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Interview with Genbei Yamaguchi

─“Den-Tou” is a Japanese tradition, so we use it as a brocade banner and make it a place to escape.ー

Genbei Yamaguchi. “Genbei-san” with a sense of familiarity. Conversations with him are always inspiring. From life in the Jomon period to Yohji Yamamoto. From the savage tribes of the Amazon to the entrepreneurial faith of Silicon Valley. Just like Son Goku, the topic of conversation runs all over the world.

"I'm busy preparing for World War III."

Genbei is sitting in the center of Kyoto.

It is an inner parlor of a Kyomachiya, which is so magnificent that it can be overwhelming. Kondaya Genbei is an obi shop that has been in business for 280 years since the Edo period. As the tenth head of the family, everyone respects him even in the noisy kimono industry. However, he is also the person who accepted KAPUKI without discrimination five years ago when he was still a toddler. What are we talking about today with the words “World War III”? Moreover, it is said that it is a war that will be launched from here, and the enemy will be the United States and Europe.

"Whether it's Kyoto or Tokyo, if you walk around this country now, everyone is wearing western clothes," he began. "No one thinks it's strange anymore, but this is 'Japanese people wearing European folk clothes.' It's been that way for 150 years, ever since the Meiji Restoration."

His words ooze with regret and quiet irritation. It's not an ordinary regret. It's an intense regret that's tearing your guts out.

“If the dyeing and weaving Olympics were to be held, Japan would not be participating as an athlete.Because a gold medal is the norm.Japan is a special judge.I think that dyeing and weaving in this country is just that amazing.”

In fact, one room in Kondaya is lined with a tremendous array of obis.

Landscapes and rivers are woven so minutely and delicately that they look like they were drawn with a brush.

On the other hand, in the obi that hangs right next to it, the ultimate stripped-down geometric pattern is represented by straight lines without hesitation.

This country certainly has the technology to embody all the images you have in mind with threads.

"Japan is at the end of the Pacific Ocean.

It's the kind of land where things come in through the Silk Road of land and sea, and then they all stop and mature here.

There is nothing original to this country, but for 2,000 years, we have worked hard to refine things that came from outside.

On top of that, the country was closed during the Edo period, so it was a hundred years late to catch up with the wave of the industrial revolution.

This made it difficult for us to catch up with the West, but I think it was a good thing that the craftsmanship that the West had long ago abandoned remained.

At the 1867 Paris Exposition, the world was stunned.

Because I made a frog sitting on a leaf with pottery and made it look like it was drooling.

It's truly a transcendent technique."

And it's not just the Paris Expo of the distant past.

For three years from 2015, the curator of the world's leading crafts museum "Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A / UK)" visited Kondaya.

And 7 obis and 3 kimonos were collected in the permanent collection.

Although it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was also decided that Mr. Genbei would give a lecture last year at the big end of the global dyeing and weaving symposium sponsored by V&A.

The world fell on its knees to Japan.

"But it's not just textiles.

The pattern on the yukata I'm wearing today was found on a folding screen from the beginning of Edo and restored.

You can see that the pattern of the large lattice is broken boldly.

Lattice is order, so in my opinion, this represents a rebellion against the Shogunate.

A guy wearing this kind of thing was hanging around the streets of Kyoto.”









誉田屋は昨年、新ライン「NOBLE SAVAGE」を立ち上げた。その主軸である「HAORI」は、羽織やはっぴ由来のフォルムを取りながら、袖幅はぐっと細く、けれど洋服よりはゆったりとした仕立てで、ロングカーディガンのように着ることが出来る。