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Our own story related to TAKEFU

A missionary of TAKEFU

vol.8 TAKEFU Sales Partner H

今回は、通信販売の会社「プロ・アクティブ」に勤め、TAKEFUの商品をお客様に届けてくださっているHさんにお話をお伺いしました。 快活で、きっぷのいいフランクな雰囲気のあるHさんとは、TAKEFUの商品がまだわずかだった頃から、今も変わらないお付き合いでお世話になっております。 彼女とTAKEFUの繋がりは、TAKEFUの歴史そのものでもありました。

This time, we had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. H, who works at the mail-order company "Pro-Active" and delivers TAKEFU products to customers.

With her cheerful and frank personality, Ms. H has been a constant ally since the time when TAKEFU's product range was still modest.

Her connection with TAKEFU is, in itself, a part of TAKEFU's history.






"When did you first encounter TAKEFU?"

H: "I think it was in 2004. A buyer from a natural food store brought a product to Pro-Active, where I work, saying, 'There's a product that's rather difficult to explain.' That was the beginning. At that time, I believe TAKEFU only had square items like body towels and kitchen cloths. Of course, we tried using them in order to introduce them to our customers, but before that, I met Mr. Soda, the president of TAKEFU. He said something that stuck with me... He said, 'When it comes to manufacturing, our first priority is not to avoid complaints.' Back then, TAKEFU products would shrink, lose their pile, or even get holes if a lively child kicked a blanket, so they were still in the process of improving their durability. But in exchange, they were incredibly gentle and soft — they are still my favorites to this day. Incorporating other fibers would enhance durability and reduce complaints, but he said, 'I only do what can be done with TAKEFU.' That's tough from a business perspective. I was moved by how amazing a creator Mr. Soda is. Do you know the famous story about the glider on the bank of the Arakawa River?"








"I'd love to hear about it."


H: "There were two clear beliefs that President Soda held: 'Not making the absence of complaints the number one priority,' and 'Who are we delivering to?' The glider story is tied to these beliefs. Before he started working with TAKEFU, Mr. Soda was involved in the development of various products. He saw some boys playing with a glider on the banks of the Arakawa River, and there was one girl watching them enviously. When Mr. Soda asked her why she didn't join in, she replied, 'Because it's a boys' game.' Upon hearing that, he decided to make a glider that this girl could enjoy.


So he thought, 'What would be a good idea?' Instead of making it like the fighter planes or aircrafts that were sold at the time, which were very much 'boys' toys,' he thought it would be interesting if sea creatures could fly in the sky, and he wanted to present this to the girl. But he had no way of delivering it to her, as they were complete strangers. He noticed a 7-Eleven near the embankment where lots of children were going in and out. So, he decided to sell the kit he had made to the headquarters of 7-Eleven.


Isn't that incredible (laughs)? Of course, at first, people were skeptical, but by chance, the person in charge happened to pass by, and things quickly progressed from there, and amazingly, they decided to start selling it! After noticing that the product was gradually disappearing from that 7-Eleven, he figured it must have reached the girl. Then, it became a huge hit, and 7-Eleven asked him to place it in various locations outside of the Kanto area, but he allegedly declined with an excuse like 'I have a stomachache.' Wouldn't most people be overjoyed by that kind of proposal? But he felt that since it had reached the girl, that was enough. Upon hearing this story, I realized for the first time that a 'product' is something that embodies the thoughts and prayers, if you will, of its creator. Since TAKEFU is the same, I wanted to properly convey this sentiment. By dealing with TAKEFU, I was allowed to relearn the spirit of commerce."




"That's an incredible story. It feels like the president's two beliefs haven't changed. How did you feel about the products?"

H: "When I first got a TAKEFU towel in my hands, it was soft and squishy, almost creature-like, you know? For example, when I wrap the body towel around myself when I have a headache or stomachache, or place it on my shoulders when I'm nervous, I feel incredibly calm. That's when I realized that this is a 'healing cloth' that just happens to be in the shape of a towel. At that time, I think kitchen cloths were being sold in natural food stores with 'antibacterial properties' as the main feature, but we decided to focus on conveying the 'healing power' of TAKEFU to our customers. In doing our jobs, it's easy to prioritize making things simply convenient, comfortable, delicious, or fun, but what's important is the 'prayer' that is inherent in its birth, if I may put it that way. I had heard the phrase 'at the moment when people suffer the most' from the beginning, so I realized this is something that consoles us - not only physical wounds, but also emotional wounds and weaknesses."







"This becomes a chance for the essential goodness of TAKEFU to be widely known.”


