Habuton birth story
The beginnings of feather research and rockfish
The Iwata Feather Research Institute is located in the eastern part of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, in the Koto region, which has a peaceful rural landscape.
The imported feathers are inspected here. At Iwata, the feathers that have been refined locally are inspected more closely and then applied with our own unique technology to create cleaner, higher-quality feathers.
However, this purification has not always been possible.
Iwata was founded in 1830, over 180 years ago. It all started when we opened a store on Sanjo Street in Kyoto as [Iwata Fudanten].
The third generation, Ichibei Iwata, learned that feather quilts were being used in Europe and thought that ``feathers might be the next material after cotton.''
Ichibei is a pioneer in down comforters in Japan, having started researching feathers in the Taisho era, but at that time, the technology for cleaning feathers was inadequate and the products had various problems.
The insatiable spirit of inquiry between parent and child
At the time, feather comforters were made from washed feathers, dried, covered with washi paper, and then sewn from silk fabric, so there was a limit to the number of feathers produced. However, Ichibei fell in love with the heat-retaining power and light weight of feather futons, and became obsessed with developing a manufacturing method that would make them higher quality and easier to produce. Ichibei's son, Takuzo, talked about that time as follows:
“When I was six years old, I remember my father adding powder and chemicals to a bucket of water and asking me to stir it with a branch.I now think of it as a feather cleaning solution and experimenting with it to make it neutral. I was there.” It was then that Takuzo learned about litmus tests for the first time, and he says the scene vividly comes back to his mind as a child.
At the time, the refining process was to wash with alkali, so it was a groundbreaking move to improve the vulnerability of feathers to alkalinity and research into neutral detergents.
However, research alone was not enough, so Ichibei commissioned Kyoto Institute of Technology, Osaka University, and Kobe University to open up a new path in feather cleaning. After Ichibei's death, Takuzo heard from a professor that he received truckloads of feathers for research, but they ended up ruining them, and he realized once again how difficult it was.
What Ichibei was unable to develop until the end was the fabric for feather comforters. Takuzo suffered a recurrence of the tuberculosis he contracted during his time in the army, and after recuperating, he joined a textile trading company and began developing fabrics with a spinning company. In 1963, he returned to the family business and established Iwata Co., Ltd.
The following year, they announced Japan's first ``Downproof,'' which does not use glue or resin. In this way, Iwata traced its path to producing feather cushions that were tailored to the Japanese environment, rooted in the insatiable inquisitive spirit of a parent and child.
Why we are unrivaled by other companies
The most difficult tasks with feathers are deodorizing, sterilizing, and removing debris. The key is how clean you can be without using chemicals.
One day, Takuzo looked at his wife's cold cream and wondered. Why doesn't it rot even though it contains oil, moisturizing ingredients, and water? Strong chemicals are bound to irritate your skin... Ancient Egypt comes to mind.
There is a history of using fragrances for preservatives and sterilization. This focus led to the development of the ``fragrance fumigation method,'' which simultaneously deodorizes and sterilizes safely, and was the key to obtaining a utility model.
Next, we developed ``Iozone α2'' (patented in 13 countries around the world), which improves the refining power of feathers, and created feather comforters that can be washed at home. After that, we continued to make technological innovations such as ``Iozone δ'' (patented in 10 countries around the world).
Keep dreaming of feathers
Yuji Iwata, current president. ``You can't see what's inside the futon. That's why you should be particular about the content.'' These are the words that my father, Takuzo, was entrusted with by Ichibei.''
Yushi, Ichibe's grandson, carried on his wishes and aimed to further stabilize and improve quality. This also extends to the Iwata Feather Research Institute, which conducts research on feathers, and the development department.
In addition, all parts have passed Oeko-Tex, the international safety standard for hazardous chemicals, and have been certified at the product level.
Currently, Iwata offers a comprehensive line of bedding made from a variety of natural materials, and offers high-quality sleeping environments that suit modern lifestyles.
The original concept and manufacturing method of Habuton remains unchanged even after more than 50 years since its release. Encouraged by the smiles of our customers, we work together to make steady efforts.