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Article: HERALBONY×KAPOK KNOT talk event


This season, as a new initiative of KAPOK KNOT, which is collaborating with various people, KAPOK KNOT has collaborated with the art life brand "HERALBONY" operated by Heralbony Co., Ltd., and Art Court was born. Takaya Matsuda, representative of Heralbony, and Kito Fukai, representative of KAPOK KNOT, will be reporting on the talk event held to commemorate its release.

<table of contents>

  • Introduction of speakers
  • About the art life brand “HERALBONY”
  • Talk event
  • At the end

Introduction of speakers

Heralbony representative Takaya Matsuda

After working as a planner at Orange & Partners, a planning company led by Kundo Koyama, he became independent. Together with her twins, she established a welfare experiment unit with the mission of "Unleash your uniqueness." We are taking on the challenge of updating the welfare field with two bases in Iwate and Tokyo. Oversees creative work at Heralbony. Every day I dote on my newborn daughter. Received the "Forbes 30 UNDER 30 JAPAN" award for 30 people under 30 who are changing Japan. Received the Minister of the Environment Award at the Japan Open Innovation Awards.


KAPOK JAPAN Representative Kisho Fukai

After graduating from Keio University in 2014, he worked for a real estate venture and a major textile manufacturer before joining his family business, Futaba Shoji Co., Ltd., an apparel manufacturer founded 75 years ago. He had doubts about the current apparel industry, which is based on mass production and mass disposal, but at the end of 2018, he encountered kapok and was convinced of his destiny. Started the KAPOK KNOT brand concept. A self-proclaimed kapok evangelist who says "kapok" more than 10 times a day.


About the art life brand “HERALBONY”

[Overview of art lifestyle brand “HERALBONY”]

The brand name, ``HERALBONY,'' is a mysterious word that Shota Matsuda, the older brother of both representatives who has an intellectual disability, wrote in his freedom book when he was 7 years old. Therefore, ``Heralbony'' has the meaning of ``we want to create new value in the world from something that at first glance seems to have no meaning.'' Utilizing art data from artists with disabilities, we produce high-brand apparel items (scarves, bags, ties, etc.). We are expanding our sales channels through physical stores across Japan and cross-border e-commerce. We are also working on sustainable products that upcycle art materials displayed in the All Japan Temporary Enclosure Art Museum Project.

EC site:


[Overview of Heralbony Co., Ltd.]

A welfare experiment unit that aims to create a new culture based on welfare, with the mission of ``Unleash your uniqueness.'' HERALBONY is an art life brand that signs art license agreements with artists with disabilities from all over Japan and turns their works into products based on over 2,000 pieces of art data. We are developing a variety of businesses with an eye to expanding the welfare field, such as ``Museum''.

Official website:

Talk event

The event started with an explanation of the KAPOK KNOT/HERALBONY brand.

It was impressive that from the beginning, everyone listened intently to the various topics that each representative talked about, such as the background behind the creation of the brand, their thoughts, and the society they would like to create.


(Matsuda ) Mr. Fukai went to Indonesia, where there is a kapok farm, and listened to the story of how he finally met the local people after spending 4 hours, and once again we were able to hear about the background and stories behind how the KAPOK KNOT brand was born from scratch. I'm happy.


Fukai : Speaking of which, there is one episode that I absolutely want to talk about today...

When I was in university, I visited a welfare facility on Miyakojima every year. I was working with people at a welfare facility to help with marketing so that the salad spinach they make would sell more on Miyako Island. At that time, I was studying social business and was enthusiastic about the idea of ​​balancing business and contributing to society, but the director of the facility told me, ``In a context where people with disabilities are making things.'' The theme was ``Please make it sellable without the above.''

At that time, story marketing (a method of delivering a message about a product or brand and encouraging action while creating empathy) was at its peak, so I thought, "Wait a minute" (lol) and came to put into practice what I had learned at university. Are you going to sell it with the story down? That's what I thought, but what the chairman wanted me to think about was not the story, but the idea that the product was inherently superior, and that I wanted people to consider communication that would make them think it was good and buy it. .

At the time, salad spinach was difficult to make, but not many people knew about it, so we worked on various things, including disseminating recommended cooking methods and posting recipes in front of local supermarkets. The people at the facility were asking for this kind of effort, but this experience was a huge experience for me at the time.

It was important to make the product sell in a context that was not just about whether or not it was made by a person with a disability, and we worked on the premise that the essential aspects were in the minds of people at welfare facilities. It was a great experience for me to realize that I need to be more aware of this when it comes to business, and since my student days disability has been one of the key points in business.


