History and Philosophy of KAMAWANU:
Reconnecting with the traditional hand-dyed Tenugui cloth and challenging new markets
During the 1980s, Japan was experiencing an economic bubble, with waning interest and demand for traditional Japanese items such as Tenugui. Amidst this mindset within society, we felt a strong need to pass down the history, cultural significance, and traditional craftsmanship of Tenugui.
In 1987, we opened our first retail store in Daikanyama in Tokyo, and simultaneously decided to expand past the kimono market which we were in at the time. Our goal was to explore new markets by conveying the messages embedded in the patterns of Tenugui along with its incredible versatility.
Our brand aims to craft the traditional hand-dyed Tenugui and to convey how it can help enrich your daily life.
By crafting, selling, and suggesting ways to use Tenugui, we hope to pass down the traditional hand-dyeing technique preserved since ancient times along with its amazing versatility and the various messages that can be felt through the various patterns.
The beauty of Tenugui:
versatility, adaptability, and the thoughts passed on from one person to the next
Tenugui is traditional craft that accompanies your daily life.
Japan is a country with limited natural resources. Finding different ways to use a single item is thus ingrained in the Japanese lifestyle. Although Tenugui are not specialized for a single purpose, they can take many forms and can be adapted to your lifestyle. Tenugui are objects that can provide comfort in many aspects of your daily life.
The designs found on Tenugui are filled with many different meanings, including the celebration of various seasons or wishing peace and happiness. These designs are passed down from generations long ago and use meticulous traditional dyeing techniques still preserved today.
We also announce new original patterns every year that represent the lifestyles of our era. We hope that some of these designs live on for the next hundred years, just as past traditional designs have.
Tenugui are the perfect items to express your mood, and they make for great personalized gifts for special occasions.
Tenugui are easy to use, foldable in various ways, and similarly to quality blue jeans that can be enjoyed as you wear them in, Tenugui also go through changes as they get used and can be enjoyed for a long time.
A one-of-a-kind Tenugui
Each item is carefully hand-dyed by skilled craftsmen in Japan. Slight differences in nuance of colors are inherent to the nature of the raw materials and dyeing technique. Each item is unique, with subtle differences, an aesthetic reflective of Japanese culture and craftsmanship.
Please enjoy our one-of-a-kind Tenugui, delivered just for you.
Respect for craftsmanship:
a focus on sustainability of tradition and the environment
We listen to our customers and only create our products on a realistic basis, limiting unnecessary production, and thus, waste.
Regardless of the size of the business or market, we take it upon ourselves to produce carefully hand-crafted items as the need arises and convey their true value.
Japanese tool used for cutting
Japanese word for circle or ring
Japanese character from the hiragana syllabary
Our logo is a play on images and words, with KAMA (sickle) WA (circle), and the character for the sound of NU.
In its entirety, "KAMAWANU" symbolizes the spirit of “giving it your all regardless of risk”, originating from the uniforms that the firefighters of the Edo period (17th to 19th century) wore.
People at the time lived in long housing complexes known as nagaya, which shared one roof. When a nagaya caught fire, firefighters would jump in and knock down the main supporting pillar, collapsing the building entirely, thus preventing the fire from spreading elsewhere.
Firefighting was not an established occupation at the time and was composed of ordinary citizens who gave it their all to protect their town regardless of risk, with the "KAMAWANU" pattern proudly printed on their backs.
We took this perspective as the inspiration for our business and strive to provide products and services as needed for anyone that requests them, regardless of the market size.
Initiatives for environmental conservation
We fully comply with Japanese sewage laws and meet all standards and regulations set by the local governments where we operate.
In order to comply with these laws, we've taken measures to invest in large facilities where wastewater is purified through physical (large pool sedimentation) and chemical treatments (adjusting pH levels carefully for each batch) before being returned to the local sewage system. The process follows the strict regulations set by the Japanese government in order to maintain a healthy environment.