JOHANAS - Japanese silk, shike-silk textile products and sustainable sericulture (silk cultivation and production) Nanto city, TOYAMA JOHANAS / Matsui Kigyo's website
About the maker
Matsui Kigyo KK – the Matsui Silk Company Ltd. – is located in the country side of Toyama prefecture in northern Japan. The region looks back on a 450-year history of sericulture and silk goods making. The silk factory of the Matsui family is in the small temple town of Jouhana where they started their business more than 140 years ago. Thanks to the surrounding mountains, the two rivers flowing through the town and the often cloudy sky, it is a region with high humidity. This is an excellent climate for the cultivation of silkworm cocoons and for the production of silk threads and silk cloth. Jouhana town used to have many silk weavers. They sold their fabrics mainly to traders in Kyoto and Edo (present-day Tokyo). At its peak, almost half of the inhabitants of Jouhana earned their living in the silk industry. Nowadays only one silk goods maker remains: Matsui Kigyo. It specializes on making shike-silk fabrics, a silk made of irregular fibers. The weaving of silk for interior decoration is still the main activity at Matsui's. But under the name of JOHANAS the sixth-generation owner, Noriko Matsui, has started a new consumer brand. Relying on the technical knowhow at her company, she develops textile products for everyday use that concentrate on the beneficial properties of silk for skin and health care.
About the brand
JOHANAS is a small brand within the Matsui Silk Company, a family-run business that started its activities in 1877. JOHANAS silk products give you 'delight at the cellular level'; that is their motto. For centuries the Japanese have enjoyed using silk. The JOHANAS collection adapts the special qualities of silk to the needs of modern people. Their silk products open up new ways of pleasing mind and body; they literally go under the skin.
For various reasons silk extracted from the silkworm cocoons have a beneficial effect on the body. Thus, silk can be used with the express purpose to make daily life more comfortable. The JOHANAS natural silk life care products are designed to enhance the user's beauty and positively influence their health.
The items are available only through pre-order. The expected delivery is mid November 2021.
JOHANAS / Matsui Kigyo supported by NN Life Japan's Family Business Innovation Lab
NN Life is a globally active life insurance company based in The Netherlands. Some years ago, it initiated a programme for family businesses in Japan to help them find successors. The so-called Family Business Innovation Lab consists of workshops to encourage and coach young entrepreneurs to 'reinvent family businesses'.
In August 2021 the Family Business Innovation Lab was joined by Japan Brand Festival, an NGO that promotes traditional Japanese industries in overseas markets, in organizing a two-day Craft-a-thon. Young managers from four different family-run companies with a traditional craft background participated in this competition. The best performing company would be sponsored to cooperate with the Dutch design studio BCXSY to develop products for the European market. The Craft-a-thon had the concept of 'circular economy' as its main theme. Through the exchange of ideas around their products and production processes from the sustainable life cycle point of view, the participants were encouraged to develop future scenarios for their companies. The members of BCXSY acted as sparring partners in this workshop.
Matsui Kigyo was elected as the most apt candidate to work with BCXSY. Now the two companies are working on new silk products and an installation that expands on the value of silk products. They will also make a documentary to tell the story of sericulture and silk production in Japan, while exploring methods that make silkworm cultivation more sustainable.
About NN Life Japan
Back in 1986 NN Life was the first European life insurance company offering its services in Japan. After more than 30 years in the market it now supports small and medium-sized enterprises to find successors for their companies that often specialise in unique products and services. NN Life Japan established together with Japanese SME support organizations the so-called Family Business Innovation Lab. This is a coaching programme for young entrepreneurs and potential successors of family businesses to help them develop opportunities and skills for a successful future and to alleviate the serious lack of business successors in Japan.
Matsui Kigyo is a silk maker with a long tradition. It was established in 1877 in the countryside of Toyama prefecture and has been run by the Matsui family for six generations and is now headed by Noriko Matsui. In addition to interior textiles, which the company has produced successfully for more than 140 years, Noriko Matsui recently established the new brand 'JOHANAS'. For the accessories for daily use marketed under this label she relies on aesthetics as well as the proven beneficial health effects of silk.
The design studio BCXSY founded by Boaz Cohen and Sayaka Yamamoto is based in the Netherlands. The couple has worked with Japanese furniture makers as well as manufacturers and brands from around the world. BCXSY joined the Craft-a-thon to find opportunities among Japanese family businesses to share their free design ideas and latest technology. The aim of the cooperation is to advance new products based on skillful traditional manufacturing.