Japanese Leather craftsmen who produce some of the best quality leather in the world. [Fujitoyo Factory]

This time the Tadaima Japan Editorial team visited the Fujitoyo Factory, which processes exotic leather such as crocodile, python, and lizard; from start to finish.
Tanners who can process crocodile leather are very rare, because the material itself is rare. There are only 20 companies that can handle crocodile leather in the world, and 6 of them are Japanese. Mr. Koichi Fujishiro kindly let us see the inside of the factory, even though the factory is usually not open to the public. We talked about techniques that have been passed down since the beginning of Fujitoyo Factory in 1960, and also about the philosophy behind his work.

※ Tanner:A person who converts animal skin into leather

2018-09-12   Souvenirs, Traditions & History, Tokyo,


1:World class leather is born in downtown Tokyo.
2:The important tanning procedure.
3:The dying procedure is the time when he shows his skills.
4:The finishing process is the time when the real value is proven!
5:The best leather products, which they are proud of!
6:The current craftsmen will keep tradition and create new ideas for the next generation

1:World class leather is born in downtown Tokyo.

We first entered the cellar where the crocodile skin is stored.
They are preserved with salt in containers, because keeping them fresh is important when processing the skin.

To prevent extinction, crocodiles are under conservation by the Washington Convention, so currently 80% of the skins are taken from reared crocodiles.

Crocodile skins preserved with salt

Unlike cowskin and other hides, crocodile skin has a very fine texture.
It is very strong, and its texture gets better with time.
It needs to be processed professionally, and can take at least 3 months through 50 procedures. It takes about 6 times longer than processing cowskin.

2:The important tanning procedure.

The salted crocodile skin is soaked in a special solution, moistened, and the dirt is rinsed off the surface. After that, the skin is transferred to another solution and the extra scales are removed to make the skin softer. \

Checking the salted crocodile skins.

To give it durability, the skin is tanned with either alminium skin tanning or natural skin tanning. In this process, temperature, water tempereature, and climate can affect the performance of the solution, so they take notes each time its used to update the solution. After tanning, the hides turn blue and the skin becomes leather.

The crocodile skin in blue.

After that, the skin is bleached white. At this stage the leather has lost its original patterns and is called “crust”.

Bleached leather

To give the leather texture, a drying procedure is very important.
There are 3 ways to dry the leather out; Tenshioned with rods, Tenshioned with a net, and hanging. Following this procedure, the leather will be dyed.

Tenshioned with rods

3:The dying procedure is the time when he shows his skills.

They put the importance on the difference of temperature and humidity when dying at Fujitoyo Factory. They update the receipe each time according to data they’ve recorded.

Mixing the colors for pure and clean textures.

To make original products, they mix the several different colors to make a deep color.

Mixing the several different colors.
The samples of dyed crocodile leather

4:The finishing process is the time when the real value is proven!

After the dying process, the leather enters the finishing process. There are 2 ways of polishing it; matted polishing and grazed polisihing using Agate.

The crocodile leather with natural textures.
beautifully grazed leathers.
Coloring the leather

This is the leather of Water Monitor. It was dyed with white and then colored with black. The leather was polished by craftsmen and processed per the customer’s request.

The leather is processed for an antique style by polishing.
Craftsmen who are polishing leather very carefully.

There are many kinds of products made from the same crocodile skins through different kinds of processing.

The crocodile leather made per a customer’s request.

For the final touch, the leather is polished with agate stone or cotton and frictional heating is used.

A craftman finishing the final procedure by using a pedal.

The final touch with cotton is really difficult and needs years of training to get it perfect. They have successfully gained a good reputation through their highly qualified skills.

Cotton processed products.

It is said that you need 1 year of everyday training to become a beginner.

The grazed polishing has a different kind of appeal.

The grazed polishing procedure
The grazed polishing procedure

For this leather, another special procedure is done to give it the best quality. The material is sold to world famous apparel brands.

The highest class of crocodile leathers.

5:The best leather products, which they are proud of!

The best leather products, which they are proud of!

They also produces their original unique products by request.

These are sold on their online shop and at malls in Japan under the brand name “FLEDGE”.
Online shop:http://www.fujitoyo.tokyo/(Japanese text only)
Online show room:http://fujitoyo.wix.com/fujitoyo(Japanese text only)

Handmade leather by craftsmen who know everything about leather

6:The current craftsmen will keep tradition and create new ideas for the next generation

They are trying to protect tradition and techniques that have long been passed down, and also trying to accept the new ideas and challenges to answer customer demands.

Seeking the new possibility of leather

They are inventing a new technique to improve customer satisfaction and to improve their performance. They also take care of the environment. They discard the waste water and clean the equipment under guidlines designated by the tourism organization in Tokyo.

We felt that they respect the Washington Convenion and are also passionate towards material by making the best out of it.
We are really impressed by their techniques to respond to customer demands and their passion to create high quality products. We are proud of being Japanese through their attitude towards the traditional work that they do.

【Fujitoyo Factory】
3-17-13, Higashi Sumida, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
http://www.fujitoyo.co.jp/(Japanese text only)

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Hi, I am Koume. I’m originally from Fukuoka and currently living in Tokyo. I have lived in Australia, the Philippines, and Cambodia for several years. Through my life abroad, I have rediscovered the beauty of Japan. I hope my articles will be a helpful resource for both Japanese and foreign visitors.


Address 3-17-13, Higashi Sumida, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Hours -
Price -
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Phone (03)3618-2414
Website http://www.fujitoyo.co.jp/