Kakuta’s scissors move across a luxurious Italian cloth smoothly with a brisk sound as if it were sliding across the cloth. There is no hesitation in the movements of this skilled tailor's hands. From making measurements to drawing the sketches, cutting, fitting, and making the finishing touches, he handles everything himself. In an effort to create a beautiful silhouette as well as comfortable clothes, he gets an accurate idea of the customer’s physical features and uses his ingenuity by paying attention to detail.

 

In pursuit of becoming a genuine tailor, Kakuta moved to Tokyo from Fukushima; it was as if he was running away from home. After being trained at a dressmaking shop in Ginza, he graduated from a clothing vocational school. He also worked a job while attending school. He was particular about standing on his own feet without relying on anyone. When he was 25, he opened a shop in Shinjuku (Tokyo) then moved his shop to Nishi-Nippori, through personal ties. He still thanks his wife for preparing all the meals and says that the five people in their family along with the artisans could not have all lived together had it not been for his wife.

 

Wanting to serve the community, he began working as a volunteer probation officer starting in his late fifties. For twenty years, he has continued this tough job, which provides no pay. His secret to maintaining such a flexible body is the radio taiso (radio gymnastic exercises start at 6:30 A.M. everyday) which he has continued for many years. He does the exercises daily, unless it rains. It is his friendly personality that allows for lively conversation with his friends, who have gathered early in the morning for the exercises.

 

Kakuta is certified as a Level 1 Skilled Worker for sewing and continues to exhibit his work in events held in Arakawa City as well as the Tokyo metropolitan area. He says with a smile that his dream is to sew the clothes that his great-grandchildren will wear on Coming-of-Age Day. For this earnest tailor, who is full of responsibility and dreams, there is no dream that he can’t achieve.

Tsugue Kakuta

Tsugue Kakuta was born in Ishikawa-machi, Fukushima in 1929. He is the former director of the Tokyo Commerce and Industry Cooperative for Clothing; vice-president of the Arakawa City Radio Taiso Renmei (Radio Gymnastic Exercises Federation), and head facilitator of the Family Ethics Association, Mikawashima, Arakawa City Branch Office. Kakuta is publicly certified as a Level 1 Skilled Worker; Arakawa Meister; Tokyo Meister, and Zengiren (National Federation of Skilled Workers) Meister.

Cooperation: Arakawa Ward Office

Translation: Media Research, Inc.

Spirit and Spine
‘Kitohone’

created by
THE SPIRIT AND SPINE
CREATIVE FORCE,Tokyo

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
photography
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
site design
ISUKE INC. and ICA
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)