Manufacture Jean Rousseau celebrates traditional craft skills in Japan
Craftsmanship is highly revered in the Land of the Rising Sun. It is an ancestral tradition, whose roots date back to several millennia before Christ. The art of Jōmon pottery, for instance, which originated in as early as 16,500 BC, is the oldest example of pottery in Japan… and potentially in the world!
Japan is committed to honouring its craftsmen by granting them the title of National Living Treasure (Ningen Kokuhō). This prestigious distinction, conferred by the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, is accorded to individuals who contribute to the preservation of important intangible elements of the country’s cultural landscape, such as ceramics, lacquer, woodwork or even paper production. The esteemed title is also alleged to have inspired the French Entreprises du Patrimoine Vivant (EPV) label, which recognises a company’s mastery of traditional craft techniques and the cultural value of the services it provides. Manufacture Jean Rousseau has held the EPV label since 2007.
An integral part of cultural heritage, traditional craft techniques are taught to a disciple by a master craftsman who is responsible for passing on his skills and knowledge, much like in martial arts. Despite a lack of enthusiasm from younger generations and considerable growth in the new technologies sector, Japan has a deep-seated fondness for its traditional craft techniques and a desire to ensure that they live on in every discipline.
Manufacture Jean Rousseau, which has been operating in Japan for 10 years, was determined to pay homage to traditional crafts
While Manufacture Jean Rousseau regularly organises events and demonstrations focused on its traditional craft expertise in department stores and specialised retailers, on this occasion it decided to make an appearance at the Hankyu Men’s stores in Tokyo and Osaka, where its leather goods are already available. For just two weeks, two enormous pop-up stores specially installed for the event displayed the brand’s collections and a selection of unique creations produced especially for the occasion. A number of Manufacture Jean Rousseau’s qualified craftsmen were also present in these pop-up stores to produce leather goods during live demonstrations, which gave customers the chance to admire the meticulous attention, precise handiwork and flawless techniques required of the artisans.
Held over one week in each of the two Hankyu Men’s department stores, these events enabled Manufacture Jean Rousseau to highlight the talent of its craftsmen – much to the delight of its customers – and to boost the sales of both items stocked in store and bespoke orders. It would seem that by showcasing the brand’s excellent expertise and pairing it with the high-quality service provided by the Atelier Jean Rousseau teams from Ginza, the pop-up stores succeeded in generating much enthusiasm among customers! This wonderful initiative also served as a further reminder of the Japanese people’s deep attachment to craftsmanship and tradition.