H: "But it shrinks and frays, it was tough at first! That's why we thought we should deliver it not to places managed by large-scale distribution, but to people who would understand it properly. I use it myself and even if it shrinks or frays, I can forgive it because I know Mr. Soda's thoughts, right? I can cherish the feeling of 'Ah, how comfortable this is'. So I thought I had to have people listen to Mr. Soda's story, and I think I was the one who held the first talk in 2005. I started it because I wanted to deliver it to people who could share the fundamental things with me."


"I see! The talk has now spread across the country and become an important method for delivering TAKEFU. The instability of the physical properties is to maintain the gentleness of the product, and deep understanding is necessary, isn't it?"

H: "After a few years of encountering TAKEFU, there was a large mail-order company targeting people in their 50s to 70s, and I thought the readers of that company could potentially need TAKEFU at any time, so I sincerely wanted them to know about TAKEFU and went to do business with them. We made a contract, and it was featured in their catalog. But, it's a big company, so their quality control is extremely strict. By that time, they had started to release items like T-shirts, but unlike now, the length of the sleeves varied slightly. Although it was a product with no problems, Nafa, the manufacturer, shipped it as a finished product, but anything other than 'A grade' by the big company's standards could not be delivered. I was also inspecting each one at Nafa. At Nafa, we sorted out B-grade items from A-grade items by different standards. As I worked like that, piles of A-grade and B-grade items were formed. When Mr. Soda saw that, he got angry, saying, 'I don't remember asking you to go and do business there.' 'There's no such thing as passing or failing, A or B, for the kids I made!' If someone told you that this child is Grade 1 on a report card, wouldn't you dislike it? I felt sorry when I thought about how unbearable he must have felt seeing me separating them in front of him."










”Even if we share the same ambition, there can be misunderstandings. Indeed, there may be people who wouldn't encounter TAKEFU without going through a large corporation, so it's tough."

H: "I can't tell you how many times I've cried and gone home. I'm working so hard, yet! But I also understand the president's feelings, and considering that TAKEFU was able to exist at that point... Recent TAKEFU is already perfect as a product, so just by wearing or using it, you become a fan, right? It's a 'wear it and you'll understand' situation. Its physical properties have also stabilized, and considering all of these points, I think it has made tremendous progress in the last 20 years!"



We want it to reach as many people who need it as possible, but we must not lose the pure goodness of the product.It is clear that both of these two wings are indispensable.

Perhaps the current TAKEFU exists because we have moved forward while balancing and occasionally clashing with each other. Maybe TAKEFU, like the glider, was only delivered to a few people, but thanks to the efforts of people like Ms. H, it was able to reach many people. Now, we've heard about Ms. H's memories as a user of TAKEFU.







H: "Before my father passed away, he was in such poor health that he found even a regular towel blanket heavy. At that time, we had just created the "Jifu blanket" made of three layers of gauze. When I gave it to him, he found it light, warm, and the texture of 100% TAKEFU was good, and he was very relieved. He wore it until he passed away. I think it's wonderful to have TAKEFU for new lives, but I also think it's incredibly fortunate to have it by your side when you're departing this world. My father was one of them. Just the other day, a customer told me that their grandchild was born with congenital heart disease and was only expected to live for half a year. Despite this, they took great care of the baby, wrapping it in TAKEFU among other things, and the baby managed to live until the age of two. The child was always surrounded by a TAKEFU towel, like Linus's blanket. They told me that they put the towel, which the child truly loved, into the coffin, so they think the child could depart in peace. When I receive letters like this, I feel maybe we've managed to convey Mr. Soda's thoughts properly."

"Indeed, it's been used exactly "when people are in the most pain and suffering." The watch cap is also often used by people who are recuperating, isn't it?"

H: "Yes, one of my customers once said, 'I have to wear a wig because of chemotherapy, but it's really comfortable when I have the Baby Soft on the inside.' I thought this was definitely a path for TAKEFU, and I introduced her to Mr. Soda. This was maybe 15 or 16 years ago? It was quite difficult at the time, but Mr. Soda always thought it was necessary, and finally, we managed to make it. I'm really glad we did."
















H: "Is my pressure too strong? (laughs)"

”No, not at all. While there are those who can actively live and put into action what they feel needs to be done, I think there are not so many. What drives you?”

H: "I think it's wrong to keep good things I've learned to myself. The definition of "good" is based on my own axis, so I don't know how it is for others. But I think it's wrong to monopolize something that I find wonderful. Maybe it's because of my line of work? In my report card, it often said, 'Bright and active,' or 'Talks a lot,' so maybe it's a personality trait I've had since I was little (laughs). But this isn't something extraordinary, it's just very simple, and although it feels odd to say this about myself, I'm just honest. Rather than being aggressive, I might just be straightforward. When I don't get the point, I become incredibly quiet. It's very obvious. If I say things like 'That's good' out of social obligations, it gives me away, so I try not to say it (laughs)."


