[re:new tohoku] Hirahan Senko

  1. Hirahan Senko specialises in fabrics, and traditional Japanese goods made from those fabrics, including hanten jackets and tenugui hand towels. Videos: [re:new tohoku] Hirahan Senko

    # vimeo.com/43995907 Uploaded 77 Plays 0 Comments
  2. Yuichi Watanabe, surrounded by family and workers in his bustling shop in Sukagawa is in his mid-thirties, gregarious and easygoing. He runs Hirahan Senko. Swirling colours, bold lines and strong brushstrokes enliven his surroundings as he fills orders from all over Japan, and, more recently, from all around the world. A wedding, a festival, a graduation, a new business, a martial arts contest. He beams as he explains that the fabrics can proudly mark these life events, but also can bring the simple pleasure of using something of beauty in everyday life.

    Two of the kinds of products Watanabe makes, both for everyday events and special occasions, are traditional Japanese coats and washcloths.

    Hanten and happi are two similar styles of coats, made of cotton and generally adorned with colourful patterned prints. Both are shorter than kimono, and can be worn with or without a sash. You are often required to wear a hanten if you wish to carry the portable shrines that are central to many local festivals in Japan. Happi tend to be more decorative than functional, so they are often made of thinner fabric. Hirahan has a variety of fine hanten coats.

    Tenugui -- the washcloths -- are typically made of cotton, and they are usually about thirty centimetres wide and around a metre long. The cotton is a tight but simple weave, which means that tenugui both absorb moisture well and dry easily. They can be used as washcloths or dishcloths, and are very commonly used as headbands by people working (or playing) outdoors. They can even be used in an emergency as a splint or bandage.

    And tenugui are not just practical. They usually have colourful designs that are specially designed for various occasions. Many companies will make original tenugui to celebrate an event or achievement and provide these as gifts to employees, business partners and customers.

    Traditional fabrics and garments like these are still widely used in Japan today, on occasions that are formal and ceremonial, as well as ones that are very much casual and everyday. They are an essential part of Japanese life, and Hirahan Senko is meeting the demand. These goods deserve serious consideration outside Japan as well.

    # vimeo.com/43997935 Uploaded 98 Plays 0 Comments
  3. Hirahan Senko is a purveyor of fabrics, and in particular of traditional Japanese goods made from those fabrics. These goods still find a huge variety of uses in modern Japan. Take the tenugui, essentially a durable, high-quality washcloth or hand towel. Use it to wash the dishes or wipe the sweat from your brow. Wear it on your head when outdoors to keep cool, as many Japanese workers do. Fishermen and hikers wear them, too, as do practitioners of the Japanese martial art kendo. Outdoor enthusiasts like to carry several tenugui with them -- you can use one as a bandage in an emergency, and if you tie several together you’ve got yourself a sturdy rope.

    Hirahan Senko also makes fine hanten coats. There’s hardly a Japanese festival -- and there are a lot of Japanese festivals -- where you won’t see someone wearing one of these garments. Hanten often bear the names of business sponsors on them, and companies and trade associations often give out hanten to signify membership. They have a very festive feel.

    Traditional Japan is alive and well in 2012, and Hirahan Senko’s products are a large part of that.

    # vimeo.com/43997936 Uploaded 91 Plays 0 Comments

[re:new tohoku] Hirahan Senko

Adam Fulford Business

VIDEO CHANNEL GUIDE renewtohoku.org/videos
CONTACT
a.fulford@japanesegreats.jp

Great products from areas in Japan that were hit hard by the 2011 disaster were featured at Asia House in London in July, 2012. We are eager to identify buyers,…


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VIDEO CHANNEL GUIDE renewtohoku.org/videos
CONTACT
a.fulford@japanesegreats.jp

Great products from areas in Japan that were hit hard by the 2011 disaster were featured at Asia House in London in July, 2012. We are eager to identify buyers, designers and other partners who can help us make these products successful in markets outside Japan.

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