for a New Export Nation


For business owners who are looking to expand globally or looking to develop a completely new market, it’s difficult to tackle various issues in unknown territory. Asking for external advice could be one solution. JETRO offers support to handle different business practices and rules, and assists business dealings with foreign firms. JETRO introduces three successful cases in this program: exporting children’s furniture to Europe, setting up juice stands in Thailand and developing a tool with local standards for a German client. All three companies benefited from support programs of the Consortium for a New Export Nation by working with JETRO experts in various fields.

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Takikawa Oblate Company Ltd.: Exporting oblate to Singapore


Takikawa Oblate, manufacturer and wholesaler of medical oblate and edible oblate products, boasts over 80% of the oblate, or wafer sheet, market share in Japan. They decided to explore possibilities of exporting oblate to countries without conventional views on the product. Taking up the idea of using oblate for food decoration, they worked with JETRO experts to participate in trade shows and perfect a detailed business plan. The work bore fruit in 2017 when the exportation of products to Singapore became a reality. The next market is the U.S., where the product could become a popular party food.

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Japan’s Designer Goods Loved by Foreign Connoisseurs


Japan’s designer goods such as stationery, home decor, and tableware, are gaining popularity overseas among consumers that seek quality. Export is growing due to the fact that world-class museums such as “TATE” in the UK and the “Brooklyn Museum” in the US have begun selling Japanese items in their shops. They seem to be intrigued by the Japanese ...

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Spreading the Appeal of Tokoname Ware Overseas – Expanding Sales with the Association -


Tokoname, a city in Aichi Prefecture, has a long history and tradition of ceramic crafts, and is the site of one of Japan’s six ancient kilns. Their ceramic teapots hold the top market share domestically, but low brand awareness among consumers has been a big issue, since shifting from producing teapots to building materials such as clay pipes and tiles after the Meiji Era.  ...

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Discovered by Foreigners! How Japanese Products are Used – Transformed into Fashionable Items Overseas –


Influenced by subcultures such as anime and manga, foreigners have taken a growing interest in Japanese cultures, lifestyles, and various products used in our everyday lives. Some products that are general items or practical products to the Japanese, are used as fashionable items in the United States and Europe. One example is jJika-Ttabi, which is a popular item called "Ninja Shoes" in the United States...

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Kitchenware of distinction

Amanoshikki Co., Ltd.

Times are changing, and Amanoshikki Co. Ltd. is acutely aware of that. Always taking the here and now into consideration has been one of its keys to success and longevity. Founded by Tatsujiro Amano in 1892 at Takaoka in Toyama Prefecture-an area famous for mother-of-pearl , Raden, inlay and Takaoka shikki (lacquerware)-the company is now helmed by fourth-generation President Takahisa Amano, with fifth generation Shinichi Amano working as its managing director. Today, focusing on kitchenware and interior decorations, Amanoshikki moves with the times by keeping traditions alive in modern, everyday life.

Kitchenware: Innovative Japanese kitchenware brings home-cooked meals back in style

AUX Co., Ltd.

AUX continues to fascinate people with their innovative approach to household kitchenware. Founded in 1946 in Niigata Prefecture, AUX Co. Ltd. has become renowned for its craftsmanship, cutlery and metal appliances. The company-whose name is an acronym for "attractive utensil experts"-develops fun and stylish everyday products that make cooking at home more convenient as well as delicious.

Original Materials for Unique Lifestyle Products

Chemifelt Japan Co.,Ltd.

Hisashi Yoshida, the fourth-generation CEO of Chemifelt Japan Co.,Ltd., promotes the use of safe and natural non-petroleum-derived materials, such as rubber and cork, to create products that enrich people's lives.

Stylish ceramics from an ancient kiln

Ceramic japan Co., Ltd.

Ceramic Japan Co., Ltd. started with a lofty goal: to create porcelain goods worthy of the Design Collection at the high-end department store of Ginza Matsuya. The firm certainly has the right pedigree-it's based in Seto, Aichi Prefecture, an area with a 1,300-year history of porcelain production and home to one of the six famous "Ancient Kilns" of Japan. Under the initial leadership of Toyokazu Sugiura and now with his younger brother Masayuki Ohashi as CEO, Ceramic Japan continues to put high-quality design and craftsmanship first, producing outstanding yet functional works of art.

Discover durable and natural Japanese lacquer

Duco Co., Ltd.

