Okinawa Tourism Information:BingataxLeather/CollaborationofTraditionalCraftsandLeatherwork[Rakusyou](NahaCity)

Bingata x Leather / Collaboration of Traditional Crafts and Leatherwork [Rakusyou] (Naha City)

post : 2019.02.27 05:00

Okinawa is a region with many types of handcrafts. From pottery, dyes and textiles, glasswork, woodwork, silverwork and various other fields, with many artists and craftsmen producing their goods.

Bingata pattern dyed on white leather. Aside from the steps of: Mamehiki where juice from soybeans are painted on cloth to ensure that the colors stay better; Mushi where steam is applied onto the cloth that was dyed to ensure that the coloring stays; and Mizuhiki, where glue on the cloth is washed off, much of the process is almost identical to Bingata dye production. After the designs are made, tracing paper with the patterns are created, and the paper is placed on the leather to press the colors, and finally the shadings are applied.

Rakusyou is a studio, atelier-shop in Shuri, Naha, where leather craftsman Hisao Hayashi creates his work and runs his business. Shown above is a piece with the traditional designs of waves. The craftsmanship in the gradation of the blue and white gradation is excellent. On the front, the wave patterns of the Bingata are eye-catching. When leather craftsmen collaborate leatherwork with other forms of artistic material, oftentimes the material simply becomes an additional touch. Here, the Bingata is given a focus. The Bingata work, by the way, is done by Bingata Kobo (studio) Haji.

What’s unique about this item isn’t just the design. You can see that a lot of thought went into making it easy to use as well. The most important function of a coin case is to be able to put the coins in and take them out with ease. When opened, the mouth of the case spreads wide, allowing easy access to the coins you need. The leather itself has a good firmness so when you have coins in the case, the leather case embraces the coins and prevents them from slipping and keeps them firmly contained. As Hayashi-san says, “I was always thinking of ways to make it easy to put in and take out the coins, but also making the shape cool. I made prototypes and improved on them, put it aside, and made more improvements…and until I finally settled on what we have now.”

Here, you can see the two pockets to hold cards. You can keep about three credit cards or cash cards in one pocket. Hayashi-san says, “As you use it, the leather in the part where the coins are kept gets rounded and plumps out, and that looks really cute,” and showed that he uses one of the pockets for his bills.

Presently, Rakusyo has three variations in their brand lineup; the RAKUSYOU style, RAKUSYOU, and RAKUSYOU +, each with their own concepts.

RAKUSYOU style is a creative line inspired by the nature, traditions and cultures of Okinawa. The familiar designs we see every day are incorporated into the items, like the flower patterns on the cinder blocks of concrete structures in Okinawa, the paddles or the Ueku of Hari dragon boats, and the scales of the parrotfish which is one of the most well-known fish enjoyed in Okinawa.

RAKUSYOU + is the diffusion brand of Rakusyou, a line created with the concepts of convenience and fun. These are created in collaboration with other Okinawan artists and brands, and this line was inspired by the Okinawan tradition of carrying salt for protection against bad spirits. The price is reasonable and they’re great for gifts, too.

And these, shown above, are the RAKUSYOU pieces. The lineup puts Okinawa’s traditional arts in the spotlight and brings out the Bingata and Shuri Ori textile patterns. The item from RAKUSYOU have great designs that match tradition with modern lifestyles and are made with great care and skill. They’re perfect leather items for those of you who love Okinawa.


Address: 3-5 Yamakawacho, Shuri, Naha City
Telephone: 098-886-8122
Hours: 10:00 to 19:00
Closed: Mondays & 3rd Sunday of the Month

Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Nobuya Fukuda