MAEKAKE, an apron-like Japanese work wear especially worn by sake merchants and rice dealers, is a traditional form that has been passed down through many generations.
The MAEKAKE, produced by a company named Anything in Aichi prefecture, specializes in maekake made by the hands of specially trained artisans. Its functionality and beautiful design are highly appreciated by people around the world. The durable material has a very soft texture, which represents the heart of Japanese ...
Sailcloth aprons, or maekake, are inscribed with information such as shop names or trademarks, and have been traditionally used as the first step of customer interaction, along with signboards and noren curtains hung at the shop entrance.
While being quite simple in design – a rectangular piece of fabric with long straps to tie around the waist – the maekake apron also eases strain on the lower back by supporting the pelvis when lifting heavy objects.
It also guards from spills and injuries. Together with craftsmen in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, which is the only area where maekake aprons are produced in Japan, Anything has revived the authentic classical maekake with the original thickness and texture.
These maekake aprons, carefully made by weaving thick threads using the shuttle loom invented during the Meiji and Taisho eras, are strong and durable while fitting around the body softly in spite of the thick fabric. Because all manufacturing processes are carried out in Japan, it is possible to produce originally designed, easily repairable aprons in small lots. These maekake aprons are brought to life through careful manufacturing unique to Japan, and can be widely used both in Japan and overseas as a uniform that represents the omotenashi spirit.
Japanese traditional waist apron is called “Maekake” in Japanese. It is made of thick cotton canvas, and has thick long belt.
Maekake is a Japanese traditional waist apron. Many people have the image that the workers of sake shop or vegetable stores. Japanese waist apron Maekake has long history. It is said that Maekake apron was born in Muromachi era, about 600 years ago.
From Edo era (about 400 years ago), people began to wear the Japanese waist apron when they work.
In Meiji era (about 200 years ago,) Maekake became the shape of what we know now.
Maekake was once a sales promotion goods. Some makers distributed the aprons with their name and the shops’ name.
Japanese waist apron was very convenient item for workers. People wear Maekake when they carry heavy luggage. Also, people use the Maekake as shoulder padding.
Toyohashi city in Aichi prefecture was the No. 1 producing area of Japanese waist apron. Originally, textile industry was prosperous in Toyohashi city. During 1950s to 1960s, factories in Toyohashi produced 10 thousand of Maekake in a day, 2 million of Maekake in a year. As the time passed, few workers need Japanese waist apron.
As an advertisement, TV commercial became the mainstream. Then, the quality and demands for Maekake declined. From this tide of times, Anything revived the high-quality Japanese waist apron.
The name maekake comes from mae, meaning front, and the verb kakeru, to hang.
Occasionally, the variant maetare is used, with tare derived from the verb tarasu, to drape or suspend. An essential part of the Japanese workman's uniform, maekake are worn especially among merchants and craftsmen running family businesses, and by workers in independent shops like rice, lumber and liquor stores.
The simple design, a thickly woven square of cotton cloth with long straps, displays both the taste and practical wisdom of the garment's original creators.
The maekake is worn by tying the sturdy cloth around the hips and allowing the front square to drape to the ankles.
The classic indigo color reflects the Japanese sense of this color as tranquil and assuring.
The company or shop's trademark and name are printed prominently on the front, often along with the telephone number or year the company was founded.
The apron thus functions both as an advertisement and a symbol of the wearer's pride in his or her work.
Over the past several decades, the market has seen a flood of non-Japanese aprons made in China and elsewhere, but even today traditional Japanese maekake are highly valued as part of the working uniform of shopkeepers and craftsmen throughout the country.
How to tie maekake
To wear Japanese waist apron, wrap the belt all the way around your waist, and tie the belt in front. When you tie Maekake, you feel that you become motivated. Moreover, Japanese waist apron can prevent lower-back pain.
1) Rest the apron on the prominent bone at top of your pelvis. Set it on the pelvis to make the hip joint stable.
2) Breathe in deeply, then, release your breath lightly. Pull on the belts crossing your back tightly, then, bring them around to the front.
3) Lace up the belts securely at the front.
MULTIPURPOSE APRON: Use these canvas waxed aprons to protect your clothing when taking part in all kinds of activities. You can use them as craft aprons, painting aprons, woodworking aprons or grilling aprons.
EXTRA THICK AND TOUGH CANVAS: Unlike other waxed aprons, ours are made out of a top grade canvas, and double thick than the normal apron that is easy to maintain.
SIX LARGE APRON POCKETS: Each canvas apron is outfitted with six large pockets for storing paintbrushes, kitchen utensils and other supplies
ADJUSTABLE STRAP: Our durable aprons design with buckle closure, and quipped with a long enough strap that allows you to adjust the size.
TERRIFIC GIFT IDEA: These canvas aprons make a great gift idea for the grill master, tattoo artist, carpenter or garage junkie in your life!
100% COTTON MATERIAL : Made of high quality cotton guarantee our apron soft, stylish, lightweight , durable for a long time use.
Item will be delivered in a paper bag inspired by a rice-package!
Machine washable, however, please be advised the followings.
* As the nature of cotton canvas, the cloth may be shrink a little.
* These items may lose their colors a little, should wash separately with white clothes.
* Do not use fabric softener when you wash.
* Drip-dry recommended to avoid wrinkle.
* Do not tumble dry.
* All the products are handmade by traditional craftsmen. Please enjoy different individualities of each product.
Mr. Kazuhiro Nishimura established “Anything” in 2000. The name of “Anything” originated in “Enishi.”
Enishi means “the bond.”
In the relationship with the craftsmen of Japanese waist apron, he became aware of the facing danger.
He thought “if we gave up, Japanese Maekake apron would disappear.”
“We should inherit this Japanese tradition to the next generations.” Then, he started to collaborate with Mr. Masato Haga, who had the skill of producing Maekake with shuttle loom. Mr. Nishimura and Haga made numerous trial items. Finally, they revived the traditional Japanese waist apron. Now in Japan, Anything is the only one maker which can produce Maekake apron from the weaving.
Stylish Japanese waist apron inherited the valuable skill. The Maekake gets high reputation from overseas.
To make a Japanese waist apron, craftsmen use very classical shuttle loom.
To our surprise, the shuttle loom was created 100 years ago. The name is “N style shuttle loom” by Toyota. Now, this machine works only in the atelier of Anything in Toyohashi city of Aichi prefecture.
Among the countless warp, the shuttle with weft goes and returns. The speed of shuttle is 1 going and returning per 1 second.
So, the shuttle goes and returns 120～140 times per minute.Workers need to exchange the shuttle once in 7 minutes.
To make a Japanese waist apron, 2 exchanges of the shuttle are needed. Classical machine is easy to be broken, but easy to be repaired as well.
Therefore, people can use it for a long time. However, workers always need to make fine adjustments.
This classical shuttle loom needs the eyes and help of craftsmen. Skilled craftsmen produce a Maekake.