Our collaboration with Tangerine Mountain was again featured by Nikkei News on 12 June. The original article was written in Japanese, and here is a roughly English translated version of it.
We are humbled by all of those media coverage, and the words of support from our existing customers, vendors in our mission of cultural exchange through kimono. Thank you!
The kimono industry is hard to expect domestic market growth due to declining birthrate and population. While reverse winds are blowing, Kanda who runs a kimono shop in Kanonji city, Kagawa prefecture, tied up with a Japanese clothes distributor in the US at the end of April and started to exploit the US market. Through comics and animation, interest in Japanese culture is increasing. With a wealthy collection of well-established Kimono shops, we will grab customers.
"Kimono Ontsukasa Kanda" is located in the center of Kanonji city. Inside the shop is a Kimono shop anywhere where clothes are lined up, they gotan inquirys in English "Can you make this?" "There is no such body type in Japan." Koichiro Kanda President and his employees roll out their sleeves and respond to orders from large Americans.
The company partnered with Tangerine Mountain, a Japanese clothing distributor in Illinois state in late April. Tangerine accepts orders for high-end kimono made in the US, Kanda cooperates with the designated tailor to make kimonos and ship to the US .Tangerine Mountain holds a kimono history and dressing workshops and finds out the demand locally.
Kimono often wears an adult ceremony or wedding ceremony in Japan. "There is a demand for wearing kimonos from Japanese culture lovers, etc. in the US even at dinners and concerts, weddings," Mr. Hiroki Okamoto, who is in charge of new business development, emphasizes. Through comics and animation, some Americans are interested in kimono.
Kanda launched sales in the United States from the sense of crisis of the declining birthrate of the local population and population reduction. According to estimates by the National Institute of Social Security and Population, the population of Kanonji City, which was 59,409 in 2015, is expected to decrease to 52,000 in 2025 and 45,000 in 2035 .
Kanda studied whether inbound (foreign visitors to Japan) will compensate for the decrease in local demand, but it reached the conclusion that "It is profitable in Tokyo and Kyoto, but it is difficult in Kanonji city" (Mr. Okamoto). Even if you sell or rent kimono in Takamatsu City where inbound is growing, there are many problems such as training of clerks who can respond in foreign languages.
While searching for future survival measures, Kanda opened a website in September 2017. The old-fashioned Kimono shop accepts changes such as starting accepting orders via on-line to hit the battle. And in October of the same year, they learned about Tangerine Mountain in the United States through a television program, sent a love call. In February this year, five people from Tangerine visited Kanda. The track record of selling high-quality kimono was appreciated by Tangerine Moutain and they have arrived at a business collaboration as "To make a Kimono brand together in the US".
After affiliation, there were 12 inquiries in the first month and Kanda has confident about the growth of Kimono market in the US. Okamoto expects “It might be possible to expect an order about 30 to 40 cases per year".
In 2019 the company will have 100 years in operation. After 100 years of dressing up the beautiful scenery of the local residents, they will move forward to the next 100 years as a Kimono shop favorite by foreigners as well.