TAKASHI & YATSUKO KONDOU:
70 YEARS THE SAME DESIGN
Metal Rice Boxes in Tokyo, Tokyo Prefecture
"Innovations are there to make my life easier."
In Takashi and Yatsuko Kondou's workshop you can literally smell the generations. Grandfather and Father worked already in the little workshop in the middle of Tokyo.
They haven’t changed a single thing here since his grandfather built it.
It is loud, you can hear them pounding, knocking and beating. They work perfectly as a team together, one termites the moves of the other, Takashi is the master of the big boxes, Yatsuko overtakes the small ones. She plays guitar, he loves Beethoven. If they would need a philosophy of work, it would be to not change anything as long as it works.
Our boxes have the same quality, the same process of making, the same design since over 70 years.
The last biggest innovation was to switch from plastic boxes to metal boxes. That was after the 1930s. Since then we might have changed some tools and we got a machine. Innovations are only there to make my life easier, otherwise we don’t need them. Takashi is laughing when he talks about his work. He is satisfied with the products, they are good ones and last a lifetime. He is proud when he showed me the boxes his grandfather made.
The boxes are very thin and light, but rugged, tightly sealed and resistant to rusting.
They are used mostly to keep rice, in three different sizes: 2kg, 4kg, 6kg for singles, families and restaurants. That's it. Already his grandfather had those sizes. Not to change a product is a sign for quality and perfection, explains Takashi, and what for? If its a good product, then people like to use it.
It’s not the same as Beethoven. He was a true artist, I’m just a little craftsmen.
In fact Takashi and Yatsuko are smiling a lot while working. No matter how hard it is, how long the days are going to be, they laugh loud to each other and with each other. There is that impression, that they are truly satisfied with their work and their way of living. Although:
What do you think will your work look like in 20 years?
I don’t know and I don’t care. By then I will be retired, so I will rest and I will sleep a lot, maybe find a hobby.
He laughs again.
Yes. You know, that you have the same hair as he does?
Tokyo, Tokyo Prefecture
Takashi & Yatsuko Kondou