Tiger Bamboo's "New Yorker" bag
A little elegance with a unique bag
Holidays with unique bamboo bags. It is fun to think about what to wear and what accessories to use.... The new sense of bamboo bag that no one else has makes going out fun.
"Master, what is this all about?"
When I visited the home of Chikusei Watanabe, a bamboo craftsman who has been a friend of mine since my grandfather's generation, I happened to notice an object hanging on the wall." This is actually a handbag." The bamboo strips, layered and regularly curved, were shining candy-colored, as if they had been made over a long period of time. I still vividly remember how impressed I was when what I had seen only as a modern bamboo wall decoration transformed into a single handbag when he held it in his hand.
Turning point in the history of this bamboo bag
To begin with, Japanese bamboo crafts were sent to the distant world such as America and Europe as Japanese exports 60 years ago after the war. Even we TAKETORA has a history of manufacturing tiger bamboo and black bamboo for fishing rods, mainly to Europe and other countries. In fact, this bamboo bag was one of such Japanese bamboo crafts that were shipped all the way across the Pacific Ocean to the United States.
Many years later, as Mr. Watanabe's friend was walking down the streets of Manhattan, his eyes were glued to a dashing New Yorker. It was a big city overflowing with people in glamorous attire. In the midst of the crowd, there was a distinctly gleam that shone brightly. In his hand was this bag, once manufactured in Japan and sent overseas.
Mr. Watanabe's friend fell in love with this bag at first sight and asked for it to be exchanged for the bamboo bag he was carrying at the time. By a strange fate, the bamboo bag came back to Japan after a long, long time. However, this time he came back to Japan and exchanged this bag with Dr. Watanabe's bag. He was now attracted to the beautiful bamboo bag created by Mr. Watanabe. Thus, this bamboo bag from his return to the U.S. is now displayed in Mr. Watanabe's workshop.
Want to Renewal it with Tiger Bamboo.
There was one lucky break. There was just a bamboo craftsman who felt the same way and was trying to renewal this bag. First of all, I was able to get a bamboo bag of similar size and material in this way. The beauty and freshness of white bamboo is nice. However, there was something different, if only slightly, from the bamboo bags we had brought all the way back home from the United States. So we decided to have them made from tiger bamboo, which we have been familiar with for a long time. Tiger Bamboo is nature of the tiger pattern on the bamboo can be seen and Japan's only Bamboo.
The size was also changed to a compact one that women can easily carry after consulting with craftsmen and employees. The craftsman's skill in creating a product with such a wide range of tastes is to be expected. It took some time to make the bag, due to the differences in materials and details unique to tiger bamboo, but finally the bag was completed. It was almost exactly as I had imagined, and when I held it in my hands for the first time, it gave me goose bumps.
Mr.Shouchikudo Kosuge, a bamboo craftman
In the process of making the "New Yorker" tiger bamboo bag, I met a bamboo craftsman, Mr.Shouchikudo Kosuge, as if I was led to him. I felt a sense of destiny when I learned that the roots of the bamboo bags that were once exported overseas actually lie with this man. He is also known as a "visionary artist" and has made a great contribution to the Japanese bamboo industry, and his exceptional works are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
"COTERIE", the largest fashion exhibition in the U.S.
COTERIE, held for three days from Monday, February 22 to Wednesday, February 24, 2016, is the largest fashion trade show in the U.S., where approximately 1,000 apparel companies from around the world gather. It is said that it is extremely difficult to participate in the exhibition, as the ratio of exhibitors is said to be 200 times higher than the average. This time, with the cooperation of Kazuyo Nakano, a bag designer living in New York, and the support of the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency's "JAPAN Brand" Development Support Project, which was jointly approved by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Susaki City, our hometown, we were able to participate in the exhibition for the first time.
Attention from mass media
During the "COTERIE" exhibition, we received media attention, including coverage from a U.S. network television station and the New York office of Senken Shinbun, a fashion business magazine. By introducing Japanese bamboo culture and Tiger Bamboo to the world, we hope to promote awareness of Japan's traditional industries and revitalize local communities.
Ms.Kazuyo Nakano, Bag Designer
The "New Yorker" bag has been redesigned by Kazuyo Nakano, a bag designer in New York for nearly 30 years. Thanks to your help, the COTERIE exhibition was a great success, with many people commenting on the unique structure of the bag.
