* Articles are based on information at the time of the interview.
Wholesale of Japanese kimonos and related products
Kyoto Marubeni Co., Ltd. (hereinafter “Kyoto Marubeni”) is a wholly-owned Marubeni subsidiary specializing in the manufacture and wholesale of Japanese clothing and kimonos. The company was once the Marubeni Kyoto Branch and occupied a central position in Marubeni’s domestic business alongside the Osaka Head Office. Kyoto Marubeni was established in 1977 after receiving total business rights. As the manufacture and wholesale of kimonos were Marubeni’s business at the time of its establishment in 1858, it can be said that Kyoto Marubeni has a history extending back more than 150 years. The company is located in Kyoto on Karasuma Street. The adjacent street, Muromachi Street, is lined with kimono wholesalers. It is here in the “Kyoto kimono center” that Kyoto Marubeni continues to maintain the traditional culture of Japanese clothing.
The kimono industry is currently in an extremely difficult situation. Considering this, Kyoto Marubeni will not become complacent with the status quo but continue to develop new business.
As the kimono market contracts, Kyoto Marubeni is expanding its business activities through rental shops that target the younger generation. At present, the company has three departments: the Formal Kimono Dept., which handles traditional kimonos; the Casual Dept., which handles casual garments such as yukatas (light cotton kimonos); and the Rental Dept., which handles mainly children’s kimonos for rental costume shops and photography studios. All three departments particularly focus on incorporating and developing brands. Kyoto Marubeni was the first company to develop branded kimonos back in the 1980s. The first product was the result of collaboration with Kansai Yamamoto, a leader in Japanese Contemporary fashion.
Also, in the kimono industry, which doesn’t have so-called “manufacturers”, Kyoto Marubeni designs kimonos and develops specifications as “sales planning”. The company has full-time staff with degrees from art universities who create images and pictures to be used as patterns on kimonos. For example, in a collaborative project with Unsodo Corporation, a major Kyoto art publisher, the Kyoto Marubeni staff devised kimonos based on woodblock prints owned by Unsodo, which were then commercialized as long-sleeved kimonos, visiting kimonos, and yukatas. Additionally, Kyoto Marubeni, in partnership with Marubeni Fashion Planning Corporation, devises many new collaborative projects with celebrities. The company is also active with OEM (original equipment manufacturing) regarding the creation of branded kimonos for fashion companies and major kimono sellers. Kyoto Marubeni is continuing to meet the needs of the rental kimono industry by making suggestions such as kimonos for elementary school graduation ceremonies.
In December 2015, in consideration of the large numbers of casual kimono customers in Tokyo, the company opened “Wafukan Ichi Tokyo”, a directly managed showroom, as well as an office which also serves as a press room, in Harajuku. The challenges of Kyoto Marubeni are increasing the number of kimono wearers and strengthening ties with important customers such as retail stores and production areas. Kyoto Marubeni employees are pushing forward with new efforts to establish a kimono culture for the new era.
http://www.wafukan-ichi.jp (Japanese only)
|Head Office||：||369 Gokuishi-cho, Karasuma-nishiiru, Manjuji, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto|
|Number of Employees||：||76 (as of March, 2015)|
|Paid-in Capital||：||497.95 million yen (as of March, 2015)|
|Marubeni Group’s Investment Ratio||：||100%|