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Japanese Shoes: Bespoke & RTW Super Thread - Page 263

post #3931 of 4059
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannefalk View Post

Kotaro has recently brought in two new apprentices to help him out. Also: small suits? 

/Oliver

The Sartoria Corcos situation was a combination of having a new child (tough to continue maintaining output when the only workers are a husband and wife couple), their old apprentice passing away in a car accident (at least from what I had heard), and him blowing up on the forum as the tailor of the moment. It's good to hear that he's gotten new apprentices though, as there aren't enough people making Florentine-style jackets
post #3932 of 4059
Anyone find it curious that there's always only one Japanese chef per table at Benihana? Wonder if this speaks to a national character.
post #3933 of 4059

I was recently discussing Japanese shoemaking with a Japanese friend of mine when he mentioned offhandedly that it was a damn shame that they (Japanese shoemakers) were considered as 'untouchables' by the rest of Japanese society. 

 

I didn't pay much attention to this comment at the time, but I later did a cursory search about it on google just out of curiosity, and to my surprise, it actually seems to be a real phenomenon (see for example [1, 2, 3]). From what I can tell, it's a holdover from the historical prejudice and discrimination against those who worked in occupations considered 'tainted by death'; e.g., occupations in which people worked with parts of dead animals, etc. 

 

Being from a Western background, I don't have a clue about the intricacies of Japanese social traditions, so I'm curious as to whether anyone with the requisite knowledge and familiarity with the culture can shed light on this.

 

In other words: to what extent is it true that cordwainers and cobblers are considered 'burakumin' or 'untouchables' in modern Japan?

 

 

[1] https://books.google.com/books?id=j7mLBQAAQBAJ&pg=PT48&lpg=PT48&dq=burakumin+shoemaker&source=bl&ots=6zO-XoRif4&sig=lKJbW20xALcEVRkytc7y9z4gQgU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWldTq2q3OAhWl24MKHRk1D0MQ6AEIHjAA#v=onepage&q=burakumin%20shoemaker&f=false

 

[2] http://www.csmonitor.com/1991/0109/otouch.html

 

[3] http://articles.latimes.com/1990-05-29/news/wr-252_1_dexter-shoe

post #3934 of 4059
emiristol, I posed the very same question some months ago on this thread when I found out about the topic. Back then, SF member VegTan answered that, yes, historically they have been untouchables, but this distinction does not hold in modern Japan.
post #3935 of 4059

That is an excellent topic for discussion. I'm not sure what, if anything, people associate with shoemakers with storefronts in Tokyo producing luxury shoes. But the history of segregation runs along postal code and zoning lines (someone (I believe it was an association of private detectives, but don't quote me on that) had the horrible idea of creating a census of exact zones and population counts and creating ledgers of zip codes associated with "bad" zones. That was bought by many major and prominent corporations in the 1990s (they have now disavowed the fact and claimed to have expunged this data) to use in making hiring decisions -- someone's post code could be used as an instant test of acceptability. Those historically segregated zones still exist in the shoemaking ecosystem, so maybe not the shoemaker with storefront, but the ecosystem of suppliers and workers he trades with. This applies especially to domestic cobblers, with these historical zones and cities still hubs of shoe craft, tanning, and repair.

 

 

As for the other discussion, I'm not sure what is the deal with the Norwegian and Anglo weeaboos jumping down my throat to make abstract jokes and raise the usual PC stuff. Speak to an actual Japanese consumer and he will readily tell you, with a wry smile, that herd behavior, novelty, and group dynamics inform a lot of his purchasing decisions. I'm not sure why this offends your sensibilities. Everyone is gagging over fetishizing Japanese shoes and calling their Japanese shoemakers "-san" then acts shocked when the conversation is not an effusive circle-jerk. But you trust the opinions of David Marx, because he had a book tour and is a blogger like you. Incidentally, I agree with his opinions. In an interview in a Japanese magazine ten years ago, he talks about writing an article for a fashion magazine about that season's trend: band T-shirts. The magazine introduces an example of a T-shirt you could wear, with a particular band on the front. A few weeks later, he goes to his usual street corner to snap street snaps as usual, and is shocked to find tons of people not just wearing band shirts, but the exact same band shirt described in the magazine. Instead of collecting Japanese fashion mags and putting them in plastic mint condition comic book polypropylene covers, you might first realize that they are prescriptive textbooks for a credulous consumer.

 

Regarding Corcos, I thought about my comment, and I have to admit it's a really interesting dynamic -- his own suits look smashing, but every one I see modeled by his clients is downright bizarre. It's usually the case that the tailor's suits look sub-par (no time to focus on self) but his clients' suits look great. This is the exact inverse. I don't actually think it's his style to make such dinky suits, but why does everyone order that? I really think his clients should emulate what he is wearing.