In the hands of New Yorkers
At the "COTERIE," New Yorkers posed with smiling faces holding the "New Yorker" tiger bamboo bag. It was a very moving experience.
Exhibited at "Premiere Classe", an exhibition of fashion accessories held in Paris
Premiere Classe, an exhibition of fashion accessories, is held at the Tuileries Park adjacent to the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. We participated for the first time in Premiere Classe, which was held over four days from March 2 (Thu.) to March 5 (Sun.), 2017, and presented the tiger bamboo bag "New Yorker", which has been further improved since the "COTERIE". We were able to showcase our new products in France, the home of fashion.
Bringing "Made in Japan" Overseas
The bamboo bags that came back from the U.S. have been reissued as "New Yorker" tiger bamboo bags, and now they have come to France. The made-in-Japan bamboo crafts were a great success in Paris, and we were very impressed.
Japan's only Tiger pattern
The unique tiger pattern of tiger bamboo gives the bamboo basket a unique Japanese style. Please enjoy the austere pattern created by nature.
The design is unique from every angle. From the bottom, you can clearly see the beautiful curves of the carefully bent bamboo strips.
Open and shut with magnet
The use of magnets allows the bag to open and close very smoothly and wide open. Although the body is compact, it is easy to put in and out luggage.
Engraving of the TAKETORA's logo "竹虎"
The metal part on the handle clasp is engraved with the TAKETORA's logo. On the back side, "MADE IN JAPAN" and the proof of the "TAKETORA" brand are firmly engraved.
The idea of making a bag by combining several bamboo strips is wonderful. The bamboo strips are tied together with a string dyed with tiger bamboo to create a smooth closing mechanism. The gold color of the bamboo is a perfect match with the texture of Japan's only tiger bamboo.
The clasps that hold together the bamboo strips and shoulder straps are made of metal. The tiger pattern on the clasp and the metal clasps that hold the shoulder straps together create a sophisticated atmosphere.
The basis of the "New Yorker" tiger bamboo bag is the tiger bamboo frame. Tiger bamboo has different patterns, bends and thicknesses, and the position of each knot is different. Experienced bamboo craftsmen hand-finish each piece to ensure that everything looks its most beautiful.
Stylish chain straps
The Tiger Bamboo Bag "New Yorker" comes with two types of shoulder straps: chain and leather. You can easily enjoy coordinating them according to your mood or outfit of the day. The silver chain, like the clasp, is stylish. It will go perfectly with any outfit.
Genuine leather belt with gentle texture
The gentle texture of the genuine leather belt enhances the warmth unique to tiger bamboo. The length-adjustable belt specification makes it easy to use for both men and women.
Tiger bamboo dyed inner bag and out bag
Tiger Bamboo Dyed Inner Bag
Since small items may fall out of the bamboo frame, we have also produced a new inner bag dyed with tiger bamboo. The inner bag is attached with magnets so that it can be easily removed. The edges of the inner bag are sewn with leather in a color that matches the tiger bamboo to enhance durability.
The Beauty of Tiger Bamboo Gold
Tiger bamboo dyed fabric is dyed using fresh, green leaves of tiger bamboo. During the dyeing process, it is difficult to tell what shade the fabric will be, but after being bleached in the sun and allowed to dry in the wind, the fabric has a beautiful yellow color.
Tiger Bamboo Dyed Out Bag
It also comes with an outback made of tiger bamboo dyed fabric that can be used to hold "The New Yorker" or as an eco-bag for small shopping trips. The long handle allows you to carry it on your shoulder. A special bag with a large tiger bamboo logo is d attached to the "New Yorker" bag.
Japan's only Tiger Bamboo Dyeing
The inner bag and the strings connecting the bamboo frame are dyed with tiger bamboo dye using tiger bamboo leaves. The gentle tones of the bamboo dye peek out from the gaps in the bamboo frame, and the yellow-dyed cord, called "Tiger Bamboo Gold," gives the bag a soft atmosphere. The fabrics are selected to be dyed with a good touch, but it is not possible to dye many fabrics at once, so it is difficult to collect the bamboo leaves each time.