"So you have a knack for energy allocation (laughs). Given that, we can probably trust your recommendations. Do you have any standards for what you consider 'good'?"

H: "I've learned how important it is to have things that aren't just about material value, but things that seem to exude a life force. Because I was healthy and carefree, I didn't realize how good natural things were until I got older. As I saw off my father, saw my children grow up and my grandchildren were born, I started to feel things like life and death. When that happens, you start to like the essential things. It's all about getting older, really (laughs). Also, don't you want to be with people who value the essence in life? I want to be connected with them. The work I've put effort into outside of TAKEFU also has this in common."


"Listening to your story, I feel that the current TAKEFU exists because there is a president who stubbornly and purely protects the quality of the products, and you, H, who respect that while dedicating yourself to the work of "delivering" in a practical sense. And all of that through a process of mutual refinement."

H: "Stubbornness can move even rocks... well, not exactly, but it's because President Soda has a single-minded belief that this is necessary for the Earth, that we've come this far. Developers need to be at least as stubborn to make it work."











"You really need to fully believe in what you create, don't you?”

H: "Absolutely. You know how bamboo has delicate leaves that sway in the wind, but the core is firm. When I look at Mr. Soda, I think he embodies both. His prayer becomes the product, so there needs to be someone to deliver it, and someone to pass on that baton. Plus, in Mr. Aida's process of creating things, from planting bamboo to harvesting it, turning it into fabric, making clothes, and selling them, he's been considering from the start that no one should be exploited, no one should be hurt in that whole cycle. Isn't that something that's hard to do in today's world? Isn't it weird that jeans can be sold for 1,000 yen? He's thinking about doing important things while making sure that everyone can make a living. So, no matter how good something is, I don't think it can continue as a volunteer effort. I believe there is meaning in it being a viable business."


―Lastly, is there anything you hope for in the future of TAKEFU?

H: "I hope it can be used without hesitation in medical settings and by people who are really in need. In elder care, childbirth, and of course during illness, it would be great if it could spread in a way that makes it easy to get hold of. It would be great if something you used casually turned out to be TAKEFU! And personally, I'll put in my will that I want to be wrapped in TAKEFU when I die! I think I'll have a gauze pajama and an early towel blanket on me."

このインタビュー中、社長やお客様やご家族など、ご自身以上に周りの方のお話を多くお聞きしました。 Hさん自身は快活で輝いていて、どちらかと言えば強い主人公のように見えるのですが、いつも周りを想って、そこに幸せを感じる優しさと余裕のある方なのかなと感じます。 


そして素直で嘘が苦手だというHさん。 商品を購入する消費者側からしてみると、これ以上に“オススメ”をお聞きしたくなる方はいませんよね。 

開発者がいれば、モノづくりをする人がいて、そしてそれをお客様に“届ける”プロがいる。 TAKEFUはそうやって別方向の色々な力があってここまで歩んできたことを実感しました。その過程の中には衝突や、大変なことも少なくなかったかと思いますが、そんな思い出も笑顔でスラスラ語るHさんはかっこよかったです。 





During this interview, we heard a lot about people around Ms. H, such as the president of TAKEFU, Soda, customers, and her family, more than about herself. Ms. H, comes across as cheerful and radiant, almost like a strong protagonist, but I get the feeling that she's someone who is always thinking of others and finds happiness in that, showing a kindness and abundance of heart. And Ms. H, who is honest and has a hard time with lies.

There are developers, there are people who make things, and there are professionals who "deliver" them to customers. I realized that TAKEFU has come this far because it has various strengths pulling in different directions.


I imagine that the process wasn't without its conflicts and difficulties, but it's impressive how Ms. H speaks about such memories with a smile and fluency. No matter how good a product is, it's meaningless unless it's actually used. 



ナファ生活研究所直営店 Shop of TAKEFU "eau" 勤務。趣味は宝塚観劇、旅行、食事、ラジオなど。 好きな季節は夏。最近は友達とマーダーミステリーというゲームをやる時間が楽しい。


Interviewer  Mi

Born in 1992. Works at the TAKEFU shop "eau". Hobbies include watching Takarazuka Revue shows, traveling, and dining out. Recently,  enjoy time playing a game called "Murder Mystery" among friends. Favorite TAKEFU products include Soft Fit Inner, Spats, and Bath Towels.

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