Matsuda ) I see. I didn't know that at all.

Before I started my own business, I launched a necktie brand called ``NUKU.'' At the time, this brand was based on leatherwork that was being made at a welfare facility near my older brother's home. Items that I thought were probably made by someone else were sold for 300 yen, which would have been more expensive if they were made from leather. Honestly, it's not very cool, but it's not because people with intellectual disabilities don't have the sense that they can't do it, but rather that it's up to the discretion of the producer, and the brand started from this hypothesis. hey. That was when I was 25 years old, 5 years ago.

I am different from Mr. Chairman, and I believe that the mission of ``to stand out'' is unusual, and that it is a possibility. Rather than thinking that people with intellectual disabilities and healthy people are all the same, we can promote awareness of intellectual disabilities by giving them a kind of segmented message, such as saying that people with intellectual disabilities can do things because they have intellectual disabilities. I think that I can change the image, so I think the difference between him and the president is that he takes the initiative by talking about the context of disability and welfare.


Fukai ) That's interesting. I think HERALBONY is really cool. I think a lot of people have thought about this in the past when we talk about it in terms of art for people with disabilities. We think it would be fun to do something like this, or that it would make society a happier place, but in the end, we didn't do it. Mr. HERALBONY, was there any point in the process that made you feel that you could do well?


Matsuda ) It wasn't so much that I thought we could turn it into a business, but because we received a lot of calls from people who have siblings with intellectual disabilities and their families saying, ``I've been waiting for something like this.'' There was a part of me that felt a sense of mission rather than doing it. So, I will do it with a sense of mission from the beginning! Instead of feeling like, ``This is what it is,'' I received words of sympathy, and gradually I began to realize that ``This is what it is.''

On the other hand, isn't Mr. Fukai also interested in the material called kapok? How did your realization that this could work change?


Fukai : I'm sorry for asking the same question, but it's exactly the same. Thanks to your support, we have seen an increase in the number of people who have come forward and said, ``I wanted something like this,'' or ``I want to spread the word, so please volunteer or help me out.'' At that time, I thought to myself, ``Let's do my best with this,'' without worrying about whether or not I could make it as a business.


Matsuda ) When it comes to collaborations, I think KAPOK KNOT is really amazing, as they have collaborated with Makoto Tanijiri, who is one of the most popular young architects in Japan. Is it often born?


Fukai : In terms of connections, it's quite difficult when relationships start from a company-to-company perspective. HERALBONY also happened to be at an event and found out that a member of HERALBONY was wearing KAPOK KNOT...


Matsuda ) That’s right! One of our members also posted on HERALBONY's chat tool, "I bought it!"


Fukai ) I saw this on Twitter, and when I spread the word that HERALBONY was praising it among the team, everyone said, ``HERALBONY is so great!'' and I said it would be great if we could talk about it, and the response was overwhelming. The conversation progressed and we decided to collaborate together.

Most of the time, we just talk flatly and decide to collaborate together because we're heading in the same direction, and I don't try to force collaborations. There's a lot of communication like that , so I can't do a lot of things, but I'm thankful that I'm able to collaborate on products with a lot of energy.


Matsuda ) It means that overwhelmingly many things are born through encounters between people.


Fukai ) In this day and age, there are goals to be achieved around the world, as represented by the SDGs, but since it has become clear that they cannot be solved by the activities of individuals or individual companies, they are set as goals for the entire society. Isn't it true? Therefore, we do not think that we can do it on our own, and we assume that it is impossible, but since society and companies also have a profit-oriented aspect, we first think about how we can make it happen using only our own company's resources. I tend to think about it first.

But instead, our goals come first, and our business lies in the choices we make about what we want to achieve, and if there are people we need to connect with, then of course we should connect with them. I think we should do it.


Matsuda ) That's right. On a slightly different topic, recently I have been thinking that we have created a social structure in which understanding diversity and inclusion * is the correct answer.For example, when I was in junior high school, I started talking about people on the autism spectrum. I don't think it would be okay if it were now, but if it was within an area that we were familiar with, we would have said, ``That's no good,'' but many other areas have come up. Sometimes I feel like I can't move.

* Respect each individual, recognize each other, and make use of each other's strengths, regardless of external attributes such as gender, age, disability, and nationality, as well as internal attributes such as lifestyle, work history, and values.


Fukai ) I completely understand. For example, there is talk that solar energy is a good idea, but I don't know, but it may be that it is taking away the earth's geothermal heat and causing the earth to cool down. You don't understand that, do you? The moment we start to think that something we don't know is bad, we start to realize that what we're doing right now might actually be bad, so it's dangerous to judge something just based on what we know and what we don't know.


