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In all manners, the way of the Samurai
Samurai armor
Samurai Armor Wear Bag - Reborn from Kyoto doll “Kacchu” armor wear craft techniques

There is a Japanese tradition that still lives today called the “Tango no Sekku” (or Boy’s Festival) where families display traditional miniature samurai dolls and armor head wear to celebrate in their homes every May for their son(s). This tradition roots from the Shogunate culture passed on from the warring state period of Japanese history (End of 15th to 16th century.) The Samurai warriors wore their “Yoroikabuto” or Samurai armor wear to protect themselves through the battlefield. At the same time, this painstakingly crafted Yoroikabuto was not only for the battle itself but also represents the codes of Bushido commonly known as frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery and honor. Today, the Yoroikabuto is a symbolic figure to protect boys from sickness, accidents and disaster.

Mr. Miyake, second generation of one of the few Kyoto doll traditional craftsmen, strived to find a way to pass on the Samurai Spirits to the world which led him to create the Samurai Armor Wear Bag applying the Kyoto doll craft technique woven into a contemporary designed bag.

Passing on traditional cultural value from Kyoto

The bag itself with leather and an aluminum plate processed by almite is delicately woven onto the leather bag one by one with the finest braid. The special braiding technique used for weaving is called “Odoshi”. What makes the significant difference to create the best finish depends on the traditional craftsmen’s long trained technique leaving the braids perfectly in line and bringing out the fine shine of the steel Kacchu. This exquisite braid is custom made by the renowned boutique “Showen Kumihimo” in Uji, Kyoto. The braids originally used for the Kyoto dolls (or Boy’s festival dolls) were too thick to fit. Mr. Miyake went through extensive consulting for the material and color preferences with Mr. Murayama from Showen Kumihimo to finally come to the current braids applied on the Miyake bag. The leather of this Miyake bag was developed together with “Kyo Kaban” a bag shop known for its originality where the design reflects closely the users’ voice.

“I ask that the horizontal knitting be done by hand and try to optimize special techniques of the bag maker.”

Mr. Miyake full-heartedly explains to us how he emphasizes on “Made in Kyoto” going deeper than just “Made in Japan”.

Miyake Keisuke working on one of the bags
close up of a samura armor plate bag
Samurai Spirits dwells in MIYAKE artefacts

What triggered Mr. Miyake to take action for new approaches with Kacchu is the recent downsizing of the Kyoto doll market reflecting today’s lifestyle. The Kyoto dolls market was up until the 1980s but the demand fell to one third since then.

“But if I use the traditional techniques from the Kyoto dolls and Kacchu inventing a completely new design, I believe my works and the tradition can be recognized again in the market.”

Mr. Miyake reveals his determination to pass on valuable tradition. Leather laptop computer and tablet cases were his first prototypes using Kacchu binding techniques. It took four devoted years of extensive trial and error period to produce the refined MIYAKE bags that are now available. The brand new approach to revive the Kacchu on a leather bag attracted attention from various media outlets leading to a wide range of fans regarding the style as “Cool Japan”.

“I would be grateful if my Miyake bag users enjoy carrying with them the principle codes of Samurai Spirits namely Righteousness, Courage, Benevolence, Politeness, Truthfulness, Honor and Loyalty.”

Mr. Miyake concludes reassuring us that he too is a real Samurai living today. Perhaps this actually is the one and only rare bag that can grant us with true courage and honor in our busy daily lives.

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