Japanese lacquer, or urushi, has a history dating back more than 9,000 years. Most commonly used with tableware, this vegetable-based finish with antibacterial properties has also been used to coat musical instruments, jewelry and-due to its ability to prevent rust-even armor.

Cherry Bark Craftware: Timeless craftsmanship

Fujiki Denshiro Shoten Co., Ltd.

Kabazaiku is a traditional Japanese craft wherein thin slices of cherry bark are pressed onto objects to give them a rich color and lustrous finish. The practice was originated by samurai around Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture. To this day, it's the only place on Earth where cherry bark craftware is made.

Oshibori (Rolled-up Wet Towels): Reinventing the oshibori

Fujinami Towel Service Co., Ltd.

To walk into a restaurant in Japan is a cultural experience in itself. Guests are treated to a rousing round of welcomes, guided to their seats, and greeted with an oshibori-rolled-up wet towels (or alternately, folded wet napkins in little packets) for the customer to clean and refresh themselves with.

Precision-crafted ceramic cookware

Ginpo Co., Ltd.

While ceramic cookware is beautiful, strong and easy-to-use, today it has largely been supplanted by stainless steel and Teflon-coated aluminum because of the difficulty and expense involved in mass-producing it. To be a success in today's market, earthenware companies need to create cookware with the build quality, tight tolerances and heat management abilities of their metal counterparts, while still maintaining the appealing aesthetic of how ceramics ought to look. It's a challenge that very few manufacturers can rise to meet, and the Ginpo Co., Ltd. in Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture, is one of those few.

Promoting health, inside and out


The city of Toyama in western Japan is nestled between the country's northern Alps and Toyama Bay on the Sea of Japan. This unique position affords the region cool, sweet water from the snowmelt of 3,000-meter high mountains on one side and nourishing 1,000-meter deep-sea water on the other. These unique geographic features form the foundation for many of the Goshu Yakuhin company's products.

Touchscreen-enabled Gloves: A touch of quality


With touchscreen smart devices constantly in our hands, touch-enabled gloves are fast becoming an essential accessory in the cold parts of the modern world. From those made of cheap synthetic materials to conductive hand-warmers of plush merino wool, most people will have seen a few varieties-and had a hand in them.

Western Wear for Work & the Weekend


ISATO DESIGN WORKS Ltd. is a boutique fashion house that designs and produces its own complete line of women’s Western-style clothing using Japanese techniques. In just a decade it has already been picked up by more than 60 vendors across Japan, and is now looking to step out into the greater Asian region.

Memo Blocks and Drawing Pads: A perfect place to jot down your inspiration


Spanning three generations and over 70 years, the Ito family has been in the paper business since 1938, when Haruo Ito opened a paper mill and bindery in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward. Now, Ito Bindery is run by his son, company president Toshio Ito, and grandson, Senior Vice President Masaki Ito.

Long lasting luster with urushi


For more than 9,000 years, Japanese craftspeople have been perfecting the art of urushi-a kind of lacquer coating made from the sap of the urushi tree. Historically, urushi has been used to coat armor, create samurai tools, and beautify and protect shrine and temple relics. Today, urushi is used for dishware and decorative crafts, and it's still used to make ceremonial items for traditional Japanese buildings. Not only does it form a beautiful and protective coating but it has natural antibacterial properties. Eighty percent of Japanese urushi comes from the town of Joboji in Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan, home to a hotbed of artisans skilled in this ancient art.

Tea Caddies: Japanese tea caddy maker maintains a 140-year history


Given the history of drinking green tea in Japanese culture, there has naturally been a longstanding need for tea canisters. Over 130 years ago, after Japan opened its doors to the world during the Meiji period and tin plates from England became available, Kaikado's founder Kiyosuke Yagi saw an opportunity to innovate and became the first to provide the country with the invention of tin tea canisters or chazutsu.

Glassware: Raising a glass to Tokyo


The Japanese aesthetic is one that continues to enchant the world with its simplicity and sleekness. While those near and far revel in the beauty of Japan's art and style through a seemingly endless array of mediums-from fashion and food to flower arrangements and furniture-the nation's craft in glass maintains a prominence in the public consciousness that cannot be shattered.

Environmentally friendly cypress products: from Fukushima to the world (Report)

Kodai Sangyo Co., Ltd.

