Katayama Bunzaburo Shoten was founded by the first generation, Bunzaburo Katayama, in 1915 in Karasuma, Kyoto, as a kimono manufacturer specializing in tie-dyeing. Since then, the history of Katayama Bunzaburo Store has been one of constant innovation. The simple chic style in which Bunzaburo specialized was based on an aesthetic sense ahead of its time.
By the time the second generation, Fumio Katayama, came along, the company was aiming for a fusion of tradition and innovation to meet the changing lifestyles and began to promote the appeal of tie-dye in fields other than kimono, such as interior design and fashion.
In many cases, logos are immediately recognizable and reflect a company's philosophy and services. What does BUNZABURO's logo, a five-petal cherry blossom with a letter of "Bun" in the center, tell us?
The powerfully drawn cherry blossom pattern is the emblem of the Yuzen, one of Japan's best-known traditional dyeing techniques, which originated in the 17th century. Our founder, Bunzaburo, was trained by the Yuzen group to become independent from his apprenticeship. In the Meiji era (1868-1912), it was common practice for kimono merchants to sell something different from Yuzen to not compete with the main line. However, the cherry blossom pattern was handed over to the young beginners as a gift who was about to embark on the rough sea of business. Bunzaburo's colleagues, who were divided into different franchises, added their own unique twists to the same cherry blossom pattern and used them as their logo.
There is no way to know now what Bunzaburo's training period was like, but it is said that the people around him called him by his nickname "Bundon," which is easy to call in syllables. We can easily imagine how many people called him and how helpful he was during his training. Without interfering symmetrical beauty of the cherry blossom emblem, Bunzaburo placed his" Bun" letter in the center of the symbol, thinking of the importance of his severe and primitive training period along with the spirit of the Meiji people, who respected and valued civility and beauty.
The signage of our main flagship store in Kyoto that reads "Katayama Bunzaburo Shoten" written in black calligraphy ink was originally written vertically by Bunzaburo, who was also an excellent calligrapher. Kazuo, the company's current president, deconstructed each letter and rewrote them horizontally in the 2000s in response to his prediction for the globalizing market. Bunzaburo's free-spirited characters can be seen in the old account books called "Daifukuchou", from when the company was founded. Bunzaburo's unhindered brushstrokes are genuinely fascinating - boldly as if dancing and has the expressive strength and powerful presence of words.
There is an anecdote about Bunzaburo that we heard through the grapevine. In autumn, he would work so hard picking up the fallen leaves from the painstakingly nurtured courtyard, but for some reason, he always left the last leaf on the ground. When asked the reason, Bunzaburo replied, "Too clean is not beautiful." There is a saying in Japan that the fish won't live in clear water.
Bunzaburo succeeded in business with chic tie-dye kimono with few patterns by being a little ahead of his time. His letters express his pursuit of beauty above all else, and he is still watching over our BUNZABURO.
Since the third generation owner, Kazuo Katayama, took over the business in 1992, he has further accelerated the creation of products. He fused modern fashion and art while preserving his mission as a bearer of tradition by reprinting the "Honza Kanoko Shibori" technique, which had been discontinued since the Edo period. For example, Mr. Katayama decided not to stretch out the tie-dye binding. Traditionally, the shibori method was used to create patterns, but he utilized it to create a unique form and dared to use the back side of the fabric as the front side. He made scarves and clothing using the large, protruding shape of the tie left when the thread is untied. It is proposed as "Wearable Art" that the wearer can become an artistic being where surprise and joy coexist.