About 10 years ago, with the demand for traditional Japanese umbrella decreasing dramatically, Kotaro decided to get involved in his wife’s family business in order to help it survive. He took a deep dive into the thousand-year history, manufacturing evolution and cultural importance of Wagasas in Japan, and began thinking of new ways to apply this unique craft in contemporary products.
Kotaro identified 3 main elements of the traditional Japanese umbrella: a bamboo frame, a folding mechanism, and the warm atmosphere created when light shines through the Washi paper. He thought of lighting products as the perfect way to reinterpret these elements – they could perpetuate the essence of wagasas in designs that would fit in contemporary homes. Working closely with designers, Hyoshiya developed Kotori, a collection of pendant and floor lights that are manufactured using the same materials and craft techniques the company has mastered over the past century.