Vol.6 Yasuo Makita

April 8, 2009 2:33 PM update

Yasuo Makita
MAKITA Co., Ltd.

English translation:MIYA SAKASHITA
"I have been making bags since the prewar periods because my wife's father was a craftsman for bags. I used to be a subcontractor supplying the goods to some wholesalers by one-time rate each time for about 5 years after getting married, but it is actually tedious for me, so I launch my own company accordingly." said Mr. Tokita, the president of MAKITA Co., Ltd.
MAKITA Co., Ltd. has been in the business for 45 years. They were delivering Boston bags to a start-up major golf manufacturer at the time. "Although we at first made only Boston bags, we also started to make caddy bags because a caddy bag manufacture went bankrupt around that time."
The main item in their production range in past years was Boston bags, but now the fashion bags replace it. They have gotten the orders from some companies including 'KITAMURA K2' being well-established company and 'BEAMS' gaining enormous popularity among young generation.
"We also do repair bags. We can improve the intensity balance that people can know only by using a bag, thanks to the repair service we do."
They have never made the same ones all the time, but they do something improving their bags such as strengthening some weak points from the beginning of production. Yes, their manufacturing technique is always evolving.

MAKITA Co., Ltd. takes a finishing work in which they sew pieces together to make them be one bag: they cut fabrics for main body in accordance with paper patterns. In some cases, they accept orders that require specially-treated ones.
"Especially the handle part which is easy to get damaged is the most important, so it is handstitched one by one. We sometimes do some by ourselves, but also ask the specialists for this work."
Still, sewing is an exclusive feature of craftsmen. It is a craftsmanship that they can sew anything.
"I made the summer bags by sewing plywood squares up for the summer exhibition. No exceeding force is applied on it, so you have no need to worry if it might be broken."
What Mr. Makita also showed us is the American sewing machine in the 1890s.
"This machine is that I found myself buying on impulse. It enables us to sew something with sewing thread No.0 that is used for sewing caddy bags, furthermore, for sewing three-dimensional objects."
Normal sewing machine consists of 2 threads but this machine consists of only 1 thread, so the finishing stitch is so sharp and beautiful. It is only the special technique here that makes it possible to sew this stitch on the three-dimensional object.

"It is that as an extension of my pastime. But I have been considering if something new bag could be made by this sewing machine all my life. For instance, if I combine this with the three-dimensional processing technique that I found at Kawaguti area, I guess that I can make beautiful bags in form." There are also other bags in jacquard fabric woven with fine design, which can not be imitated in China. " I guess that the style of mass production in China for sales in Japan will be end. Conversely, I want to target the Chinese wealthy class who has stronger aspirations of authentic work."
The techniques of leather processing and of weaving on fabric are combined. Such piecing and shape forming techniques can be created mostly by the original brand. Mr. Makita is making some hearty and lambent prototypes with sense of fun night and day; in such his hands, there may already be the bags full of appeal of 'Made in Japan'.

MAKITA Co., Ltd.
Address: 2-13-13 Higashisumida , Sumidaku , Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +81-3-5247-1711

The big vertical sewing machine made in America in the 1890s: it can sew the three-dimensional object like saddle for horse. Packing process: the finished products are carefully packed one by one and delivered to each warehouse.

A number of bags made in jacquard fabric including makeup pouches to travel bags: the flowery cherry blossom design is carefully woven in them. The bag with sense of fun that is made by some plywood squares sewn pieces together:It can be completely made precisely because the piecing technique is sophisticated.

The shoulder bag with the bottom bull leather processed into three-dimension: the form with a smooth curve and the stitch with a sharp feeling, which are the unique technique created by the craftsman, Mr. Makita.

The damaged bags are returned to the manufacturer for repair. A craftsman, Mr. Takagi's perfectionism is to rejuvenate such bags as much as possible.