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HIRO YANAGIMACHI Shoemaking Philosophy

What is important is what comes before and
after the shoe is made

What determines whether you can make beautiful shoes is not your hands or fingers
but the spirit that guides your hands and fingers.
And the thing that supports this spirit is the feeling the customer will have for the shoes.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.
Remember that the things that make a shoe truly shine are what comes before it is made
and what comes after it is made.

Put in the time, spare no effort,
progress step-by-step

Results are nothing more than a fragment of the overall process
and following the correct process is what will lead to the skills you seek.
Results that do not come from such a process are nothing more than
an imitation of others’ methods or a fortunate coincidence, so to speak.
Do not look for easy results – put in the time, spare no effort, progress step-by-step.
There is no other way to understand what you do not understand
or to make possible what was previously not possible.

Through shoemaking, improve yourself,
create beauty, and connect to others

The purpose of shoemaking is to improve yourself,
create beauty, and above all, connect to others – that is,
to bring satisfaction to people who value shoemaking.
Beautiful, comfortable shoes, and the knowledge and skills needed to produce them
are nothing more than the means to achieve this connection.
You must avoid being overly concerned with knowledge or skills
that lead you to create shoes appealing only to yourself.

Approach the matter with utmost sincerity
and overcome that which is still unknown

When results do not go as expected
this shows that there are things you still do not know.
On the other hand, results that seem to be good can mask these important realizations.
Opportunities to deepen your knowledge
and improve your skills arise precisely when results do not go as expected.
Face your problems head on, spend time and persevere to solve them;
this process itself is what will improve your skills.

Do not hoard your knowledge and skills,
share them with those around you

Most of what you know about shoemaking has been handed down by your predecessors
and what you have acquired beyond this is very little.
You should not be overly concerned about the little knowledge and skills you possess
or be reluctant to share these with others.
By doing so what is unclear will become clear, what is new will become old
and you will be able to advance further.

Preserve tradition, break from tradition,
create a new way of shoemaking

Without understanding the traditional skills and knowledge of shoemaking
and the underlying essence of what you have inherited
you cannot create anything that will surpass this.
At the same time by simply preserving tradition
you cannot create something that will meet the demands of changing times.
The aim is to inherit tradition, apply it to your work,
then break the mold and create your own new way of shoemaking.
To do this you must apply continuous effort.