 

By the way, I wish to pick a bone with the storefront "Shibumi," which sells exactly 0% Japanese goods and simply fetishizes abstract Japanese concepts to no purpose while selling 100% European items. That is extremely strange to me. In the days when French artists became obsessed with Japanese woodblock prints, it created a fertile exchange of culture, with French impressionism being influenced by flat woodblock pictorial traditions and, less well-known, Japanese artists experimenting with applying Western portraiture to Japanese subjects, creating some very rare and unusual paintings. In the case of the tie store, I don't see any intercourse of anything occurring there. It's like calling something the "Zen Pizzeria." Utterly pointless and crude. Can you imagine going to a store called "Grandpa Hank's Old-Time Apothecary" and finding that they only sell folding hand fans? I'm at a loss.

post #3936 of 4059
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprout2 View Post


Not sure I see anyone jumping down your throat.
As for your points on the Japanese consumer, I have numerous times experienced people that seem to queue up simply because there is a queue 😀
post #3937 of 4059
Quote:
“I don’t know how good it is, but I think we just trust the queue,” student Joel Neo said.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/aug/04/michelin-star-for-singapore-noodle-stall-where-lunch-is-half-the-price-of-a-big-mac
Quote:
Round the corner, the IT service manager Jeffrey Gudani Encomienda is spending his day off in the queue. It’s his third visit to the stall, but he hasn’t been rewarded with a meal yet. “The first time, they ran out of food, and yesterday they were closed,” he said. “So I hope this time I’ll manage to get some.”
post #3938 of 4059
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntempleman View Post

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/aug/04/michelin-star-for-singapore-noodle-stall-where-lunch-is-half-the-price-of-a-big-mac

Round the corner, the IT service manager Jeffrey Gudani Encomienda is spending his day off in the queue. It’s his third visit to the stall, but he hasn’t been rewarded with a meal yet. “The first time, they ran out of food, and yesterday they were closed,” he said. “So I hope this time I’ll manage to get some.”

So it looks like Asian people both hate and love the untouchables? confused.gif
post #3939 of 4059
Or queueing. I love me some queueing though, British blood. If there's no queue visible I'll just form an orderly queue of one.
post #3940 of 4059

 

Regarding Corcos, I thought about my comment, and I have to admit it's a really interesting dynamic -- his own suits look smashing, but every one I see modeled by his clients is downright bizarre. It's usually the case that the tailor's suits look sub-par (no time to focus on self) but his clients' suits look great. This is the exact inverse. I don't actually think it's his style to make such dinky suits, but why does everyone order that? I really think his clients should emulate what he is wearing.

 

Interesting, from my own experience with him he is very stubborn (in a good way) of keeping it his way. You really have to push hard to get that extra cm or less. But enough about that in this thread! Keep the shoes coming!

 

Sorry for clogging up the thread.

 

Regards,

 

Oliver 

post #3941 of 4059
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannefalk View Post
 

Interesting, from my own experience with him he is very stubborn (in a good way) of keeping it his way. You really have to push hard to get that extra cm or less. But enough about that in this thread! Keep the shoes coming!

 

Sorry for clogging up the thread.

 

Regards,

 

Oliver 

 

 

Where can I peep your suits?

post #3942 of 4059
In case anyone else was wondering, I contacted Yohei Fukuda, Koji Suzuki at Spigola and Shoji Kawaguchi at Marquess to see if I could schedule an appointment with them. Both Yohei Fukuda and Shoji Kawaguchi responded promptly saying that I could schedule an appointment with them, while I still have not yet heard back from Koji Suzuki (not surprising given previous comments saying that he was unresponsive to English-speaking emails)
post #3943 of 4059

Just wondering, when one makes a 1:1 appointment with makers (be it shoes and bags etc), do they already expect you to place an order or is it ok to check out their work and if comfortable place an order?

 

Will the maker be offended? 

post #3944 of 4059
Quote:
Originally Posted by takashi78 View Post

Just wondering, when one makes a 1:1 appointment with makers (be it shoes and bags etc), do they already expect you to place an order or is it ok to check out their work and if comfortable place an order?

Will the maker be offended? 

I'd be interested to know as well. I can't really say because all of the makers that I contacted were ones that I had fully intended to order from if they responded and said that I could place an order during my trip
post #3945 of 4059

You can be clear in your email that you are making an appointment only and keeping your options open. 

Generally, it isn't a firm commitment. 

I visited Clematis and Hiro, each visit lasting more than an hour, with no orders. 

Saw Yohei twice, placing an order only on the second visit.

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