HOSOO was founded in 1688 in the old city district of Nishijin in Kyoto, Japan. The Nishijin district is renowned for its production of pre-dyed yarn textiles known as Nishijin textile. The company name, HOSOO, is based on the family name Hosoo, which was honorarily received from Honganji temple.

Around 1,200 years ago in the ancient capital of Kyoto, Nishijin textile was developed with the support of imperial nobles, the samurai class, and the upper class. There are over 20 steps required to make Nishijin textile with a master craftsman in charge at each step in the inherit pursuit of uncompromising beauty. As a renowned weaver in the Nishijin district, in 1923 HOSOO expanded into kimono curation under the guidance of 9th generation Tokujiro Hosoo. The aim was to introduce to the whole of Japan the brilliance and sincerity of dyeing and weaving craftsmen and their craftsmanship that have been passed down generation to generation.

Since then, HOSOO has been in business both as a weaver and kimono curator with two missions. One is to expand the possibilities and raise the awareness of Nishijin textile’s advanced technology and artistry worldwide. The other is to introduce traditional dyeing and weaving cultures from all over Japan and connect kimono culture to the future.

With the mindset “to create something that is rich in quality,” HOSOO emphasizes the value of collaboration between craftsmen and engineers of various specialties and backgrounds. These master craftsmen undertake a highly technical division of labor at each of the over 20 steps involved in the creation and development of Nishijin textile.

To create new products is to create new value that go beyond kimonos and obi-belts. In 2010, HOSOO independently developed a loom capable of weaving Nishijin textile with a width of 150cm. This has enabled HOSOO to provide innovative textiles for international markets in areas such as interiors, fashion, art, science, and technology.

HOSOO not only strives to advance Nishijin textile technology, but also endeavors to encourage more people to understand and appreciate the connection between the dyeing & weaving businesses found across diverse parts of Japan.

Masataka Hosoo visited dyeing & weaving areas from Hokkaido to Okinawa. His aim was to document the history and culture of dyeing & weaving unique to that region of Japan and his journey has included more than 20,000 photos thus far. This archive of nationwide dyeing & weaving culture is readily circulated across society through gallery exhibitions.

As a kimono curator, HOSOO handles important works created by national living treasures of Japan. These works are genuine treasures that represent the steadfast pursuit for beauty that inspires and enriches our lives.

By showcasing the finest kimono, HOSOO believes the luxurious kimono culture can be truly expressed and appreciated. With HOSOO’s collective knowledge on the Japanese dyeing and weaving industry, one mission is to draw attention to the spirit of the craft that resides within each dyeing and weaving area. Another mission is to realize the connections within the dyeing and weaving culture, which have been overlooked until now. By communicating this collective knowledge with the public, HOSOO is committed to fostering a future for crafts for generations to come.

Through textures and tactility of the details, things color life, work on people, and enrich their emotions. Like the uplifting feeling of wearing beautiful kimonos, crafts have a mysterious spirituality that go beyond simple functionality. However, in the 20th century society of mass production, mass consumption and standardization of products, crafts are at a disadvantage as an old and arduous technology.

With the traditional social framework at a crossroad, HOSOO hopes to revive the power of craft through quality goods and rebuild the foundation for humanity. Through crafts, HOSOO’s philosophy is to support people’s lives that go beyond generations and connect the past, present, and the future.

Photos by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

HOSOO FLAGSHIP STORE

Along with the functions required for our headquarter building, the architecture considers the textures of objects that would appropriately reflect craft culture when combining the flagship store and gallery.

Located in a historical area of Kyoto, the area envisages traditional scenes of its time. The exterior expresses the inherited history of traditional building techniques and textured materials such as sumi-ink plaster, gold leaf, and rammed earth walls that have been traditionally used in Kyoto. The gold leaf maintains its luster in contrast with the sumi-ink plaster, which ages with time.

The construction was not entrusted to one specific firm, but instead organized under the guidance of master craftsmen of various specialties and their teams. Each step was dissected and coupled to contrasting production processes with the primary aim of discovering new production methods. This is an alternative to the current streamlined production systems where the actual production processes and associated technologies have become a black box for the public that tend to focus only on the finished product.

Another example is with our NISHIJIN Reflected, which alters the perception of light, is the result of the combination of Nishijin textile with cutting-edge FRP technology. From Nishijin textiles to plaster, metal ware, gold leaf, Wilton carpets, furniture, and tableware, a collection of craft techniques can be discovered in one location. HOSOO’s philosophy is the epitome of craft architecture.

HOSOO RESIDENCE

Since 2017, HOSOO RESIDENCE has been in operation as a membership-only accommodation. Located in a quiet alleyway in the historical part of Kyoto south of the imperial palace, the building is a fully renovated pre-war Kyomachiya with the exterior keeping its traditional townhouse appearance. The interior exemplifies craft architecture that has a contemporary feel with its Nishijin textiles, earthen walls, and traditional plastering techniques.

The space gently nestles guests in beautiful shadows of times past. Interior items have been carefully selected and exclusively made for HOSOO RESIDENCE. Experience the quality and opulence of such items that have been nurtured by craftsmen over time.

GO ON

Active since 2012, GO ON works to heighten the awareness and activities of traditional Japanese crafts. The unit comprises of six members who have inherited their traditional Japanese craft businesses based in Kyoto, Japan. With this focus on crafts, the unit explores the potential of traditional Japanese crafts that connect a wide range of genres such as art, design, science, and technology. The aim is to create evocative possibilities by combining traditional materials, techniques, and manufacturing processes with cutting-edge technologies. GO ON continues to envision a brighter future through these activities.