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Vietnam Factory Image 01

Until reaching Takumics, Made in Japan, not as a director but as a player.

Allow me to share the humble beginnings of how I embarked on this journey. If you're interested, please read on.

I was just an average university student with no particular aspirations. Studying French in the foreign language department, I didn't take my classes seriously. Instead, I was captivated by Kōtarō Sawaki's "Shinya Tokkyū" ("Midnight Express"), a novel that was popular at the time.

Inspired by tales of a senior coworker who solo bicycled across South America, I packed my backpack and headed to India, convinced that I would find some answers there. Carrying two Nikon film SLRs and an open ticket, I embarked on a solo backpacking journey, perhaps the catalyst for everything that followed.

In India, witnessing the struggles of people living on the edge, seeing children with severed limbs and corpses being cremated on the banks of the Ganges, I found myself contemplating what I wanted to do with my life, even contemplating death.

Upon returning home, I realized my dexterity and thought of pursuing a craft. I went for an interview at a company in Kyoto that dealt with leather products, bringing along a wallet I had hand-stitched and designed myself. I audaciously declared my intention to become independent during the interview with the company president.

Looking back, I'm amazed they hired me. I'm still indebted to the president (now chairman). I joined as an apprentice seamster, facing the sewing machine every day, cutting intricate leather shapes with a pen cutter, and stitching detailed designs onto leather. I immersed myself in the joy of leatherwork and sewing day by day.

Over time, I took on responsibilities in leather product and logo design, as well as production management. Then, the opportunity arose to launch a factory in Vietnam, and inexplicably, I was chosen by the president.

I relocated to a remote corner of Vietnam as the sole Japanese factory manager. Starting a factory from scratch was no easy task, and I faced numerous challenges, but looking back, they've become stories to laugh about.

In a place where there was much to do and no interpreters, I learned Vietnamese and found myself walking faster because there was no time to relax. I had many arguments with the skilled craftsmen I hired, and at times, he even threw chairs at me.

During difficult times, in the midst of a blackout during a stormy night, listening to Ayako Fuji's "Ame no Bojō" ("Yearning for the Rain"), playing from a nearly dead laptop, I longed for Japan.

As time passed, I found myself enjoying casual conversations with the local workers during the day, using my rudimentary Vietnamese. On weekends, which were once only Sundays, I always visited the backpacker street in Ho Chi Minh City, staying in cheap accommodations and conversing with foreigners.


Feeling cocky, I wanted to test my abilities in Tokyo after my two-year stint in Vietnam, so I switched jobs and moved to Tokyo full of confidence. Tokyo, a gathering place for top-notch talent, and the company I joined in Daikanyama after switching careers epitomized that. I was a small fish in a big pond.

I worked tirelessly from morning till late at night, loaded with a ton of work and often scolded by my seniors for my daily office tasks and production management responsibilities. Whenever I visited Vietnam for business trips, the familiar warm air and the sound of the sewing machine made me realize that I still wanted to be a player in the "Made in Japan" craftsmanship, rather than a supervisor in an overseas factory. Looking back, my time at this company was invaluable, polishing my skills in production management.

Afterwards, I changed jobs again, returning to being a craftsman. I learned traditional techniques from seasoned senior craftsmen who worked on projects related to the imperial family, further honing my skills.

Later, when my former boss from Daikanyama started his own company, he approached me and entrusted me with tasks involving production lines and crafting products. Here, I felt that everything I had done so far had culminated into something meaningful.

Then came the cold winter skies of Paris and the unfamiliar roads of Italy in a left-hand drive MT Fiat rental car during early summer. The landscapes of Orvieto, Chibita, and Florence, adorned with lavender, enhanced my desire to create things with the delicate and vibrant colors of Europe. It was then that I felt it was time, perhaps, to embark on my own journey of independence.

Through work, I learned a lot and met various people. Vietnam, which was tough at first, and the long hours at the Daikanyama company, all became the nourishment that shaped me into who I am today.

Even now, I receive support from my seniors and the former company president. Continuously seeking new skills and knowledge, I finally ventured into independence in March 2012, and that's how Takumics' humble history began. Every day, I engage with products, planning and designing leather goods, and crafting them as a craftsman.

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