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TO KEEP THE QUALITYTo keep the Quality.  Our professionals at each stage of manufacturing
call upon their knowledge and experience to complete each towel.

Our professionals at each stage of manufacturing
call upon their knowledge and experience
to complete each towel.

A product made here in Imabari, the home of towels, for you to use with peace of mind.
That is our pride and duty as towel makers.

1. Raw Cotton

At our company, “craftsmanship” starts with considering which thread to use to best match the concept.
Most of the raw cotton that will become our thread is cultivated and harvested in overseas cotton fields. America, Australia, China, India, Africa, Egypt… countries from all over the world.
The raw cotton has different characteristics depending on where it was grown, each with different strengths and weaknesses meaning no two pieces are the same, and giving it a naturalness that you can feel.
Raw Cotton

2. Spinning « Mixing and Blowing ~ Carding ~ Drawing ~ Roving ~ Fine spinning »

The carefully harvested raw cotton is finally made into thread. This process, called spinning in the business world, takes place both in Japan and overseas.
One fibre at a time, the raw cotton which will become the thread is untangled, the seeds, dry leaves, and other debris removed, before the fibres are aligned in the same direction, and elongated and twisted together to make a thread of uniform thickness.
In order to maintain a uniform material quality during this spinning process various raw cotton, with its different colours and fibre lengths, is blended together. The combinations and ratios are based on spinning company policy and knowhow. Much like how coffee beans are blended.
SpinningSpinning

3. Thread refinement: Bleaching, Dyeing, and Starching «Pre-Bleached, Pre-Dyed”

In Japan, each towel producing region has its own characteristics. It is often said that Imabari is “pre-bleached, pre-dyed” , while Osaka Izumi is “post-bleached, post-dyed” .
Imabari’s “pre-bleached, pre-dyed” method means that the threads are dyed before weaving, which allows the use of lots of coloured threads making it a fitting method for expressing multi-coloured designs. Also the truth is that, in its natural form, cotton and its thread repel water!
This is because the raw cotton retains the oils and waxiness it was born with. The cotton is passed through a refining and bleaching process to remove the oils and waxes, which enhances the natural absorbency of the cotton while at the same time removing any other impurities. In addition, the bleaching brings out the natural white colour of the raw cotton.
Lastly, during the towel weaving process, the threads rub against one another, creating lots of friction. This friction makes the threads fluffy, and can even cause them to snap. To protect against this, starch is applied to each thread before the towel is woven.
Pre-Bleached, Pre-Dyed

4.Warping

We prepare by winding thread around a beam which will be installed in the towel weaving machine. Around 500 thread “cheese wheels*” are set onto a setting appliance, called a creel. It's simple, but shoulder aching work. In the case where lots of colours are being used there must be no mistakes in the order, so one by one the threads are set thoroughly and deliberately. Next, a big machine called a sectional warping machine takes the set threads, and winds them with a uniform tension and uniform spacing. Although it looks simple, it is difficult work which demands skill.
The artisans who perform this work are called “Nobeshi”. This operation is repeated many times, until many thousands of threads have been wrapped onto one beam.
* “Cheese wheel” is the spindle of thread wrapped around the wooden core. The story goes that it was given this name because of its resemblance to a wheel of cheese.
cheese wheelsWarping

5.Weaving

The beam from the Warping step is installed into the weaving machine alongside a previously installed beam. From now, the skill of the Weavers will shine.
The thread from before and the new thread are joined together. The many thousands of threads are separated many times, and while being carefully unravelled with a comb, are put into order. When everything is in order, they are installed into the loom, certain that every single thread has been connected. In Japanese, this process is called “Nobetsunagi” and becoming fully qualified takes many years. Indeed, it might be nearly impossible to master.
The workshop environment is also very important. For towels, control of temperature and humidity is essential. If not tightly controlled the static build-up caused by the dryness can cause the threads to break, lowering productivity, or alternatively creates fluff which can be woven in together with the manufactured product and end up making a B-grade article. At Yokota towel, in order to completely control the temperature and humidity, we introduced a large-scale system and thus created an environment for weaving towels.
Currently, while high productivity air jet looms continue to become commonplace, our company continues production by relying on slightly less productive rapier looms.
As for why: although the difference might be subtle, we think the rapier loom is capable of producing more characterful and more aesthetically pleasing articles.
connecting threads rapier looms

6.De-Starching

Freshly woven towels, if you touch them with your hand, have a starchy feel. The cause of this is starch left over from the weaving. In order to remove this starch, using a method which conforms to the Imabari brand standard, the towel is carefully washed and the starch removed.
At Imabari, beautiful underground water from the Shikoku mountain range is abundant. The background of this natural blessing let to the development of Imabari as a textile town. Of course, in order to protect its beauty, before it is sent back to the Inland sea all drainage water is passed through a strict management system.
De-Starching

7.Cutting and Sewing

First, both sides (length wise) of the continuously connected towel are sewn on a selvedge sewing machine.
Next, either by machine or by hand using sewing scissors, one by one the connected towels are diligently cut. Then, while the Imabari brand name tag and such are held between, the end selvedges (width wise) of the cut towel are sewn by final stitching machine.
Even in this era of modern development, towel sewing remains largely unchanged, with each towel being carefully sewn by hand.
cutting sewing

8.Inspection

At our company, the greatest number of people are involved in this process.
One by one, we carefully check all of our goods by eye. We inspect each part in detail, to ensure there are no places where the pile stands proud, no poor sewing, nor other defects. At the same time, by hand we completely remove waste thread and other unneeded parts.
In an age that demands high quality, every day we are striving through trial and error to improve ourselves.
Inspection

9.Metal Detection

Finally, all of our products are passed through a machine called a metal detector in order to carefully check that there are no needles or other foreign metal objects clinging onto the finished towel.
Because towels are designed to be used on skin, in order that everyone can use them with peace of mind, we carry out these tests and see it as a very important part of our work.
Metal Detection