Vol.3 Eiji Moritani

April 8, 2009 2:05 PM update

Eiji Moritani
Wood Valley Co., Ltd.

English translation:MIYA SAKASHITA
Spiffy-looking Print Boots, Paris Collection introduced, was born from the old town factory, which was working for rubber shoes over 50 years in Tokyo.

'We discovered the turning point by the print design boots we had worked on for the major apparel makers. I was told that the Paris Collection had introduced it at that time.' Mr. Eiji Moritani, the present director of Wood Valley Co., Ltd., said.

This company first made the goods totally decorated, although the transcription technique itself had been begun since early times. Because the work of placing large size decals on a raw rubber sheet needs the high technique with no failure, it is specialized by Mr. Moritani.

In 31st Year of Showa era (in 1956), when his father Noboru Moritani began the business, there were 36 rubber shoes manufactures in Tokyo, but there is now only this company existing. Even in the arduous condition of domestic products, causing them to lose ground to low-cost Chinese ones, Wood Valley Co., Ltd. became to receive some orders from the leather shoes industry because of its high technical level, by which they set out the high-fashion print boots that reversed the stereotype: "rubber boots are for work".

' I was asked to make the rubber shoes just like making leather shoes. It is easy if we make the rubber shoes by pouring the material into a mold, but it needs so much work if we make by connecting each part together as leather shoes. But unlike products made by mold, the process of making rubber parts has allowed us to respond even to a variety of design.'
Raw rubber sheet tends to easily get damaged and, therefore, Wood Valley has never outsourced their work and self-made the products. It is basic: applying the raw rubber sheet cut strip-shaped to the aluminum mold and forming the shape of boots. Although this process doesn't need so high skill, it cannot have a beautiful finish unless craftsman knows all about rubber property. A product glued some parts together is carefully put into the vulcanizing equipment to be heated and pressurized for a certain time, which enables the raw rubber to excel in elasticity and durability.
All the processes are carried out by hand, so the production is just about 200 pairs of shoes a day. They make not only booths but also pumps and sneakers, and now pumps are mainstream item for this company, so that they accept the order even from 40-50 sets of pumps.

'How to make booths has been never changed from decades ago. It needs a knack to use raw rubber which is as tender as raw dough for dumpling. It took about 3 months for me to manage to be able to glue rubber parts together. In these days of mass production, how fast and perfect we can do the precision work is important for us to win in the market. It is real that some products were returned to us even because of the little tiny dirt on them.

It is thought that the purposes of rubber shoes are mainly to be used by farmers, fire fighters or the Self-Defense personnel. Therefore, it will come out whether his decision of the new way not to seek stability invites good or bad fortune. Now from 2007 when the late owner turned over this shop to him, his first priority is flexibility of response.

'Customers have no knowledge about what rubber is, but at the same time, they break our stereotype in a positive way. That is why we are glad to listen to them to pick them out of some ideas without caring about the productivity and the trouble of work, and we are confident of our staffs, skill and the experience, so that we can be more than adequate for their ideas and needs. We cannot get anything without any effort, can we?'

The time we lionize the mass production chiefly by manufacturers was over, and people desire goods not from the point of view of how much lower they can buy but rather of how much hard-to-find it is. Consumers are looking for product's uniqueness and originality as well as its high quality. Yes, creating thins with high quality, besides, uniqueness. Don't you think that the current market expects the Japanese companies to have not only flexible planning abilities but also technical capabilities and craftsmanship to realize such plans? There are a bunch of prototypes, which are for response to the client's broad orders, crammed and piles in the factory. You can find the quintessence of 'Made in Japan' here.

Wood Valley Co., Ltd.: ladies' rubber shoes production
Address: 8-48-10 Tateishi, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo, Japan




The first Print Booths decorated the large size decals that indicate the high quality of the technical level: It is about 6 years ago that the main apparel maker ordered this print booths first time.




A pair of Pumps is currently mainstream item with various designs and colors.

Rubber sheet on which the large size decal is placed are glued to be formed to shape of booths.


 


Rubber sheet of material is never outsourced to avoid getting any damage during transport and self-produced it from the highly-selected crude rubber material.



Rubber sheets cut per each part: they can response the various orders by the same method of making leather shoes.


The special coating is applied on the icky surface of the raw rubber after it is molded. The conditioning of how much it is grossed depends on this process.


He puts pressure upon rubber parts by the special machine to tenaciously glue the main part coated with paste and bottom parts made differently.

Vulcanizing equipment:it equips the new device which can control the pressure and vulcanization times inimitably designed by the late owner.