“I am going to create a new image of Samurai, one that nobody has ever seen before.” From this desire, ‘YOSHIKUNI’ was born.
Yoshikuni Inoue embodies this new Samurai image with his unique, illusionistic, and adventurous graphics. Inoue transforms Samurai motifs from fixed, stereotyped impressions, into colorful and modern interpretations. Inoue explains, “We expect to face many struggles today’s world. My hope is that this bright Samurai graphic inspires people to encourage themselves and raise their own sprits. I want as many people as possible to feel positive and bright, like these samurai, when wearing it.”
At first glance, the theme of ‘samurai’ can seem far from fashion; to keep their image current, and relatable, Inoue invented a new type of image, one that he calls “Samurai typography.” Inoue creates the shape of a specific character by creatively bending lines of sentences that explain historical events. This time, we introduce Yukimura Sanada, a well-known warrior: refusing to bow to overwhelming power, he fought until the very end of his life.
One of the most-notable features of our clothes is the high-quality cotton fabric. This cotton is knitted using a special process that utilizes rare, traditional ‘Loopwheel’ machines, from a factory with a long history, in Wakayama, Japan: As the machines do not add excessive tension to the yarn while knitting, our clothing turns out thick, yet soft, and fluffy. The more you wash them, the more the texture they show.
When feeling down, when starting something new, or even when having an important meeting - We hope our product can encourage many people as the choice of “Today’s Go-Getter-Outfit” for special occasions.
"Samurai typography" is a technique of expression created by Inoue.
Typography refers to the composition and expression of the arrangement of letters and typefaces. Inoue, who works as a bookbinder designing the typeface and arrangement of characters on the cover and inside of books, created his first work of samurai typography in 2016, inspired by works from overseas. Since then, he has continued to work tirelessly on the project, and his work, which features a samurai in armor, is unparalleled in its novelty.
Inoue, who has revived warlords such as Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Shingen Takeda, has created a new graphic for Yoshikuni, Yukimura Sanada. Sanada is the warlord who sparked Inoue's interest in history when he was in elementary school. He has been called "the best soldier in Japan" in praise of the way he fought through his beliefs without siding with the powerful Tokugawa side.
"Never be swayed by what is long" and "Confront the strong with wisdom and tact, even with little strength. Sanada was the first person that came to my mind as the first person I would choose to convey this kind of dedication, beauty and strength to the modern world. In the future, we will also release products of Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin to further propose a "pop and cheerful history that is easily accepted by people today.
"We want to create colorful and dazzling graphics that breathe life into the soul. That is the dream of the brand.
Our fabrics are knitted at a knit manufacturing factory in Wakayama, which was founded in 1920.
Even in the present age when mass production by high-speed manufacturing machines is the mainstream, skilled craftsmen operate rare "hanging knitting machines" hung from beams to slowly knit high-quality fabrics.
The hanging knitting machine was imported from Switzerland around 1900, but at present, only a few are actually in operation in Japan.
The garment, which spins slowly and is knitted without applying extra force to the yarn, is fluffy and airy.
It is comfortable to wear, feels soft every time you wash it, and has a unique texture.
Designer Yoshikuni Inoue
Became independent as yockdesign in 2009. He has an office in Tokyo.
Since becoming independent, He has been involved in book design for historical genres as a bookbinder, video production for history-related events as a creator, and graphic design for posters.
He has been working on 30 to 40 projects a year, including commercial books, magazines, PR magazines, and other media.
With the creation of Samurai Typography in 2016, he began to design history-related products in earnest.
As his work gradually gained recognition, he began to receive requests to collaborate on producing goods and to sell items at events.
In 2021, he will launch his original brand "Yoshikuni" and begin to introduce samurai typography to the world.
Even if you are not a history buff, I hope that this graphic will inspire even one more person to become interested in samurai and history. For those who are familiar with history, I hope they will enjoy discovering the thoughts and feelings contained in the English message.
We would like to continue creating unique samurai and collaborate with traditional Japanese industries and overseas projects to create new products and values.