If you visit this place, you will find yourself enveloped and relaxed in the pleasant scent of Japanese cypresses. Kodai Sangyo Co., Ltd., engaged in manufacturing and sales of the household wooden products, embarked on a challenge to disseminate the cypress cutting boards to the world under the mantra of "bringing the warmth and a touch of the color of wood into everyday life". (July 2014)

Form and function in silver harmony


Stepping into the orderly factory of Koyo Seiga Co., Ltd., one immediately observes the notable lack of automated equipment as compared to typical factories. This 100-year-old company still produces its mainstay product of ceramic tiles mostly the old-fashioned way: by hand. That's not to say machines are non-existent-feeders compress and flatten dirt and clay, while mechanical presses mold tiles prior to their baking in high-tech ovens. Koyo Seiga's painstaking methods of tile production not only ensure quality but also preserve a very important part of Japanese culture itself.

Cosmetic Brushes: A stroke of genius

Koyudo Co. Ltd.

What do calligraphy and makeup have in common? Both require a good brush for the best results. And nobody knows this better than Takemi Tsuchiya, Koyudo Co. Ltd. managing director. Located in Kumano, Hiroshima Prefecture, Koyudo has been manufacturing shodou (Japanese calligraphy) brushes for 35 years. Recently, the company has started producing high-quality cosmetic brushes by capitalizing on their employees' expert skills.

Reinventing a classic tradition

Marumatsu Meibokuten Co., Ltd.

Marumatsu Meibokuten Co. Ltd. in Akita Prefecture is a company with 60 years' experience in the wood manufacturing industry. Its second-generation president, Shigeru Uemura, has been working there almost since its start-he began helping out in the factory as a middle school student. After graduating high school, he spent a few years away at university and then at another wood-related company to gain some outside experience before returning and taking over the reins at the head office.

Original character goods: Spreading Kawaii from Sendai to the World (Report)

MerryMerryChristmasland, LLC.

MerryMerryChristmasland, a fancy goods store and rental gallery, was set up by a group of illustrators. The company works with artists under contract to sell their original character goods. A reconstruction aid project led the company to look toward the overseas market, and now it is going to deliver its products abroad for the first time. (December 2012)

Interior and Exterior Building Materials: Traditional skills meet modern design

momentum factory Orii, Co.,Ltd.

Japan is a country of beautiful contrasts. While on the cutting edge of science and technology, the traditions, culture and crafts of its past still thrive. This juxtaposition of tradition and technology gives the country its vibrant character. One company that has managed to embrace aspects of both these worlds is Momentum Factory Orii.

Cast masters


Western Japan's Toyama Prefecture has a 400-year tradition of metalworking. In the 60 years since its founding, Toyama-based NAGAE Ltd. has drawn on this rich history to become one of Japan's premier manufacturers of die- and sand-cast metal products. NAGAE's work embraces two fields: technology and art.

Sharpening a global need for Japanese products

Nakajima Jukyudo Co., Ltd.

In 1930s Osaka, engineer Yukio Nakajima realized that certain in-demand everyday products in Japan were mostly imported. To seize the opportunity, he decided to start producing them himself. In 1933, Nakajima founded his workshop with pen shafts and cigarette holders first off the line, and pencil sharpeners following some ten years later. And in the 70 years since, Nakajima Jukyudo Co., Ltd. has been sharpening its craft to perfection. Junya Nakajima is the third Nakajima to take the company's helm. And he's not the kind of boss to sit in an office all day; he places his hands on the products every day, setting and running machinery himself. His and his team's expertise and dedication has made Nakajima Jukyudo the top pencil sharpener seller in the country.

Eco-friendly Solid Markers: Bringing color to the world

Nihon Rikagaku Industry co.,ltd.

Yozo Oyama founded Nihon Rikagaku Industry, the first Japanese company to produce dustless chalk, over 75 years ago. Now into its fourth generation with President Takahisa Oyama, the company has two factories: its primary facility and corporate headquarters in Kawasaki and a secondary plant in Hokkaido.

Oral Hygiene Products: "Enameled" with oral health

Nippon Zettoc Co., Ltd.

Prevention is high on Nippon Zettoc's list of priorities, dating back to the firm's first product, a tartar-prevention toothpaste created in 1954. Since then, the company has continued to innovate in the world of oral hygiene, developing pastes with anti-inflammatory enzymes and formulating a non-aqueous paste containing vitamin C-long known as great for gums, but until now difficult to include as a stable component.

Challenge! International Business: Fusing tradition of Japan and Thai (Report)

Shinemon Inc.

