Given an offer to sell KOMA products in Shanghai as a Japanese furniture brand, Kamei and myself visited China to confirm the reliable relationship to the offerer rather than to discuss about details of business.
The offerer is so nice people making us to think of us as "Any potential issues would be attributed to us." and we are expected to participate a design exhibition held in this autumn at Shanhai.
The story has started from the picture above uploaded to the Instagram.
It was uploaded to the Instagram Japan which was significantly distributed.
Then, Mai-chan seemed to be viral in the net community in China "There are pretty craftswoman specialized in furnitures in Japan."
Based on the topic, a Taiwanese couple craftsman specialized in furniture has visited KOMA to exchange techniques.
Given being acquittance with the couple, Mr. Kou has been connected with KOMA.
In early November, there was a phone call from KOMAshop to our factory.
Two people who run classes for woodworks were visiting KOMAshop now, who would like to see KOMA factory.
Usually, we decline such kinds of inquiries, however, given just passing the busiest time, we have accepted their inquiry and Mr.Kou visited us.
Mr.Kou had worked in one of major Japanese interior company for 10 years, thus, fluent Japanese speaker, thus, there was no issues in the communications.
He likes Japanese woodwork techniques very much and collects tools including planes, thus, he has seriously learned and conducted how to make furnitures and how to use tools including planes and blades.
It was just several hours, however, we exchanged techniques with fun.
Then, Mr. Kou told us "Actually, we have the other purpose of this visit."
He asked us about "Are you interested in distribution of KOMA brand in China ?"
Despite frequent rumors to be scammed, especially by non-Japanese residents, there would not be merit for them to cheat us.
We comfortably accepted his offer, which seemed to be interesting.
Even with deep-dive considerations, there is no down side risks in KOMA.
The offer seems to be given to us by chance, let's go China !
Standing on the road with neon signs in red Chinese characters in the night, I have realized we are visiting Greater China.
I was told that the quiet skyline built of brick opposite shore of the canal, where glaringly decorated sightseeing ships and rusted cargo boats are crossing, used to be a part of UK.
The left side of the narrow street used to be French jurisdiction where fashionable clock tower was impressive.
Many modern skyscraper exist far left side.
Affected by cold drizzle at the night, I felt kind of scared with strange appearance of all ages and countries mixed.
Worldwide high brands in the apparel, automobiles, and interior have stores in Shanghai bigger than ones in Tokyo.
There are multiple shopping malls specialized in furnitures and interior goods and I was surprised to see the number of furniture shops.
I have not seen impolite people.
No one does not seem to stick to details and people are generous and warm.
By the way, I have visited Shanghai without knowing any details of Mr. Kou, actually, who is employed by one of the major conglomerate which deals with urban developments.
The facility of his woodwork school is good one associated with shops and cafes.
The company manages the historical museum of woodworks at the top of an extremely big shopping mall and said to us, "please use anywhere in this mall."
When I ask him "Why did you make an offer to a small company KOMA small ?"
He replied "No one cannot make copy products of KOMA."
Otherwise, due to plagiarize, it is very difficult to do business in China.
Recently in China, nation wide project to take care of handwork of craftsmen, thus, 300 craftsmen have been chosen across all over the China.
One of the project of Mr.Kou is covering and introducing them in media.
Technique of each craftsman chosen is exceptionally good.
Some of them have been materialized as products and distributed by high brands including Hermes.
White porcelain dish so thin showing trough.
It is manufacturing with measuring its thinness by sounds when hit by fingers.
The sound is so beautiful as if it comes from musical instruments and used as BGM of the store.
Beautiful tea sets with rich expressions made from jade.
The incense burner complexly knitted from bamboo fibre thinner than 1mm.
There are many furnitures which are also very good.
I have seen such kinds of stores in Tokyo which permanently sell products exceptionally high levels of craftsman techniques are collaborated with high brands.
I seemed to see the tails of the top of the world.
I was so happy as if shaking from the bottom of my heart to understand how immature KOMA is.
New challenges alway remind us of our original spirit.
We would like to start preparing for the Shanghai design show exhibition in this autumn.
Anyway, Mr.Kou took care of everything.
He arranged any study tours so that we were able to see Shanghai furniture from the top to the bottom.
He bought each meal which is incredibly gorgeous and drunk alcohol till in the morning.
He talked though what the company is doing now and would like to do in the future.
I thought they are fascinating who speak those matters ineloquently.
I was delighted to see our workshop seemed to be interested by participants mainly consist of students of Mr.Kou's woodwork school.
Mr.Kou's group will plan to visit Tokyo next spring.
I would like to plan how to take care of them with the best hospitality.