Vol. 31 What are the true “Made in Japan” Products?

With the recent buzz of “Made in Japan” product, I wonder what exactly the definition of “Made in Japan” quite often. Of course one of our purpose is to let you discover products that are made in Japan. However, vagueness of its definition still remains unknown for us to be honest. So this time I would like to discuss about the behind the scene of “Made in Japan” product.

It is said that more than half of factories in Japan bring in international trainee from China, Vietnam, or any other Asian countries. Articled workers vary from finished fabric, dying, and wash-in-specialized factories all over Japan. Recently JFIC (Japan Fashion Industry Council) established a motto called J quality. J quality represents a philosophy of proof that Japanese technology and aesthetic are the key to qualify product that is made in Japan. This idea consists of these principles. 1, Weaving (Knitting), Dying arrangement, and sewn product manufacturing, these three processes take place domestically is described as ligitimate “Made in Japan”. 2, Painstaking techniques conducted in Japan and rich imagination are poured in product. 3, each manufacturing process with a face of maker and safety network are seen for the product. I assume these regulations should be brought up to discuss because obviously the second one is almost relied wholly on articled workers from overseas. Actual process of manufacturing is done by hands of those who came from abroad and almost over half of sewn product manufacturing is conducted by foreign trainee. That being said, it still leaves a blur definition of “Made in Japan” product. Quality-oriented product from Japan might be defined by not for those who actually make product by hand-processing, because of those who can actually manage and teach them how to do those type of process can be the factor to define “Made in Japan”.

Including famous Japanese denim world, some of those factories are responsible for hiring foreign trainees. One factory from Okayama, where denim enthusiast are desperate to visit, was banned to bring in international trainee for 5 years because of the harsh environment that they need to embrace with the earnings of couple dollars per hour. Also because of the low income that they earn, more than ten people fleed from its factory. Besides, depending on the law materials, threads are even harder for Japanese industry to domestically produce. The definition of J quality does not state raw materials and threads to be included. Most of raw materials such as cotton, silk, wool, and etc.. Most of them are imported from foreign country.

As I try to deliver the message of Japanese culture with my own perspective, there would be much more issues that lie deep within our community. With this case, I am not much of help for those international trainees working in Japanese factory. Assuming that they are replaced by Japanese young generation as workforce because of the lack in people sustaining a factory and maintain its workload. “Made in Japan” products would be questionable for its existence and much attention needs to be paid.





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