Japanese Fabrics


May 31, 2013

As a closing post to this month’s theme of zakka month. I must write a post about Shinzi Katoh.  I think it is a pretty famous brand, but for those of you who do not know it. Shinzi Katoh is a Japanese Zakka artist/designer, book author ,illustrator and many more. From his website www.shinzikatoh.com‘s profile page, it says that he’s been designing all kinds of Zakka products for over 30 years and created more than 10,000 designs!

I cannot even remember how long ago it has been since I first discovered his work, but one of my first loves has got to be his fabrics. Like this one.

Image from Rick-Rack.com 


There are also many collaborations with well known characters such as Paddington Bear.
Image from Okadaya online shop

and his own take on fairy tale characters like the very famous Little Red Riding Hood that has been used by so many fabric designers out there.
Image from Okadaya online shop 

Other than fabrics, there are lots and lots of other Zakka goods designed by Shinzi Katoh. I don’t even know where to start so I’ll just highlight some of my favourite items.

Iron on patches based on his illustrations.
Image from Rick-Rack.com 

One of my favourite categories – Stationery. There are notebooks, pencils, Deco tape, bookmarks, albums, card holders… can’t name them all. Here are some mini cards. See how he has added his own style to famous characters like Pooh Bear?


Love these Thermos flask!

I love lunchboxes. I have too many but I am already thinking of buying these. ;P


Most ballet illustrations revolve around pink ballet shoes but these towels are so cute and whimsical at the same time.

Sora Bear was designed by Shinzi Katoh in 2008 for the Sorabea foundation which organizes activities that encourage kids to think about the global environment and help to stop global warming. The two main characters in the story are Sora and Bea who were separated from their mother due to the effects of global warming. You can watch a very touching animation of their story here on Sorabea’s facebook page. There are no words or dialogue so anyone, even a young child can understand it. Go watch it! One of the activities of the foundation is to donate Solar panels to preschools. I think it’s an amazing cause! All products bearing Sorabea chracters are subject to the 6% royalty of which 10% is donated to environmental conservation efforts.

Shinzi Katoh’s products are sold online and all over Japan. There are also a few physical stores, two in Osaka alone! One in Suminodo and one at Namba Parks. Unfortunately, one of them is closing down. If you are lucky to be in Osaka this few days, do not miss the closing sale at the Namba Parks (it’s a shopping mall at Namba station). It is on until 2nd of June only with discounts of 10-70%!

If you can’t be there, go explore the online shop in English, which also ships worldwide! 🙂 Unfortunately, there are no fabrics on the online store. Fabrics are sold separately by fabric retailers.

Happy shopping!


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  • Reply Angela May 31, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Thank you for this 🙂 I loved reading about this designer. I came across his fabrics on the Superbuzzy site a while ago, and also have some washi/deco tapes that he designed.

  • Reply Raphaele June 4, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks, I didn’t know Shinzi Katoh had designed so much things. I didn’t even know about the fabric! I found out about the designer when I bought the prettiest diary. It was years ago but I still look at it sometimes 🙂

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