OPEN FOR BUSINESS
For Dan Sakurai, grandson of Fukushima Senkou’s original founder, participating in the event was a no-brainer. The small, family-run business, which employs a staff of 10, has been promoting environmentally responsible yarns since 1949 and it’s not about to stop now. “[We are] rebuilding the economy together,” he tells Ecouterre.
The mill survived the destruction with only minor damage, but tsunami all but flattened the farms that supplied the plants for its dyes.
Although the mill survived the destruction with only minor damage, the tsunami all but flattened the surrounding farms that supplied the feedstock for its plant-based dyes. With the company’s production capacity halved and its lead time doubled, Sakurai feels the effects of the disaster keenly.
A selection of burnt yellow and sienna wool swatches, dyed using persimmon and mulberry leaves before the March events occurred, now serves as a relic of the past. But despite the setbacks, Sakurai is determined to press on. In the interim, the company is relying on farms in the neighboring prefecture of Yamagata to provide leaves for its dyes. Besides keeping up the latest technology, Fukushima Senkou is also collaborating with like-minded businesses. Good relationships, Sakurai says, are key to maintaining smooth operations.
Japan has every reason to support ecologically minded companies like Fukushima Senkou. As the Fukushima nuclear meltdown demonstrated, for a country so compact, even minor catastrophes are felt on every level. This fact isn’t lost on Japanese officials, of course; a little bird told us that the next event will revolve around sustainability.
Special thanks to John Patrick of Organic.