IWASAKI SIKI「GUNKAMI NO.8」
Business operator: Iwasaki Siki Co., Ltd.
Project manager: Daiki Iwasaki
GUNKAMI NO. 8 bags are made from paper. Created by a haribako (paper box) manufacturer founded more than 60 years ago, they possess outstanding durability and water resistance. In September 2018, these bags were showcased at an exhibition in France and earned high acclaim for convenience and excellent design as well as for using environmentally friendly paper. These bags currently line shelves at shops in the renowned La Malais district, the center of Paris fashion. Conceived by Iwasaki Siki Co., Ltd., a unique, long-established paper shop, GUNKAMI NO. 8 features a gentle feel thanks to the application of special vinyl coating to craft paper. The bags utilize cushion materials between the paper stock for extra thickness to realize a snug handheld fit. The sheen of the bags increases with use and the feel of the paper becomes more refined as it ages. GUNKAMI NO. 8 is one line within DOMESTIC MAIL, the second round in a series of new paper products proposed by Iwasaki Siki. The bags are available in more than 20 variations, including tote bags and pouch bags. Situated in the renowned ceramic production region of Hasami-cho, Nagasaki Prefecture, Iwasaki Siki is a long-established shop that continues to manufacture packing boxes for ceramics. Since taking over as third-generation president, Daiki Iwasaki has also applied the long-cultivated box manufacturing technologies and diverse knowledge and features of paper to the manufacture of paper interior products and bags.
Realizing astonishing strength through sewing methods and selection of paper materials
Bags are available in a wide variety: “paper-light” tote bags (pictured) and A4-size bags that can also be used as PC cases. During product creation, Iwasaki Siki focused on strength to ensure the bags can hold a large volume of items. The durability of the bags, which was achieved through trial and error covering paper material selection and seam sewing, prevents tearing even when the bags are forcibly turned inside out.
Lightweight, strong craft paper selected by professionals in paper
The base paper used for the bags is a type of craft paper. Rendering water resistance and durability of this craft paper was based on extensive experience of more than 60 years. The craft paper is optimal for creating lightweight and extremely durable bags. The tote bags offer a diversity of uses, such as amenity bags, and enable items to be gathered in a compact manner.
Creating bags starts from a precise product drawing
The ability to create a product drawing is essential in product development for various types of paper bags. The company has programmers for its CAD systems. Based on accurate drawings (i.e., product blueprints), the company also creates custom-made products in variable shapes such as hearts and circles that are ordinarily difficult to produce. Giving detailed consideration to sufficient margins when folding, the company continually strives to create easier-to-use bags.
Excellent water resistance realized via flexible ideas
Vinyl coating is applied to the surfaces of the bags, which produces a beautiful gloss while alleviating worries about water resistance. The bags have already demonstrated the ability to repel water droplets and withstand heavy downpours. Reliable sewing that makes it difficult for water to penetrate the bags is also another appealing feature.
Daiki Iwasaki serves as president and representative director of Iwasaki Siki. Since childhood, he continually received training under his predecessors and today he proactively develops products as the third-generation president. Iwasaki also holds the title of “package creator” and undertakes highly flexible product creation utilizing a CAD system. In addition to custom-made haribako, he also develops new brands of bags, interior and other products made from paper.
Iwasaki Siki President Daiki Iwasaki explains, “We have been creating paper packages for many years. Now we are shifting our focus toward creating diverse paper products. We continually strive to develop new products leveraging the technologies passed down from our predecessors. The idea came when we created interior products. We figured it might be interesting to create fashion items and this led to the development of these bags.”
Iwasaki says that lightness unique to paper and the durability and water resistance of the bags are a source of pride. Iwasaki Siki’s strength lies in its ability to offer an abundant product lineup through careful processing focused on handwork and its precise drawings using CAD systems. In securing sales channels, the company is welcoming the distributors it met at a Tokyo exhibition as its partners to strengthen distribution.
The company has chosen France, a country always eager to introduce “new things,” as its entryway into Europe. Iwasaki Siki believes this is an ideal market for its first attempt at entering overseas markets because it is moderately sized so the company can sufficiently supply the market within the scope of its production capacity.
The company has already participated in an exhibition in France and its paper bags are being sold in the La Malais district of Paris.
With ever-rising enthusiasm, Iwasaki says, “I’d like to propose products such as wrapping cloth-type bags as well as bags with Japanese designs that further promote the good qualities of Japan.”
Integrated production encompassing die-cutting with presses and foil stamping are performed at the head office plant. Since its founding, Iwasaki Siki has continually insisted on handwork and proposes optimal packages tailored to the demands of customers. Additionally, the company provides customized paper packages. They can handle not only simple rectangular shapes but also variably shaped boxes such as clock, piano and other shapes. As such, the company also receives requests for products as objet d’art because of the beauty of their appearance.
Iwasaki Siki is situated in Hasami-cho, Nagasaki Prefecture, in Kyushu. The town is known as a production region for ceramic ware and its famous Hasami ware has been produced here for over 400 years. Similarly, packaging manufacturers such as Iwasaki Siki have achieved major growth. Yakimono Park is a popular sightseeing spot with a hilltop overlooking superb views, shops selling Hasami ware and facilities for experiencing pottery.
Iwasaki Siki Co., Ltd. is a comprehensive manufacturer of paper packages. Since its founding in 1960, the company has emphasized in-house integrated production starting from receiving orders to making proposals. Each and every product is finished carefully by hand. In addition to ongoing production of packaging boxes for Hasami-cho’s specialty products and ceramics, the company is currently leveraging its flexible proposal capabilities for creating customized paper packages. The company sells its products mainly at shops in the Kanto region and online.
Tanokashirago, Hasami-cho, Higashisonogi-gun, Nagasaki