Today we’re going to tell you a little bit about Bunkoya Oozeki’s history.
Bunkoya Oozeki was founded in 1927 (that’s right, almost a hundred years ago 🤯) in Mukojima, one of Tokyo’s bustling, working-class neighborhood. But the craft itself goes back even further than that. Bunko leather got its start in the early 19th century as a type of leatherworking developed by artisans in the Banshu-Himeji area. Records indicate the aim of this new leathercraft was to help revitalize the economy of the Himeji domain.
But let’s get back to Bunkoya Oozeki. Our company was founded by Usaburo Oozeki, who learned his craft in Yokohama during the first decades of the 1900s. After surviving the Great Kanto Earthquake, he relocated in 1927 and set up a workshop in the Mukojima area of Sumida, Tokyo - still home to the company today. 🏡
The workshop around the Showa period
Usaburo Oozeki came up with many different designs that are still used at the company to this very day. He cultivated overseas sales channels (something that was very rare in that era), and during the air raids of World War II he moved the embossing equipment and countless metal plates into an air raid shelter to protect it.
Bunkoya Oozeki opened its Asakusa location in 2012, followed by the ginza shop in 2018 and the Tokyo Solamachi shop in 2021. We also launched our English website in the hopes of sharing our craft with You. 🥰
The interior of our Asakusa shop
It’s been nearly a century since our founding and our unique bunko leather making techniques continue to evolve. We add fresh new ideas each year, always expanding the variety of our designs and patterns. We now offer more than a hundred patterns and color variations and more than thirty different types of items to choose from. ✨