Difficulty of dyeing with natural materials
In the case of herb dyeing, the dyed result is completely different when the leaves are freshly collected and after a little time has passed. Bamboo leaves retain their freshness much better than ordinary materials, perhaps because of their antibacterial properties, and it is said that they can be used for several days, which is a great help, but even so, the color of the fabric dyed on the first day will be quite different from the fabric dyed on the last day.
Many prototypes were made.
The inner bag was originally made of mesh fabric, but because it is a tiger bamboo bag, we decided to focus more on the tiger bamboo, so we introduced a dyeing process using tiger bamboo leaves. It took a lot of time and effort through trial and error, but we are very pleased with the result, which is a unique shade of tiger bamboo gold that peeks out from the tiger bamboo frame.
Bamboo grove where tiger bamboo grows wild "Toratake no Sato" in Awa, Susaki City, Kochi Pref. in Japan.
"Toratake no Sato" is located in Awa, Susaki City, Kochi Prefecture. From the hillside of "Yakesaka", where a bamboo grove of tiger bamboo grows, you can see the whole view of "Toratake no Sato" and even the "Yokonami Peninsula" beyond the "Susaki Bay" in the distance. Whenever I come here, I always feel refreshed and feel the happiness of having been born here.
The work of sorting out the tiger bamboos cut from November to January takes place from March to April. During the peak season, the work of sorting the bamboos and piling a year's worth of materials on the earthen floor continues in the village of tiger bamboo. Visitors from outside the prefecture roll their eyes when they see the large amount of bamboo during a tour of the factory. Not only those from the city, but also non-local visitors may be surprised by this sight.
Japan's only bamboo manufacturing operation for tiger bamboo
Carrying bamboo from the mountains
The work of felling and carrying the long, heavy bamboos all day long is very hard work, as we weave through the steep, narrow mountain paths with the sound of engines and caterpillars. The work in the mountains is a traditional technique of the "Toratake no Sato", which has been passed down through the generations.
Selecting and sorting bamboo
From January to March, the bamboo is sorted in the "Toratake no Sato". Bamboos are sorted one by one according to thickness, quality, and use, and then tied back together and transported to their respective storage areas. Bamboo is only cut down when it is in season to maintain its quality, so a year's worth of material is brought out of the mountains at this time of year.
Oil Removal and Correction
When the oil is removed with a gas burner, a beautiful pattern unique to tiger bamboo emerges. At the same time, the heat of the hot bamboo is used to straighten out any bends in the bamboo. For large diameter and long bamboo with special large correcting wood is used.
Traditional Bamboo Craftsmanship
Bamboo grows very fast and is the only natural resource that can be used sustainably. And it is not limited to traditional bamboo crafts such as flower baskets and bamboo colanders, but also has unlimited potential for use in bamboo fiber for clothing, housing, furniture, electrical appliances, agriculture, and livestock production. The dawning of a new era of bamboo together with the bamboo culture that has continued for a long time, and what we TAKETORA can offer to bring smiles to everyone's faces through bamboo will continue to expand in the future.
▼Learn more about bamboo processing (Articles in Japanese)
Looking ahead 100 years to the next generation.
The environment surrounding bamboo in Japan has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Traditional handicrafts have been disappearing due to the distribution of new materials and inexpensive foreign products, and domestic bamboo is no longer being used.
However, Japanese people and bamboo are deeply connected and resonate with each other, and one day we will look back and remember the bamboo that seems to have been forgotten... This is the conviction of Bamboo Tiger. We have been saying since 1985 that "the 21st century is the generation of bamboo". This is in view of the extraordinary growth potential of bamboo, which takes only three months to grow from a bamboo shoot to a parent bamboo of 20-odd meters, and the only continuously available natural nature that can be used for products in only three years.
With the exception of a very few products, all bamboo crafts handled by Taketora are manufactured in Japan using domestic bamboo materials. When we think of traditional "bamboo" which is the fruit of wisdom of our ancestors and "bamboo" which includes new materials such as antibacterial, deodorizing and other functional, food use and bamboo fiber, bamboo is limitless. Bamboo has always been closely connected to and loved in the lives of today's environmentally conscious Japan, and the challenge of Bamboo Tiger will continue into the next 100 years.