KuSakura is the trademark of the Japanese company Hayakawa Textile Industries Co., Ltd. KuSakura (九櫻 in japanese) is composed of the kanji 九, symbolizing the number 9 and 櫻, symbolizing the cherry blossom (famous symbol in Japan) and means "the nine cherry blossoms". The name and the brand symbol come from the Kamon (armories) of a famous Japanese warlord of the Nanboku-cho era (14th century) that ruled the region of origin of the company's founder.
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In 1918, the craftsman M. Hayakawa Juichi settles in the Osaka region with its jukendo (bayonet) equipment factory. After years of sharp decline in the number of martial artists at the beginning of the Meiji era (Japanese Industrial Revolution), the number of practitioners begins to rise and Judo becomes popular. With his experience in the Sashiko (rice grain) fabric, Mr. Hayakawa focuses on the manufacture of Judogi. During the US occupation that follows World War II, the martial arts are prohibited and it is only at the lifting of the ban that the Japanese government undertakes to "renew" the image of the traditional martial arts. Judo, which was developed as a method of education by its founder, is heavily promoted, leading to a significant increase in the number of practitioners, until it becomes the second Japanese martial art behind Kendo. At the end of the Second World War, Judogi are still mainly hand-made and there is no machine that can weave the Sashiko upon two layer (the famous "futae Sashiko" used today). Given the rise of Judo around the world mainly due to its representation on the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, it becomes imperative to drastically increase production. It is in the early 70's that KuSakura teams up with heavy machinery manufacturers to develop the first machines capable of manufacturing this fabric, creating the Judogi as we know it today.
Throughout the years, KuSakura actively participates in the creation and evolution of the Judogi, initially in collaboration with the Kodokan and with the Japanese Judo Federation, and more recently with the International Judo Federation. KuSakura is intimately linked to the creation and evolution of Judogi through the ages. KuSakura also revolutionizes the "Hishisashi" (diamond) fabric present on the lower part of Judogis by changing the weaving process to include diamond patterns in the fabric structure, making this much more resistant.
To the question "what is your goal, your ambition for KuSakura?", M. Hayakawa simply answers:
If today I am the president, I started my career by weaving at the workshop and then at the assembly line. My successor will follow the same path as me and my predecessor before me. We are craftsmen, we devoted our lives and energy to the making of martial arts equipment and we are at the very origin of the conception of Judogi as it exists today. My greatest reward is to hear the pleasure that the Judoka feel when they wear our equipment.
Iwao Hayakawa, president of the Board
When one speaks of Judo equipment in Japan, one speaks primarily of KuSakura, the inventor of modern Judogi, N°1 of Judo equipment in Japan (60% market share), and official partner of the Kodokan. The history of KuSakura is intimately linked to that of Judo.
Unfortunately, KuSakura, like many Japanese companies, has some difficulties when it comes to exporting its products. The language barrier is a problem, but not only. While some brands have understood how to make a profit through sponsorship, traditional martial arts equipment manufacturers do not work in the same logic. The quality of the product (and service) comes first and these companies have many difficulties to imagine a large-scale economic model that does not endanger it. With over 100 sizes for the JOA and JNF, over 3,000 items must be stored in order to cover 15 copies for each size. The logistics required to provide this level of service to the world is a very difficult problem to solve. This is the reason why KuSakura is not well known outside of Japan despite the fact that for the same price, Kusakura's quality and level of service are well above that of the competition.
We, Seido Co., Ltd., sell have been active in the export of Japanese martial arts equipment since 2009, which makes us a relatively young company. However, during these few years, we have come to know rather well these traditional manufacturers. We have studied a large part of the market and worked with many stakeholders. Moreover, our logistic platform is one of leading exporters BtoC of Japan with thousands of packages shipped each month. Our goal today as martial artists and lovers of traditional Japan is to offer only the highest quality materials, with a service that matches Japan's outstanding reputation. We chose to operate KuSakuraShop.com in order to promote KuSakura in France and Europe, and to provide all Judoka who are eager to equip themselves with the most authentic and most upscale equipment in existence today. We hope that you will love this brand as much as we do and that KuSakura will enrich your practice of Judo.
Note that KuSakura works mainly with retailers and while it is possible to buy directly from each office listed below, these are primarily offices and warehouses, not shops storefront. If you are in Japan and want to buy directly equipment from KuSakura, we invite you to contact one of these 3 shops. It is not possible to buy from KuSakuraShop.com if you are in Japan, as this platform is specifically designed for export.