A book about well-loved bags
A book about Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu has just come out.
As our boss, Shinzaburo, said in his blog, he kept turning down the request from an editor saying, “Nobody would buy it. Besides, it’s somewhat embarrassing.” However, after several years of refusals, he finally succumbed to the editor’s persuasion. Contrary to his expectations and despite the downturn of the economy, many people showed interest in our shop and products, and made inquiries about the book as soon as it came out. We are truly grateful for their interest and staunch support.
Yet, writing the book was quite a chore.
As we have been creating bags for a hundred and ten years without discontinuing a single item, I had to begin by pulling out old bags from the warehouse and asking our boss about their origin. There were many bags that even I had never seen. As I worked, my thoughts went to my grandfather and granduncle, and even my great-grandfather whom I had never met.
The photo on the right shows a product with the “ICHIZAWA” name. Since our company used to produce mountain-climbing equipment for world-class alpinists during my grandfather’s time, we found even tents and windproof jackets in the warehouse!
Mr. Waki, who runs a milk shop nearby, is still using our milk bag and was a former classmate of our boss. An interview with him sparked old memories between the two and led to a genuinely enjoyable speakfest.
The special bag that is only on sale only in our shop shown alongside the book, is a remake of a bag that is almost one hundred years old (photo below). It is a most representative bag as we continue to make almost the same product as the century old one despite the fact that the world and trends are fast changing.
Writing this book was also a good opportunity to reflect back on our work especially through insights gained from interviews with our customers.
One of our craftsman told us that his son, who had not shown any interest in his work before the book was published, said “I want to go to the shop to see the bags!”
We were so delighted to hear that.
We very much hope you will take the time to browse through the book.
The bag on the right is a tool bag that was used about one hundred years ago. At that time, names and logos of customers were printed on the bag as advertisement.
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