Future BLUEOVER #04 | From now on
what we should do
The company Baton is a company that makes things. Through Monozukuri, we want to convey the joy of living. Let's make society a little better. The brand that best represents this idea in our company is Blueover. Therefore, the direction this brand is taking will also serve as a guideline for the company going forward.
Up until now, I have spent 10 years working with craftsmen in the shoe industry, and the background of that was Mingei. And there is nothing bright and shining in the future. I'm not at the age where I only talk about ideals, and I think the past 10 years have been for me to learn about that reality. As I wrote in the introduction, I hear many opinions that the reality will become even harsher for Japan in the future. Japan was once known as a manufacturing powerhouse, but the small-scale manufacturing industry that makes up the majority of the country's population is aging, and problems with successors are making it difficult to continue.
What we need to do in such a situation is to continue domestic production. We believe that the term ``homo faber,'' advocated by the French philosopher Bergson, is the very meaning of our activities. Homo Faber, which means craftsman, is defined as a human being by having intelligence, using creativity, and creating tools. As proof that people are still people, we must ensure that the domestic goods that we have continued to connect will not die out. Do not expand, but do not lose. Although we do not have the history of a traditional industry, we would like to maintain the fact that we make shoes domestically as proof that we have continued to make shoes as a shoe company. We will also create a system that will allow us to continue domestic production. Although it is not a large scale, we want to create a sustainable state so that we do not lose it. I think this is also what we should do.
what we want to do
The brand's goal is to translate the value of ``mindless beauty'' found not only in the domestic manufacturing industry but also in folk crafts into products. Its value lies in the energetic imagination that people generate. I believe that this imagination is a very important ``power'' that will support Japan in the future. I would like to define the people who can create this as everyone who is currently expressing themselves.
I'm very happy when someone buys the shoes I designed. However, my current ideal for Blue Over is to become a brand that grows while connecting with people. In this day and age, anyone can become an artist. The benefit of digital technology is that we can connect with the world, and there is now a platform that accepts unlimited ideas and expressions. Anyone can freely participate and share their ideas. A new form of communication is emerging. Gone are the days when only traditional media were given the privilege of reporting. And people's intentions and claims, which seem limitless, expand. And it is reflected before our eyes in the form of words, pictures, music, and all kinds of cultural art. Infinite energy is stored there like magma.
And, just as I was made aware of the art by people with disabilities, I would like to convey the impact I received from the pure heart of people who work with no heart through Blue Over. The main players are all those involved in the creative process. When I am freed from egoism, I hope that Blue Over will become a device that can reach even more people.
We, who are able to make hardware (physical tools), take the creativity of creative activities that we think is wonderful and transform it into sneakers. This is an opportunity to meet many people through Blue Over. I want everyone to be inspired and energized by it. Of course, we are also happy to deliver it, as well as the creators and artists who created it together. It is a state in which they are interconnected and expand. This is something that is commonplace in the digital world, but it is still not being done in the real world. It's simple, but that's what it is. This is what we want to do going forward.
I once again feel that Japan is a special country. Japan, which succeeded in modernizing without following a Western (white)-centered history and religious outlook, increased its national power. Eventually, after World War II, the country became a defeated country and democratization was promoted by the United States. Since then, Japan has achieved remarkable economic growth and great development, but it is said that it is lagging behind in modern society, which has become globalized.
When Japan was able to successfully ride the waves of the times, it was able to grow significantly because the growth vector of society as a whole and Japan's characteristics (in addition, the population was increasing) were well aligned. However, as technology evolved, the means of doing so changed, and it became impossible to go with the flow. Without being able to go with the flow, society continues to transform into the next era.We are entering an unprecedented society in which individuals can connect with each other in a borderless manner, even though there are national boundaries. This means that as we live in the future, we all need to understand each other, not just our own country's culture.
I believe that the discipline of cultural anthropology (ethnology) will be important in the future. Lévi-Strauss , known as the father of structuralism, used the terms ``hot society'' and ``cold society'' as concepts. I think there may be hints for society (SDGs?). I think that evolving culture and civilization through competition and war enriches people's lives. It is an undeniable fact that we too live our lives on the benefits of this (incidentally, this is defined as a "hot society"). However, this evolution continues to bring stress to both the natural environment and humans. I think this structure has already reached its breaking point. From now on, I believe that instead of drastic changes, we need to make cyclical changes in order to continue to maintain our own people (environment).
The social structure created by savages, defined as a "cold society," can be found in the Japanese culture that Lévi-Strauss loved, and it may adapt to the changing direction of society. Isn't there? This Japanese culture includes the values seen in works such as Soetsu Yanagi's ``Mingei Thought'' and Junichiro Tanizaki's ``In Praise of Shadows.'' Rather than the modern Western method of destroying nature and building something new, the Japanese are a people who can skillfully find ways to coexist with nature while destroying it. This can be seen in the customs and beliefs of the Japanese people before modernization. Isn't this kind of rationality inherent in Japanese people? I believe that these values are what society will need in the future.
Coexist with nature and circulate society at a scale that can be continued without unreasonable expansion. That's what I hope society will be like in the future, and that's what we want our brand and company to be like. And the fact that our company is Monozukuri is to prove that people are people, and to incorporate plenty of human will and creativity. We want to work hard as a company that can harness the tremendous energy of the Japanese people in the future, and as a brand that takes advantage of things that can only be done by humans, rather than in the field of AI activities.
It ended up being longer than I expected. I'm not confident in my choice of words, and I think I'm still unsure about my writing, but I decided to finish writing without getting too organized. If you have picked up this booklet and have read this far, you are probably interested in Blue Over. I am truly filled with gratitude. I would be very happy if you could support us while watching over our future activities with warm eyes. We will do our best to make your time more satisfying by getting to know Blue Over (and by wearing it).