Japanese Traditional Craft as New Fashion Item
Walking with colorful kimono and geta in the evening while using fun to cool down – is the scene used to seen in the good old days of Japan. Geta are traditional Japanese barefoot sandals which is made of wood. Geta are made to be hygroscopic and breathable so that people can be comfortable during the Japanese extremely humid summer season. Nowadays, European sandals are more popular than Geta, but many people still ware for firework festivals in summer and geta became an icon of Japanese summer. Recently, geta was reborn as one of the new fashion items by Mizutori factory in Shizuoka prefecture. Shizuoka prefecture is known for the birth place of Ieyasu Tokugawa, who unified Japan long time ago.
Therefore, in those days, many craftsmen and artists were gathered to Shizuoka to create best items, and flourished with craft industry. In addition, Shizuoka had high quality woods, and eventually started making geta. Mizutori factory was started in1937 in Aoi district of Shizuoka city. There was a time that Mizutori factory was producing European sandals while they were making traditional Japanese geta sandals. Most of geta makers had to close their factories because European sandals became more popular than geta. Then, Masashi Mizutori, the president started thinking from a different angle when European sandals became the mainstream.
He realized that geta take long time to get use to walk comfortable because the sole is made of flat wood. So he made the sole curve so that it can fit feet. The traditional geta strap was too hard, and it was not suitable for long walk, so he add cushions to make the strap softer.
Handmade One by One
Mizutori has a motto to handmade all items carefully, and all process are divided specifically- making wood sole, adding cushions to the strap, insert the strap in wooden sole, putting lubber on the bottom of sole. Thorough each handmade process, geta of Mizutori are created. Therefore, Mizutori geta cannot be mass produced. Mizutori craftsmen say that they are just make the best geta each by each carefully with their heart. That’s why Mizutori geta fit on people’s feet surprisingly, and make them want to go out as soon as possible! There are many people ware their Mizutori geta 5 or 10 years. All they do is just exchange the lubber sole. Those people say, “It’s impossible to find other geta, because I have been wearing this geta for 10 years, and they are fit in my feet so well.” Mizutori factory want people to wear their geta long, so they try to repair their geta even though the geta are in difficult conditions. No other company can offer the after purchase service like that.