With the introduction by the Kyo-machiya Lease Model Project*, Mobius-trading.jp has its base at a Kyo-machiya townhouse. It is a company which delivers culture, service, and merchandise to the society through the latest technology and marketing system. We have interviewed Mr. Kengo Tanaka, Representative Director & Fellow of the company, about the reason why a Kyo-machiya was selected as its office as well as the way how to utilize it.
*Kyo-machiya Lease Model Project
This is the project where the City of Kyoto leases a Kyo-machiya from its owner and sublease it to any user-enterprise to foster future supporters etc.
Profile of the Kyo-machiya
The Kyo-machiya built in the beginning of the Showa era had been vacant for approximately five years. Since there was some dye left in a small shed of its backyard, the building might have been used as a dyeing factory with a living space. Its owner utilized the Kyo-machiya Lease Model Project of the City of Kyoto, and as the result, the building was renovated to an office-cum-house by the user-company designated firstly by the City of Kyoto, and Mobius-trading.jp occupies it now.
Profile of Mr. Kengo Tanaka
Representative Director and Fellow of Mobius-trading.jp After having graduated from a university, entered Amazon co. jp. In 2015 established GROOVEinc.jp, and in 2021 established Mobius-trading.jp. as a subsidiary company.
A Kyo-machiya of approximately 90-yearold has become an office of IT related company and a house
The Kyo-machiya of over 90-year-old in the area easy to live in, is in the proximity to Mibu area of Nakagyo-ku district, and close to Shijo-Dori Street where many city-bus lines operate. The Kyo-machiya well blended in the town is the office of Mobius-trading.jp. The building, a typical Kyo-machiya, has three rooms in a row which reminds us of “unagi-no-nedoko eel’s bed.”
When the sliding door at the entrance is opened, then there is a stylish space like a cafe: a very comfortable sofa, stylish lamps suspended from the ceiling and casually arranged dried flowers which are all miraculously matching with the Kyo-machiya. Mr. Tanaka spends a half of a month at this Kyo-machiya, and he cherishes its comfortability for living as well as its functionality as an office.
|The townhouse has been renovated for easy-living making the best use of the characters of Kyo-machiya.|
Having a base in Kyoto in order not to forget the essence of monozukuri
Mobius trading.jp moved in this Kyo-machiya in 2021. GROOVEinc.jp, its parent company, is a company which supports monozukuri in Japan specially through EC (Electric Commerce). Mr. Tanaka himself was born in Osaka as a son of a family who owns a long-time established textile-trading company. Since he has felt very close to “monozukuri craftsmanship” from his early childhood, he has a strong desire to “update the Japanese monozukuri” with the potentiality of EC and has been supporting various companies. However, he started to realize that he might lose sight of the true value of monozukuri as well as what is to be handed over to the future, if he continuously manages his business and lives only in Tokyo where the parent company is located. He has established a subsidiary and decided to locate its base in Kyoto where many old establishments and long-time fostered monozukuri craftsmanship exist. He considered it crucial for him to live in Kyoto to seek after the way how to transform and maintain the traditional things.
|Mr. Tanaka talks about his thoughts on Kyo-machiya and monozukuri.|
Encounter with the Kyo-machiya linked to the concepts of the company
When Mr. Tanaka was looking for a place which suits the concept of his company, an acquaintance introduced him to No. 1 user-enterprise of Kyoto City’s “Kyo-machiya Lease Model Project”. Considering that having its base at a Kyo-machiya matches his company’s target “to put its value to actually experience Kyoto,” he decided to move in. He also said, “Since I decided to move in while the user-enterprise was still in the planning stage, I was sure that I could participate in the process to complete its renovation, which was a big part of the reason why I decided on this Kyo-machiya.”
|An atrium utilizing the original beams. The lamps suspended from the ceiling are very impressive.|
The renovation work, keeping the characteristics of Kyo-machiya including earthen walls, beams, ceilings, and earthen-floor, proceeded to make the space comfortable as an office as well as a house, having Mr. Tanaka’s acquaintance licensed-designer joined in the working team. As a result, most of the space on the ground floor has become the office, and that on the 2nd floor for living. Furthermore, in the backyard of the main house, there is a shed, which can be used also as a laboratory for recording/filming.
|The shed in the backyard of the main house|
What can be done specially having its base at a Kyo-machiya
Mr. Tanaka said that time seems to pass very slowly in Kyoto compared to Tokyo. When we asked why, he talked about the episode when the owner of the Kyo-machiya personally delivered and handed him bamboo shoots. Mr. Tanaka said, “If it were in Tokyo, there would be probably no owners to personally deliver any bamboo shoots to their tenants. Even this type of casual communication teaches me that being rational is not always everything, which we easily forget while we are concentrating on our business. While I spend time at the Kyo-machiya, I could realize the importance of small things which are usually merged and lost in the daily life.”
|After its renovation, the original hibukuro vault is kept in the kitchen.|
In fact, Mr. Tanaka originally intended to put more functions as an office to this Kyo-machiya, but it now works more as “a base.” According to him, having a Kyo-machiya as a base makes it easier for him to directly visit places which are rather too far from Tokyo. By visiting the producers and exchanging communications with them, he could establish trustful relationships with them, and his passion “to assist in advertising really good things” could be easily expressed and conveyed to those producers. Additionally, the fact that one lives in a Kyo-machiya itself could be a start point of any new communication and could be a proof that he is interested in monozukuri and traditions. He said, “I consider it interesting to add another Kyo-machiya as an additional base along the development of my business.” We could learn a new business style utilizing a Kyo-machiya; not only to put the office function, but also utilizing it as a base to develop businesses into other regions.
|The view of the main house from the backyard. The sunlight goes into the main house through the large windows.|