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Takaokaya Zabuton
Gift from the 20th Century?
Date:31, Dec, 2020
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


Do you remember 1919? I suppose most people answer no. Most people were not born yet, were not there. Today I am talking about Takaokaya Zabuton. Takaokaya means the brand "Rakuchu Takaokaya" produced by Takaoka Inc in Kyoto. The Kyoto company was established in 1961, they originally started as Takaoka Shoten (Takaoka Shop) in 1919. But we are hard to find those who remember 1919 Kyoto, aren't we? Then I am beginning to talk about 1919 first of all.




As you know, World War 1 finished in 1918 November 11. The large-scale war all spread over Europe, banished the emperors and kings. History told them imperial regimes were almost out-of-date. Then Germany and Austria became republics, Russia headed for a state of socialism through the 1917 revolution.

What did it mean to Japan at the time? Most people think it the large-scale war in Europe. Japan was not unconnected to the war, however. It greatly enriched Japan, especially the Kansai district.

Europe were pretty busy with their war and renewing their political systems, left the Asian market alone. Japan found it, decided to export much. That brought great benefit to Japan. How on earth did they export? Airplanes were not there yet (Wright brothers first flied by their airplane with a Gasoline engine in 1903). They used ships. And Japan's Kansai district including Kyoto is closer to Asian nations than Tokyo. Kansai were more and more prosperous as they called it the Oriental Manchester.

What did they mainly export? Textiles was it. It means Kyoto was prosperous for the textile industry in 1910's. Then Takaoka Shoten started as a Japanese bedclothes processor in 1919. By the way, the boom suddenly finished for the stock market crash in 1920 March.

In 1999, the 20th century was ending after many accidents over the world, and Takaoka Inc. established their new brand "Rakuchu Takaokaya" whose leading product was their handmade zabuton. Zabuton means a Japanese square floor cushion. Someone may think it the gift from the 20th century. I have no reason to disagree.




Rakuchu Takaokaya (Japanese)





 

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