Matsuda ) That's right. I think that kind of thing is very difficult these days.


Fukai ) I totally understand. That's why I think it's so important to create things with diverse people. My team once talked about what was so great about HERALBONY, and the key word that came up at that time was, "They have a really beautiful veranda." .


Matsuda ) Veranda...?


Fukai : I think there is a veranda in a house that is designed so that you can sit on it, and we talked about how the space to sit on it is designed to be very comfortable. First of all, there is a house, a garden, and the view from the porch is the same, and there are many points of contact with the product as tea and sweets. We talked about how we are able to collaborate with so many people and companies because the design is similar to the porch of a comfortable home.


Matsuda ) You're very good at talking (lol) This is the first time I've ever been asked about tea and sweets! I'm grateful to hear all your wonderful stories. At the end of the day, we also want to raise awareness. To be realistic. However, the history of people with disabilities is such that people with cerebral palsy have protested in the Diet and won their rights, so saying no to discrimination may create some kind of movement, but it is a kind of division. I think it's also about deepening your understanding.

At HERALBONY, we have decided to display art at stations and other locations to make it clearer that people have intellectual disabilities, so by intervening works that have the function of raising awareness in everyday life, the image changes. I am aiming to go. I would like to do something like a beautiful awareness campaign rather than a movement, so I'm really grateful that you can call me ``Enwa''.

KAPOK KNOT, are there any ideas or philosophies that you cannot compromise on?


Fukai ) I think I'm quite tolerant, but I'm not tolerant when it comes to things like achievements, but there are a lot of members of my team who have diverse ways of thinking, and we all want to compromise on different lifestyles. Each of them has something they don't have. We are talking about having proper dialogue about this, but that only slows down the speed of decision-making. In the old days, companies could get away with complaining after three years of service, but if you do that at KAPOK KNOT, there will be no dialogue, so we start from the premise that we should have dialogue. I believe that even if the speed of decision-making is slightly slowed down through dialogue, there are rewards, it adds depth to the brand, and it helps organize thoughts. Every time something comes up, I come to the conclusion that we need to have a dialogue, so I would like to value dialogue as part of our company's culture. I don't think it's all done yet, and I may have compromised on some things, but I want to cherish it.

What kind of culture does HERALBONY have? I think everyone is an incredibly good person, but I wonder how we can foster such people.


Matsuda ) I really want to work with people I respect, so I currently have 15 employees and 10 people who work on the side, but the thing I'm most proud of is that none of the members who became full-time employees have quit in the three years since. That's what I mean. It's been a short period of 3 years, but I'm really happy. We have a cultural code that says, ``The main character is always me,'' and I feel like this is for people with disabilities. However, I believe that there is a limit to "for the sake of..." and that it is important to do something that genuinely excites you and that you want to do as the main character. I think that is something that is very important.

It's almost time, so let's say a few words one by one.


Fukai ) Thank you for coming to our booth today despite your poor footing. The collaboration with HERALBONY has become a collaboration that our team is excited about. We are doing this because we believe that by working together, we will get closer to the world we want to create. It is important for you to feel glad that you listened to what I have to say today, and if you can share even just a few words about it with your loved ones, it will create another circle, so I hope you will do that. Masu. Thank you very much for today.


Matsuda ) I'm very excited to be able to create a product by leveraging each other's strengths. I think there was a time when it was thought that it was important for people with disabilities to be able to do things they couldn't do, and especially for people with severe intellectual disabilities, to bring them closer to able-bodied people. However, our goal is to attach a social context to the things that have already been done and to create wonderful things, and to become dependent on them, so we will continue to work together while relying on everyone. I hope that I can grow into a better person. Thank you for today.


At the end

How was that. The event was packed with information about the background of the collaboration and the thoughts behind each brand. There is also an archive of the talk event on KAPOK KNOT's official Instagram.

You can view it here➡

Please be sure to visit HERALBONY SHOP in Nihonbashi, where the talk event was held. The store is filled with the charm of HERALBONY in a space like a small museum.

In addition, the appearance of the collaboration item looks the same as the Chester coat normally sold at KAPOK KNOT, but the lining is a work by HERALBONY's artist, and the color of the buttonhole sewing thread is HERALBONY's work. The difference is that it uses the company's corporate colors.

 Changing the color of the sewing thread for the buttonholes was a suggestion from HERALBONY, and I could feel their attention to detail. Please check out.

☟Check out the collaboration items here☟
Product name: ART COAT
How to purchase: HERALBONY SHOP
Sales price: 68,200 yen (tax included)
Size range: S, M, L (unisex)