The Story Behind the Creation of Tsugu Tsugu Inc.
The Woman Behind Tsugu Tsugu Inc.
Tsugu Tsugu Inc. is a small company in Tokyo that is completely dedicated to connecting people and traditional crafts, with a focus on kintsugi, a repair technique using urushi lacquer and gold powder.
The company was founded in 2020 by Yuki Matano, a trilingual professional born in Osaka that has fallen completely in love with the art of kintsugi.
Determined to help people, Yuki Matano initially studied pharmacy at university. After working as a sales representative for a major Japanese pharmaceutical company for 4 years, Yuki Matano quit her job to study abroad in Canada and Germany. She contemplated becoming a doctor and tried to get into a German medical school, but she did not pass the exam. Once back in Japan, Matano was still determined to turn her life around and enrolled in the MBA program taught by McGill University in Tokyo.
During the MBA course, a professor from overseas talked about the beauty of kintsugi during a lecture. It was a revelation for Matano. Her experience of failures from seeking perfection too much and the spirit of kintsugi resonated with her life and values up to this point. She realized that personal scars and flaws are not something to hide, but that beauty can be found within them.
Determined to spread this beauty and allow people to cherish objects dear to them for a very long time, she decided to leave her corporate career behind and learn traditional kintsugi as fast as possible. After her kintsugi training, Matano founded her own company, Tsugu Tsugu Inc, a company dedicated to kintsugi products and services. With her multicultural background and connections made through her MBA, she is now working towards spreading traditional kintsugi not only in Japan, but also throughout the world.
In the spring of 2019, Matano had to start writing her thesis to graduate from her MBA. She had to either write a business plan for a new business or do an internship in a company in a field she had no prior experience of. Always interested in entrepreneurship, Matano preferred the first option as it was a great opportunity to start her own business.
It all Started with a Polish Bowl
Back to 2014, Matano bought a ceramic bowl in Krakow, Poland. At that time, she had been living in Germany for over 2 years. Her trip to Poland was very memorable because she was traveling with one of her closest friends, who had come all the way from Japan to see her.
In Krakow, there were a lot of cute Boleslawiec bowls with colorful patterns. Matano and her friends bought some as a souvenir.
Now in 2018, in Japan.
However, a few years later, Matano dropped the bowl while washing it. It landed on the floor and broke. At the time, Matano desperately searched the internet for a way to repair her dear bowl. This was Matano's first encounter with the word "kintsugi."
At first, Matano thought it was only the name of a ceramic repair shop. She contacted the shop and was asked which finish she wanted for the repair. She did not know what to reply as she had no idea what the person was talking about.
A few months later, Matano could get her bowl back, and it was in one piece again ! She was very happy, but she did not imagine at the time that, a few years later, she would learn to do kintsugi herself.
The Real Encounter with Kinstugi
Some months later (Jan 2019), Matano was attending a course of her MBA course, when a professor suddenly started speaking about kintsugi. She was teaching “the Art of Leadership”. In the last lecture, she showed us some beautiful slides of kintsugi.
That is the moment Matano really learned what kintsugi was and fully realized the beauty of this ancient Japanese art. It is during that class that Matano really met kintsugi... and it has never left her.
Matano trained to become a professional kintsugi artist and then founded Tsugu Tsugu, a company dedicated to kintsugi, while finishing her MBA.
It is funny how, looking back, all the dots seem to connect...