Nanbu Houki – Wa-Youhuku broom



“What, in the name of all that’s wonderful, is this? The fabric of my coat has restored more beautifully than before. This is better than with the Kent brush!” I raised my voice when I brushed the dust off my coat using the brush called “Nanbu Houki” (the product name: Wa-Youhuku broom).
You should not forget brushing your clothes every day to keep its fabric clean and beautiful. My science teacher from high-school often said, “What is the worst is to bring your clothing in dry cleaners on the street and let them wash it.” He meant the damage mechanism caused by chemical reaction between natural wool and dry-cleaning solution. Since then, I have never forgotten to brush my suits, jackets, trousers, and coats, using the Kent clothes brush made in England.
Wearing a cashmere coat made by PIACENZA, I visited the Mitsukoshi department store on December, 2013. The cashmere produced by Italian company, PIACENZA, attracts customers with its fine texture whose surface is carefully raised by thistle fruit, which is a guaranteed artisan skill. The fabric is shiny and the coat made with it is light and warm. As I fully understand these facts, I have been carefully treating my cashmere coat by myself using Kent brush and never asked dry cleaners to do the job.
They held the special sales event called “Master craftsmanship of Japan―TAKUMI no WAZA” on that day. Then I met Nanbu Houki produced by Takakura Kougei, a crafts shop in Japan. A masterpiece can capture customers’ eyes easily on instinct. Nanbu Houki is rather undistinguished piece of display among the selected works produced by first-class craftsmen from all over Japan. However, it still attracted me. The broom is simple and modest bringing a nostalgic air of Japan.
The products of Nanbu Houki can be roughly classified into four types:
Ko-bouki (“Small broom”);
Use for sweeping up Tatami, wooden floor, and carpets. Handle length: Short. 20,000 – 150,000 (JPY) / tax excluded,
Tomoe Houki (“Middle broom”);
Use for sweeping up Tatami, wooden floor, and carpets. Handle length: Middle. 15,000 (JPY) / tax excluded,
Naga-bouki (“Long broom”);
Use for sweeping up Tatami, wooden floor, and carpets. Handle length: long. 10,000 – 500,000 (JPY) / tax excluded,
Wa-Youhuku broom (“Clothes brush”);
Use for brushing clothing or Kimono as well as desk surface. 15,000 – 200,000 (JPY) / tax excluded.
I picked up the one called Wa-Youhuku broom, a brush for clothing care. My PIACENZA cashmere coat had just brushed up on the evening before that day. Mr Kiyokatsu Takakura was standing by me giving a smile, but said nothing even Hello. Instead, he just brushed off the sleeve of my coat. It was not really the action called bushing, but just strokes he ran through gently on my sleeve with Wa-Youhuku broom. Then, I just oohed and aahed, “Wow! Really!?” “How is it?” Mr. Takura said just shortly.
It was enough to understand the value of the product only with this short conversation. The sleeve of my coat has shown the vivid navy-blue color like in the brand-new. Most of all, the texture became very smooth and I could not help touching it. Before making any compliment, I abruptly said, “I had just brushed off the coat last evening with Kent brush”. Mr. Takakura just replied, “Well, but dusts still remained. I just took off them at the micro level”.
The Wa-Youhuku broom I picked up was 25,000 yen. I did not have enough money to buy it. I could pay by the credit card, but still the next payment for my manuscript should be allocated to the living cost. “Let me think about it later”. I gave up and did not buy the brush. I could not leave the Nanbu Houki off from my Must-Buy list for six months since that day. I have just kept saving money until June, 2015 when Nanbu Houki was again on display at “Master craftsmanship of Japan―TAKUMI no WAZA” in Mitsukoshi department store.



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