[Shokodo] Phiten “Ken” Series #8800 Bushu Aizome Hakama
AQUA-TITANIUM®, Phiten’s most prevalently used AQUA-METAL, is utilized as a dye-like material and permeated into the fibres of Phiten fabric products becoming a component of the finished product.
Titanium is a hypoallergenic and biocompatible metal widely used in medical devices known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Learn more about Phiten on their USA website: https://www.phitenusa.com/
Material: Phiten technology located at the lower back
*This product does not come in a set. If you need a pair (left and right), please purchase two separate pieces.*
French National Team
Phiten's AQUA-TITANIUM® is located in the silver fabric covering the shoulder area. While AQUA-TITANIUM® is sweat and waterproof, repeated washing may cause damage to the material.
* Shrinking and discolouration free
* Please avoid using the washing machine when possible
* Actual product may differ colour slightly
This product will be shipped directly from the manufacturer. Please note that it may take 1 to 2 months for your order to arrive if we do not have enough inventory in stock.
Phiten X Shokodo Collaboration
ーPlease give me a brief history of Shokodo
Matsumoto: It all started with my grandfather, he was a worker under Shokodo but eventually took over. I’m the third generation running this business.
―Did he inherit it as a family business?
Matsumoto: That’s correct. My grandfather was a Meiji man. He ended up marrying the boss’ daughter and took over the business for him.
Development of Phiten Products
―Please tell me more about your collaboration with Phiten
I had always been a fan of Phiten. I think the best part about the company is that they only depend on word of mouth to advertise their products. Many top athletes use their products, not because endorsements, but simply because they want to. I have deep respect for a company like this.
―How are the feedback for Phiten’s kendo gi?
Matsumoto: It performs well even during long hours of keiko. We’ve also been told that no compromises have been made to the user’s body movements, especially in the arms. An iaido sensei once told me that when wearing our gi, “Juban”, his arms just seem to reach out on its own naturally.
―I see that these gi are used in iaido as well
Matsumoto: Many iaido practitioners wear our “Juban” gi in addition to our knee supporter even though it was originally developed for kendo. A managing director from the kendo federation also once said to me, “I don’t particularly feel any differences, but for some reason I keep wearing this gi.” I replied humorously to him by saying, “Sensei, isn’t that in itself a sign that our gi is special?”
―He’s stubborn (chuckles)。
Matsumoto: ”No wonder I always end up wearing it.” he said. It’s no surprise, as this is a product we spent two years perfecting.
―I heard that it was a process that took many trials and errors
Matsumoto: Most synthetic gi becomes sticky and uncomfortable once the user starts to sweat in it. This destroys our main purpose for making this gi, so we experimented extensively in order to solve this problem. In order to deliver superior quality, comfort, and aesthetics, we used genuine aizome for the dye for this line.
―Please tell me more about the processes that went on during the two years of development. What was the trial and error process like?
Matsumoto: We’ve tested our products over and over again on customers who go through long hours of keiko on a daily basis. In return, they give us valuable feedback. As a side note, the aesthetics of our gi was very important to us, and that’s why we settled with silver.
―There was a lot of time and hard work put into this product to ensure its performance. What was the story behind Phiten’s collaboration with Shokodo?
Matsumoto: You could call it pure chance. I was suffering from some neck problems a while back when I stumbled upon Phiten, the rest is history. Phiten’s headquarter is based in Kyoto, so they appear at Kyoto taikai every year. They started selling their products at the venue around 4 years ago.
Advantage to Phiten
―2 years is a rather long time to develop a product. Was it hard integrating your technology to suit the needs of kendo?
Yoshimune: It definitely took time to develop a product specialized for kendo. Our company had the materials, we even have many supports already in production, but they weren’t “kendo” supporters per say. It’s part of our company’s philosophy to make a product specialized for every sport. We work long and hard with our collaborators to bring out the products that suit our customer’s needs.
―How long have Phiten and Shokodo been in collaboration?
Yoshimune: Around 4 years
―How have the sales compared up until now?
Yoshimune: Up until recently we were completely unknown to the kendo community; however, after developing products such as gi, hakama, and kendo supporters, our name started to spread little by little. We’ve been setting up our booths every year at the Kyoto taikai and there were many customers who paid us a visit last year as well. Naturally, the more our name becomes known the more products we sell.
Yoshimune: The kendo gi shown below is infused with Phiten’s AQUA-TITANIUM® technology.
―Is it the silver part?
Yoshimune: That’s correct. To explain it simply, the part of the body that lies at the center a strip of sports tape gets the most alleviation. Wearing this gi is the same as sticking sports tape all over your body, that’s the effect of AQUA-TITANIUM®. The larger the surface area that comes into contact with AQUA-TITANIUM®, the more prominent the results. Customers can probably feel the effect of this gi immediately. We’ve left Shokodo to choose the texture, weight, and materials.
―In other words, you consulted Shokodo, a budo specialist, to provided you with additional kendo knowledge.
Yoshimune: Our company develops products for every sport, we weren’t specialized in kendo or iaido to begin with. By worked closely with Shokodo, we have been provided with invaluable advice, experience, and feedback from their customers. We will continue working with Shokodo tirelessly in order to bring out products that will benefit kendoka everywhere.
ーThank you for the interview today.