"We want to do our best to serve those who trust us"
Founded in 1971, Kawachiya is located in a quiet area one step away from the center of Shimbashi, Tokyo. The foundation of the printing business was laid by the grandfather of Ryosuke Kunisawa, the current president. It was during the postwar reconstruction period, which can be called the dawn of the printing industry in Japan, that the company began casting the mother plates for letterpress printing in Shimbashi, a pioneer in the field.
the mother plates for letterpress printing
With the shift from letterpress to offset printing, Kawachiya began to receive an influx of requests from many clients.
The Shimbashi area is home to many major advertising companies, newspaper and magazine publishers, and is also close to Ginza, an area where many high-end stores are located. Because of this advantageous location, we have been fortunate to have relationships with advertising agencies and high-brand clients.
Kunisawa says so.
Ink stored in an orderly manner
It was not uncommon for them to receive unreasonable requests from clients.
Even under such circumstances, we absolutely had to ensure quality. I wanted to do my best to respond to those who trusted me. I always had a strong desire to do my utmost to meet the expectations of those who placed their trust in us. Through this process, the skills of our craftsmen were refined, and we accumulated our own unique know-how to flexibly respond to any order.
However, Kawachiya faced a turning point: as the media shifted from paper to digital from the 2000s, requests for conventional printing gradually began to decline. While thinking of a way out, an idea suddenly flashed into him.It is to create their own original brand.
The special printing techniques and processing that we have cultivated over many years through client work are Kawachiya's strengths and valuable assets. If we could make good use of them and incorporate them into our own unique expressions, we would surely be able to give form to something new and unprecedented. I was convinced of this.
Kawachiya original brand
"As a result of our pursuit of authenticity, more and more people began to sympathize with us."
At a major stationery exhibition in 2017, where the brand made its first public appearance since its birth, the response was even greater than expected.
The notebooks are decorated with a technique called Tenkin process, in which gold foil is placed on the edge of the notebooks. There are only two printers in Japan that have inherited this technique. Kawachiya is the only one that applies the foil by hand.
Tenkin process by hand
The appearance of the Tenkin process, which is almost unheard of today, attracted many visitors to the exhibition.
The quality of the paper was also carefully considered, and Paspier paper was used, which has a silky feel with good ink absorption. As a result of our pursuit of authenticity, we created our own unique worldview, and more and more people began to sympathize with us.
This exhibition led to new developments that would have been unthinkable in the past, including calls from well-known high-end brands and commissions from foreign royal families.
It was a courageous decision for us to move away from our traditional style of made-to-order production to launch our own original brand and communicate it to the outside world. But we had to take a big leap of faith. I am sure that our decision to take the plunge has borne fruit. By uncompromisingly pursuing what we believe to be the real thing, we are certain that "people will get the message. This was the moment when I was strongly convinced of that."
"I would like to continue to produce items that touch the subtleties of people's hearts."
Among Kawachiya's original items, items printed by William Morris motives are loved by a wide range of people. William Morris, who led the Arts and Crafts Movement in 19th century England, is a well-known figure in the art world. During his lifetime, he left behind an enormous number of works. In particular, his knowledge of printing was unique, and it is said that he experimented with every possible printing technique, from letterpress to silkscreen. What kind of chemical reactions would be generated if Morris's worldview were updated and expressed in a new interpretation?
The Morris series was born from such curiosity and the spirit of craftsmanship.
The paper is coated with resin and then exposed to ultraviolet light to create a shrinking effect. By arranging gold foil over the delicate unevenness created by the shrinkage, the luster of the gold leaf is transformed into a deep color, creating a unique texture and three-dimensional effect.
the design of William Morris
Morris, who took printing to the extreme and revolutionized it, was truly a man in pursuit of craftsmanship. His spirit, though presumptuous, can be seen in the work of Kawachiya. I would like to continue to carry on Morris's spirit by creating items that touch the subtleties of people's hearts.
Kunisawa says so emphatically.