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News Releases 2008

"Stores for Families who Love Tatami" Campaign Commences, Establishing Nationwide Tatami Mat Store Network
KURALON K-Ⅱ Synthetic Fiber Used in Thin Tatami Mat Sewing Fiber, Kuraray's Tent Series Used for Store Tents

December 22, 2008
Tokura Tec. Co., Ltd.
Kuraray Co., Ltd.

In cooperation with Kuraray Co., Ltd., Tokura Tec Co., Ltd., (Headquarters: Kurashiki City; President: Shinichiro Tokura), which manufactures and sells tatami production machinery, will commence the "Stores for Families who Love Tatami" campaign. This campaign features a registered character design, as well as the creation of retail outlet (tents with front awnings, vertical banners, curtains) and vehicle (truck covers and magnets) decorations and novelties (stickers and advertising designs). These will be distributed to tatami dealers and stores nationwide in an effort to establish the "Stores for Families who Love Tatami" retail network. At the same time, promoting the benefits of tatami will progressively emphasize the positive features of the tatami market.

Kuraray has supplied KURALON fiber for use in tatami mats since first entering the market over 50 years ago. Subsequently, high-strength spinning fiber—part of the KURALON K-Ⅱ* series—was developed and is being supplied as a raw material in response to ongoing market trends toward thinner tatami mats. Because the current "Stores for Families who Love Tatami" nationwide campaign will also target thinner tatami mats, Tokura Tec will sell tatami mats by purchasing this thin tatami mat spinning fiber from tatami fiber manufacturers. In addition, Kuraray's tent series* will be used to help showcase "Stores for Families who Love Tatami" campaign store and vehicle decorations.

An inherent part of Japanese traditional culture, tatami has been an indispensable part of daily life in Japan since ancient times. Yet, such factors as the recent rise in popularity of Western-style buildings among the younger generation led to a shift from tatami mats to carpets and flooring, as well as a decrease in Japanese-style rooms. These factors had brought about a contraction in the market for what was once a positive feature of Japan's residential living space culture. However, tatami has made a steady comeback in recent years following a reexamination of its use in condominiums and other dwellings.

In keeping with the times, there has also been a shift from tatami mats hand made by craftsmen to those that can be produced efficiently and inexpensively by machine. Through the development of the "Stores for Families who Love Tatami" campaign, in cooperation with Kuraray, tatami production machinery manufacturer Tokura Tec will promote this machinery at tatami mat stores nationwide, with the aim of restoring and expanding the market for tatami as well as contributing to the resurgence of this quintessentially Japanese tradition.

"Stores for Families who Love Tatami" Campaign Targets: Number of Stores, Tatami Production Machinery Sales

Target number of stores First fiscal year: 20 stores
After three years: 80 stores
Sales target First fiscal year: ¥60 million
After three years: ¥240 million

* KURALON K-Ⅱ

  • 1. A generic term for a series of fibers and textiles that feature high-strength and low temperature water solubility from the use of manmade fibers made from polyvinyl alcohol (Poval). Tatami fiber for use in thin tatami mats is made from KURALON K-Ⅱ series high-strength, low-elongation spinning fibers.
  • 2. Compared with the characteristics of standard tatami fiber, KURALON K-Ⅱ features: 1. High strength at half the thickness; 2. Strong knotting and abrasion resistance; 3. Compatibility with fine needles used in producing thin tatami; 4. Reverse stitching with minimal seems at tatami mat edges; 5. Minimal stitching shrinkage due to low elongation; 6. Cream colors—in appreciation of modern tatami placement—that blend well in bright rooms and with light-colored tatami mat edges.
  • 3. Property Data
      Thickness Strength Degree of elongation at breakage
    KURALON K-Ⅱ tatami fiber 590dtex/3 144N 6.2%
    Standard tatami fiber 1220dtex/3 245N 11.5%

Kuraray's Tent Series

  • 1. Processed PVC is stitched into woven materials through a high-strength, industrial-use polyester filament fiber.
  • 2. Cutting harmful ultraviolet rays and blocking sunlight, this tent series can reduce summer cooling expenses by two thirds

Overview of Tokura Tec Co., Ltd.

1. Headquarters 45-1 Shijuse, Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture
2. President Shinichiro Tokura
3. Capital ¥12 million
4. Number of employees Approximately 50
5. Principal business Manufacture and sale of tatami production machinery