Samurai ALOHA works to invigorate Northeastern Japan by selling modern apparel and gifts handmade by local artisans from kimono fabric. Below we'll explain the many pieces that came together to create the Samurai ALOHA brand.
The 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami
On 2011, 3, 11, our home region of Northeastern Japan was hit by an enormous earthquake and tsunami. In the aftermath, searching to find ways to contribute to rebuilding local communities, we came up with an idea to sell works by local artisans.
Inspiration from Hawaii
Japanese immigrants to Hawaii in the late 19th and early 20th century untied their kimonos and made them into open-collared shirts. Eventually, they became known as "aloha shirts." The literal meaning of aloha is "the presence of breath" or "the breath of life." Today, they represent the peaceful, free-spirited, and open-hearted nature of the Hawaiian culture.
Supporting Local Artisans
Eventually, old kimonos reach a point where, rather than repairing them, it makes more sense to re-use their gorgeous fabric for smaller items. Inspired by the origin of aloha shirts and seeking to contribute to communities in Northeastern Japan by employing local artisans, we came up with the idea of using kimono fabric to create beautiful modern apparel and gifts.
The fabric work became ideal for local mothers who could not fit into traditional employment arrangements. It was flexible, could be done at home, and enabled them to contribute to their household income by using their outstanding skills and boundless creativity.
The Meaning Behind the "Samurai ALOHA" Name
We named our brand "Samurai ALOHA" after the unbreakable spirit of the ancient samurai, the brave people of Northeastern Japan who overcame the natural disasters of 2011, and the healing aura of Hawaii.