In order to nurture local industry, propel industry’s revitalization, and drive sustainable industry growth, Taiwan Design Center (TDC) has invited a consulting team from Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten, a well-known select shop that specializes in revitalizing traditional crafts, to Taiwan to manage their first ever Taiwan-based project. With years of experience reinvigorating local economies and production, Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten will help propel Taiwan’s local and regional businesses toward a brighter future.

Under the leadership of the Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs — that has long been focused on stimulating local economies and developing local specialties — TDC invited a Japanese professional team to strengthen creative industries on the local level. This initiative will revive local businesses’ traditional craftsmanship, not only sustaining operations of the original business, but also igniting a spillover effect into other industries. Over the next year, the two teams will work together to choose a representative industry that highlights each region’s specialties, while also offering consulting and guidance in stages in order to develop interdisciplinary industries such as design, culture, and technology — gradually solidifying the network and capabilities of local industries, and driving tourism and economic development.

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All industries involved in the project will not only be able to rely on traditional expertise to sustain their business, but will also have an opportunity to bridge the gap between sellers and customers by displaying their products at the Dainippon-ichi Expo. As the first time Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten has offered its traditional consulting services internationally — and the first time the Dainipponichi Expo has opened outside of Japan — this project is decidedly more than just an initiative undertaken by TDC to develop local innovation.

Founded over 300 years ago in Nawa, Japan, Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten began as a small-scale industry, slowly working to redefine the perception of Japanese hand-crafted products. Since then, they have helped revitalize 20 different brands from all over Japan through their consulting services. Unlike conventional business consulting services that start by asking the best way to “develop and sell products”, Nakagawa Masaschichi Shoten begins by building the brand, including operations, manufacturing, marketing and communications.

Jun Nakagawa, the chairman, believes that traditional industries are all about building the brand. A successful brand doesn’t just sell charming products wrapped in attractive packaging; it has a clear message that it wants to send to consumers. Businesses like HASAMI, originating from the region traditionally renowned for its exquisite porcelain, or the blacksmith Hocho Kobo Tadafusa rejuvenated their businesses by first consolidating their intrinsic brand, while also assessing their existing business model and making adjustments to existing products according to market demands. By drawing on skills that are deeply rooted in local tradition and culture, these local businesses have used the power of brand to find a strong hold in the market — and also strengthen cohesion within the region.Chinese English Translator Native English Speaker

Under the leadership of the 14th president Sengoku Aya — the first president with no familial ties to the company — this year marks the first international partnership, and is also the first time the Dainippon-ichi EXPO will be displayed at 2019 Creative Expo Taiwan. 18 regional brands from Japan will be presenting Japanese handcrafted products and memorabilia at the exhibition, artisan workshops, and courses — welcoming the world to learn with them.

In 2019, Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten wandered beyond Japan for the first time, making its first landing in Taiwan. It will inject new life and energy into handmade artisan crafts from all different places across Taiwan. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see how Taiwanese industries will take bloom!

This article was originally published on the Taiwan Design Center website, in English and Chinese.

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