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They restored and improved old-type looms 100 years ago to develop the first 'warp & weft wavy leno weave' in the world

Imabari-City, Ehime Prefecture
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Textile Industrial Technology Center, Ehime Institute of Industrial Technology

Takeda, Masatoshi  (59)

Even the latest machines have something they cannot do. An amazing idea was provided by going back to the basics of the techniques.

He bought old-type looms, which had been manufactured 100 years ago and virtually discarded, from textile factories all over Japan, and restored them by, for example, designing broken parts by themselves. He made further improvement in them to complete his original "Kijaku (standard length of material used in a kimono) inline machine." The company manufactures and sells unique textile products such as cotton scarves, shawls and caps, which have a texture like hand-woven cloth due to the natural materials. They are woven at low tension and speed without unnecessary stress to the thread. He also developed the first "warp & weft wavy leno weave" in the world, by attaching a special profile reed and a control system to a "leno weave" (two warp threads and a weft thread are twined to form a textile weave) that high-speed innovative reeds cannot do.


Continuing to mass-produce characterless and uninteresting products at high speed... which lowered his motivation.

Mr. Takeda worked for a towel manufacturing company in Imabari City that boasts the largest production of towels in Japan. When he was working for the company, he was in charge of the factory as an engineer while engaging in the works for restoring old-type looms that were used from the Taisho period to the early Showa period, responding to requests from the city and the towel manufacturers' association.
"I obtained old-time looms that were virtually discarded from factories in textile production areas, such as 'Higo loom (Wana weave)' that was the first loom for towels made in Japan, 'Double reed battan loom' and 'treadle loom for towels.' And I restored them for a towel museum and others. As I dealt with the origin of the textiles and looms in Japan through the activities, I was gradually attracted by the charm of tender manufacturing that the high-speed innovative looms cannot imitate."
Meanwhile Mr. Takeda had been looking for applications of towels other than "drying," and 11 years ago, he developed and commercialized "Cotton scarves made in Imabari" by making use of the towel manufacturing technique. This product for "tying" became a bigger hit than expected and contributed to the improvement in performance of the company and the local industry. However, as if in inverse proportion to the sales, he became less enthusiastic about his job that mass-produces characterless and uninteresting industrial products at high speed. And in December 2005, Mr. Takeda left the company after spending 38 years there.
"I didn't want to deal with mass production any longer. I wondered 'How can I compete on high value-added products even if the production volume is small, with the techniques that only I have.' 'In what market will I win without competing with major companies?' And I decided to use the old-type looms to make products into which we can weave the techniques, aesthetic feelings and aspirations of craftspeople. Additionally, we set a goal for new weaving techniques."
Mr. Takeda started visiting textile factories in Tokushima and Kyoto again to collect old-type looms. He obtained several looms such as Toyota looms invented by Toyoda Sakichi. After many restorations and improvements, he completed his original product "Kijaku inline machine" that does not exist elsewhere in the world. The challenge of "FACTORY ORIZA" founded by Mr. Takeda started at this time.

The essential point of the weaving technique invented by the small factory is the operation in a concerto of the old-time looms and special reeds.

"First, I tried a wavy weave that makes a design of wavy warp. In traditional weaves such as plain weave, twill weave and satin weave, the waves tends to return to straight shape by being washed. But we solved the problem by improving the 'Kijaku inline machine.' I achieved a leno weave in which two warp threads and a weft thread are twined. I also developed the 'warp & weft wavy leno weave' that was unprecedented in the world and high-speed innovative reeds never can do, in which both of warp and weft threads are wavy."
The fabric made by this technique has unusual three-dimensional effect that looks like uneven although it has a flat surface. The thing he desperately needed to accomplish the special weaving technique.... which was an original special reed to be installed in a loom for setting the density of warp.
"I visited a factory in Tango in Kyoto many times to have meetings and completed the reed. Without the reed, the 'warp & weft wavy leno weave' wasn't achieved. At first, we introduced a computer for controlling the operation of the reed, but it didn't match the old-type looms and malfunctions frequently occurred. So now film type control devices are heavily used."
The materials of the products such as cotton scarves, shawls and caps woven by the old-type looms that operate at low speed are natural fibers including highest quality cotton, silk, linen, wool, and Japanese yarn. And they perform hand dyeing with Japanese genuine indigo dyeing, natural plant dyeing, herb dyeing, persimmon juice dyeing, etc. for the most dyeing operations. Because they adhere to their principles, the factory makes only 20 to 30 products per loom per day. However, because of the strong originality, high-class image, and scarcity, their products became popular and now more than 50 retail shops including multi-brand shops all over Japan as well as famous mail-order companies sell the products.
"While we are offered affiliation from various companies, we will continue not to pursue expansion of the scale of our business. I think we can increase the number of our customers without bending our principles. I believe that if we explore the origin, we can develop some weaving techniques that nobody haven't seen yet."


Dec. 2005
6 (as of Dec. 2009)
Brief information:
He restored and improved old-type looms to develop the read technique, "warp & weft wavy leno weave" for the first time in the world. They manufactures original products with high added value.

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In the factory, old-type looms including Toyota looms that were restored and improved are operated.


A special reed formed into a wavy shape. “Wavy” design is woven with warp and weft by setting the reed in a loom and moving it up and down.


Also regarding the control device, they use the traditional film type.


Scarves made using the “warp & weft wavy leno weave,” which has unusual three-dimensional effect. The products have a nice texture, allow air to pass, and retain heat.


Factory shop "ORIZA" adjacent to the factory. They sell regular products such as cotton scarves, shawls and caps as well as one-off products.