MADE WITH JAPAN PHOTO DIARY/PART 5:
KOJIMA TOWN OF DENIM ARTISANS

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

My next stop was Kojima in Okayama. This town has a rich history of textile manufacturing and has become known to be the “mecca of Japanese denim.” The original denim artisans of Japan who first saw denim during WWII are still alive and doing their thing!

親戚が住んでいる牛窓から、児島に行ってきました。ドライブは結構長かった記憶があるんですが、ドライブしてくれたゆきさんとお話しながらだったので、あっと言うまでした。

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

I think the car drive from my grandma’s house in Ushimado to Kojima was fairly long. At least an hour for sure, but I don’t remember exactly, because I was busy catching up with Yuki who drove me.

児島に到着!お〜落ち着くいい感じです。

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb We first stopped by Kapital. Kapital is a brand that originates in Kojima and is famous for their high quality garments most notably their denim wear. They’ve been around since the mid 90’s and have a cult following.

まずは、Kapitalのショップにお邪魔させて頂きました。

kapital

Here are some pics from their current lookbook. The Kapital style is a Classic American meets Native American/Gypsie/Hippie. You get the idea.

今期のKapitalのlookbookです。

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

Looks like this inside the store. I didn’t get a good shot of the building but, it looks like an old Japanese house from the outside. No one would guess it’s a store and we drove past it a couple of times before we realized it’s Kapital!

Kapitalのショップは外から見ると、伝統的な日本の家に見えて、気付かづ何度か通り過ごしてしまいました。店内の雰囲気は全然違う感じのKapital World。

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

Next off to the headquarters of Japan Blue Group, parent company of Momotaro Jeans to meet VP Mr. Suwaki for an interview. This was the main event for Kojima and I was really excited to be able to hear his story. Mr. Suwaki was extremely nice and he shared a lot of info about his company, the brand, and the history of denim in Japan. This in-depth interview can be read HERE.

次、行ったのが、Japan Blue Groupの本部でした。副社長の洲脇さんをインタビューさせて頂いて、桃太郎ジーンズの情報、会社のフィロソフィー、デニムの歴史など色々教えてくれました。洲脇さん感謝してます!児島がなぜデニムの発祥になったか気になりませんか?インタビューはこちら

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

After I was finished with the interview, I browsed around Kojima station. I bought some Daifuku at this popular local store. Daifuku is a Japanese mochi confection with a sweet filling. This store is famous for their strawberry daifuku so I bought a small box to take back to my relatives.

インタビューが終り、洲脇さんにもバイバイした後、児島駅の周りを少しぶらりと。イチゴ大福が人気なお店で、おみやげゲット。

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

Here we are, at Kojima Jeans Street. A few stores (mainly jeans) are lined up here including the original Momotaro Jeans brand shop and showroom.

ここは、児島ジーンズストリート。ジーンズショップが並ぶ通りで、児島の観光アトラクションでもある。

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

Lots of stuff to look through! And the staff here was very helpful in explaining what each item was. http://www.japanblue.co.jp/momotaro/

児島ジーンズストリートで一番有名なショップはやはり、Japan Blue Groupのブランド、桃太郎ジーンズ、のショップ兼ショールーム。色んな商品がそろっていました。スタッフもかなりご丁寧に色々説明してくれて、有り難かったです。 http://www.japanblue.co.jp/momotaro/

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

Here it is! The legendary pair of jeans by Momotaro commanding a $2000 price tag. It’s created using this manual weaving shuttle in the picture above, which is displayed at the store. Too bad I couldn’t stick around for the demonstration. We’ve posted about the creation process of these jeans with a video HERE.

あ。これだ!噂の、18万するスペシャルジーンズ。前に、このジーンズについて、ビデオ付きのポスト書きました。ここです

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

Next door to Momotaro Jeans’ showroom was another jeans brand, Dania Japan. They are a much smaller company, but had some cool stuff. This brand looked like they were more focused toward the women’s market. http://www.daniajapan.com/

桃太郎ジーンズの隣りはDANIA JAPAN(ダニアジャパン)というブランドのショップがありました。女性向けのアイテムが多い店でした。http://www.daniajapan.com/

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

Walking down, Kojima Jeans Street. A lot of cool buildings!

児島ジーンズストリート沿いには、昔のまま立っている家やビルをレノベーションしているとこばかり!なんか良い雰囲気で、良い写真も撮れました。

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

The kanji here reads, “shizen,” which means nature.

自然がくたびれてますね。

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

Don’t run into the Phramacy expecting to get your prescription drugs. I can bet my pants, that this store doesn’t sell Omega watches..

このお店、今もOmegaの時計売ってるのかな??

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

Some cool jeans art, painted on storefront shutters.

ジーンズをモチーフにされたアートが、シャッターにペイントされてたり。

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb

This store was really cool selling antique furniture, lighting, decor and random vintage whatever. It’s called, Womb. http://www.womb-brocante.com

ここは驚いた。デニムとはまた違うが、アンティークっぽい雑貨とか品数多くおいてあって、遠慮なく写真をパシャパシャ撮らせて頂きました。Womb(ウーム)というお店です。http://www.womb-brocante.com

Made with Japan photo diary kojima the town of denim artisans momotaro jeans kapital dania japan womb Yuki and I are blitzed tired. On our way back home, we drive in to a little cafe and ordered us some food. The egg omelette with tarako (salted fish roe) sauce was delicious! We get back to the house, and surprise, my nephew was waiting for me. This was my first time meeting him!!!!

帰る時間です、あー楽しかった!おなか空いてたので、帰りにカフェで軽く食事を。このタラコオムレツめちゃおいしかったなー。アメリカ人にもタラコオムレツの美味しさ分かってもらいたいとこだが、まー難しそうだな。

家についたら、もう日が沈み始めていた。たっだいま〜、あら初めまして〜〜。僕のかわいい甥っ子が会いに来てくれてました。

←Previous Episode: Part 4

→To Be Continued..

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