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How Is It Possible for Maruyoshi-Kosaka Woods & Urushi Works Store to Keep Evolving?

(Mostly translated by Google Translate for saving my time)
Last time, Kaori-san wrote a blog with the theme “Can you keep changing?” It was said that the awareness and behavior of people’s changes will be accumulated, leading to major changes in the company, but it will be even more difficult when it comes to the field of traditional crafts.

For example, the history of Kiso lacquerware owned by SOPHOLA’s first traditional crafts partner, Maruyoshi Kosaka Woods & Urushi Store, dates back to 1394 in the early “Muromachi” era. In other words, you have an incredibly long history of more than 600 years with its fine tradition, sophisticated art, and “successful experience”. In fact, when I contacted a Kiso lacquer shop with a history of more than 100 years in the Kiso area two years ago by phone, she said, “I’m not interested in overseas markets because the items are well-sold by department stores all over Japan.” I received many “cold” replies like this back then.

However, Mr. Yasuto Kosaka, the second generation of the store, has developed a new unconventional product called “Suitoyo” that applies the lacquer art to glass products in such a long history. It can be said that he demonstrated his “great sensitivity for the changes of the times” and “the courage and the ability to change himself” when the demands for the traditional lacquer desk and chair products were going down. You can probably imagine that it was ridiculously more difficult than that of the digital marketing industry, which has been changing for 30 years or so at all times, because it has a history of 600 years…

And as if the third generation Mr. Reo Kosaka inherited not only the second generation’s traditional techniques, but also “great sensitivity for the changes of the times” and “the courage and the ability to change himself.” He has created “hyakushiki,” which is a work that suits modern life, and are actively exhibiting at overseas exhibitions. In addition, the store is making good use of social media and facebook ads to expand the reach of consumers who are physically unable to reach under this COVID-19 situation.

I believe that Mr. Kosaka’s “sharp sensitiveness for the changes of the times” and “courage and action to change himself” are the reasons why “The Maruyoshi Kosaka Store continues to evolve.” On the other hand, unfortunately, there are some traditional craftsmen with no sensitivity for sudden changes in the times, with neither the courage nor the action to change. They are destined to decline.

Since SOPHOLA needs to continue to be the best partner in the field of traditional crafts such as the Maruyoshi Kosaka’s store, each individual at SOPHOLA must possess a “sharp sensitiveness for the changes of the times” and “courage and action to change himself.” It means we have to be a company that can continue to evolve because we have such a partner on the side that has evolved so far in the traditional craft art with a history of over 600 years, so we must also evolve further to lead the changes.

Masaki “Mark” Iino
Founder & CEO