KuSakura, a century of passion

KuSakura, a century of passion

A brand that bloomed like 100 cherry blossoms

KuSakura (九櫻 in Japanese) means "the nine cherry blossoms. A meaningful and historical symbol for a Japanese company, especially when we know that the brand logo is inherited from the armory of the Japanese warlord of the Namboku-cho era (14th century A.D.) that ruled over the company founder's region of origin. 100 years later, the company is still family-owned, eager to keep fulfilling the original mission entrusted by Mr.Hayakawa Juichi.
An anniversary that gives us the occasion to realize a small focus on the brand, its evolution through time and its activity nowadays. If you are wearing KuSakura's Judo Gi or if you just would like to know more about a brand that knew how to evolve while staying traditional in the martial sector, you might want to read this article until the end.

A Brief Story Point

It all started in 1918 and against all expectations, KuSakura wasn't a Judogi maker yet. In fact, the company wasn't even named as such, as its first activity was the conception of Jukendo equipment (bayonet art), a modern Budo similar to Kendo practiced by the Japanese imperial army before and during World War II. The KuSakura with the philosophy we know nowadays appears in 1947, when the emphasis has been made on a full integrated production process, from the weaving until the distribution to final customers. Based in Osaka, it is only in 1964 during the Tokyo Olympic Games that Judo became the second most popular Japanese martial art and that KuSakura (named Hayakawa Textile Industries Co., back then) started to increase its Judo Gi production in order to equip the Japanese delegation.

Until the end of the Second World War, Judogi were fully handmade. Thereafter, mechanization began to set up as a norm in companies' processes within the martial art industry. What made KuSakura take the competitive edge over all its competitors present on the market at the time, is that the brand has been a forerunner concerning the mechanization of the "Sashiko" (rice grain) weaving process. This special weaving method, quickly became a standard when talking about high-end Judo Gi, due to its comfort and all the benefits it provides to practitioners. KuSakura successfully managed to make it its trademark and be renowned for this in the 70s. From this period, KuSakura started to be perceived as the inventor of the modern Judogi.

Judogi weaving machine

KuSakura, a forerunner of the "Sashiko" fabric weaving process mechanization

Later on, from 2014 onwards KuSakura successfully became a brand certified by the International Judo Federation making its products suitable for international competitions. Furthermore, it is only until recently in 2018, that the official name of the company has been officially changed both internationally and nationally from Hayakawa Textile Industries Co., to KuSakura.

Nowadays in constant partnership with the Kodokan, we are now providing some of the best Japanese universities in Japan like Tenri, Kokushikan or Hiroshima and are now aiming at strengthening our positions in international competitions.

KuSakura offices' decoration with IJF certification

The pride of a whole company to be IJF certified

KuSakura, the birth of a philosophy

Although our philosophy has improved year after year along with the evolution of the company, it stayed founded on the same basis, namely, providing martial arts practitioners with an outstanding quality of equipment. In order to fulfill this objective, we give a lot of importance in controlling the production chain from the beginning to the end, implementing strict quality standards even on made in China's product.

Consequently, this philosophy binds us to offer to our customers only high-end or at least medium-range models. This passes by an emphasis on strict control of the origin of our products or of the raw materials transformed during the production process. As such, we do not sell any productions coming from some countries such as Pakistan or Bangladesh due, on the one hand, to the usually poor quality of products coming from these areas, and, on the other hand, to the questionable work conditions within which these products were made. Besides, as access to globalized information speeds up the overall awareness of these kinds of issues, this positioning is now shared by the vast majority of our customers strengthening their self-association with the ethic of the brand. Nowadays this work ethic is considered as being part of our global philosophy and mission statement, but this topic will be debated in a forthcoming article.

Thanks to its thorough way to handle its production, KuSakura is nowadays the only Judogi maker in the world with the technical capacity and experience to produce Judogis based on the one initially worn by the inventor of Judo Jigoro Kano.

Relic of Jigoro Kano's Judogi

Relic of Kano sensei's Judogi

The future of the brand, toward an international outreach of the Japanese 'savoir-faire'

It is certain that KuSakura has a long-established and well-renowned reputation in Japan but it is certainly not enough to subsist in this competitive yet beautiful martial art sector. Our eyes are now turned toward the international market, eager to strengthen our positions and cast a favorable light on the Japanese 'Savoir-faire' in Judo and more generally, in martial art equipment conception.

To fulfill this objective, we are collaborating with Seido in a fruitful partnership. Seido is run by martial arts enthusiasts and the brand shares a very similar philosophy with KuSakura emphasizing on craftsmanship, tradition and high quality of service. Seidoshop.com is available in English in French and in Japanese and is an online shop dedicated to providing the finest quality of Budo and Kobudo equipment both in Japan and worldwide.

Finally, the fulfillment of our objectives whether national or international, have never relied on any aggressive marketing campaigns. What really differentiates us from our competitors is our focus on honesty, the quality of our services and the authenticity of our production. Our strategy may certainly not be the most profitable one financially, but we truly believe in the social and practical added value our products brings to practitioners. This is in the outlook to see our vision shared by more and more people from different cultures and nationalities around the world that we keep persevering along this path.

KuSakura's logo embroidery

A brand withstanding the test of time

All in all, KuSakura's priority has always been to satisfy its customers above all bringing quality products with a real in-depth philosophy behind them. Our customers' satisfaction in our work and what we offer are the reasons why we keep doing this in-depth work and we strongly believe that we can do it for another century.

We hope that through this article, you have been able to learn more about KuSakura and the mission keeping its flame on.
See you soon on KuSakura Shop!

Interview M. Hayakawa Iwao, KuSakura's chairman

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