The fusion of two traditions to blaze a trail - The Japanese Arita Ware and Thai Celadon Ware have been combined to create a new brand Sara. Abundantly endowed with the Arita techniques, the new brand was born as lightweight tableware with delicate designs and colorful expression in Chiang Mai. (June 2014)

Firing up the future with traditional pottery

Shinemon Inc.

In between the cities of Fukuoka and Sasebo in northern Kyushu lies the small town of Arita, long associated with the production of fine ceramics that were once exported through the Dutch East India Company to the titled nobility in Europe. Today, Kusuo and Hisakazu Baba continue to lead a team of expert craftsmen at the Shinemon Kiln in order to provide customers in Japan and overseas with exquisite ceramic wares, or Arita yaki. President Kusuo Baba (Shinemon II) is also the director of the Saga Art Association and a member of the Japan Contemporary Arts and Crafts Association (JCACA).

Fun, functional ceramics

Sunart Co., Ltd.

In the heart of Seto-one of Japan's "Six Ancient Kilns," famous for ceramics and overflowing with pottery shops-is a workshop that's not like the others. At Sunart Co., Ltd., a plate is not just a plate. Sunart works under a different concept, where everyday objects are fun, whimsical works of art. Founder and President Takeru Terada and his son, Senior Managing Director Hitoshi Terada, believe household items shouldn't spend their downtime in a dark cupboard but instead be on display, doubling as interior decorations. And so Sunart has, since its founding in 1974, worked to combine fun and fancy with utility, creating an ever-expanding roster of everything from dishes and earthenware pots to toilet-brush holders, piggybanks and more.

Feel at home with Kyoto Comfort

Takaoka Futon Company, Ltd.

Whether working or playing, sinking into a cushion or futon made by Takaokaya is to sit in the lap of luxury. Takaokaya products have almost 100 years of history blending functionality and beauty.

In 1919, Tokutaro Takaoka launched a futon manufacturing factory in southern Kyoto for this region's long-established department stores. Since then, for more than 90 years, Takaokaya has produced futons and zabutons (floor cushions) for better sleep and relaxation of people in Kyoto. Today, Koichiro Takaoka is Takaokaya's third-generation president, poised to take the company into its hundredth year. And during all those years, Takaokaya products have been handmade with pride.

Seamless Washi Lampshades: Following Japan's paper trail

Taniguchi Aoya Washi Co., Ltd.

Paper-making has been a traditional industry of the Inshu region of eastern Tottori prefecture for centuries. There among the clear waters and lush valley of Aoya Town, Taniguchi Aoya Washi Co., Ltd. continues to produce the finest traditional Japanese paper, or washi.

Lunchboxes and Plastic Household Goods: Meeting household needs in style

The SKATER Co. Ltd.

The Skater is Japan's leading manufacturer and exporter of plastic household goods including lunchboxes, food containers, kitchenware, utensils, baby goods, outdoor goods, toilet and bath items, gadgets and gifts. The Skater has been in operation since 1950 and currently posts annual sales of more than 10 billion yen.

Tatami Tiles: Japan floors the world

TTN Corporation Inc.

"TTN Corporation has supplied Japanese people with traditional tatami flooring for over 80 years, dominating the market as Japan's No. 1 supplier. CEO Fukuzaburo Tsujino was born into a small family business which he has since transformed into a global force. Woven rush straw, or igusa, contributes to the calm, therapeutic ambiance Japanese people have known for more than 1,300 years.
Woven rush straw, or igusa, contributes to the calm, therapeutic

Cool Running

Yashima Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

The Expo '70 in Osaka highlighted Japan's emergence as a major global financial power. The world fair saw various nations set up pavilions to showcase culture and technology, and to interchange ideas. This exchange had a seismic effect on Osaka-based company Yashima Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. When engineers at the United Kingdom pavilion found they needed cooling water for their display machinery, they sampled a few different brands before settling on Yashima's. So happy with it, they even displayed the product alongside the UK exhibit.

Incense: A graceful fusion of tradition and aroma


Kanako Yoshida started her career as a product planner in the jewelry world, looking at what trends and products would do well in the Japanese market. She realized there was also a market overseas for goods from Japan. She wanted to create something that was quintessentially Japanese yet small and simple enough to be used regularly.

Featured Report

Sabae: Premium Frames from Japan

Welcome to Sabae, a city obsessed with glasses. Walk down the street, and you’ll soon notice that an unusually high number of residents sport an especially stylish pair of specs. It’s no coincidence: While its population stands only 70,000 strong, this small, picturesque locality in Western Japan is the source of over 90% of the eyeglass frames produced in Japan.