2015.3.17
Art Okayama

From Kurashiki to the World. Masking Tape, a Small Treasure from Setouchi that Makes Us Want to Brag!

 

Whether you want to post notes or decorate your surroundings, masking tape, also sometimes known as mt in Japan, is colorful tape that's easy to tear with your fingers, and comes off nicely afterwards.

Some years ago, colors and designs were added to the industrial masking tape that was originally used for covering surfaces and other temporary tacking on construction and painting sites, and it gained enormous popularity in Japan as a new household item. Today, this popularity has spread from Japan to other parts of Asia, Europe, and the United States, among other regions of the world.

Did you know that this mt (masking tape) is made at Kamoi Kakoshi, in Kurashiki city, Okayama prefecture?

To answer the wishes of those of you who want to see how the colorful and trendy masking tape is actually made, once every year a factory tour is held at Kamoi Kakoshi. As a lot of applications arrive from mt fans from all over Japan, reservations are required.

 

This time we will give you a look at the 2014 factory tour.  

 
 

For the factory tour, an mt bus comes to pick up the participants at the meeting place. A plaid pattern masking tape is pasted on the bus frame, and even in the interior of the bus the tape is utilized in a cute way.

For mt fans this is an irresistible service, and suddenly everyone is in high spirits.

 

 

Now then, we have arrived at the factory. Apparently with its renovation, the plant was completely changed from a retro-styled plant into a lovely space. We head inside, excited to see how our favorite masking tape is used [in the interior].

 
 
Here and there you can see letters written with masking tape! Small surprises like this are set everywhere and you can feel the hospitality of the company's employees.

 

 

You can discover your favorite pattern being printed on large Japanese paper or see how a long roll is cut and witness the moment when the masking tape is finished right in front of your eyes… You will see how carefully they are made and how much time and effort is put into those small pieces of tape you use everyday.  

 
 
Above all, everywhere you look, you can see masking tape used to decorate tools, lockers, litter boxes, among other items, and will be happy to understand how much the makers love masking tape, too.

 

 

After exiting the plant, there is a gallery corner with an array of invaluable items that have been on display not only in Japan but also in exhibitions all over the world.  A mini car taped with mt, and this is an mt tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw) unique to Kamoi that has a factory in Thailand, as well. It's immensely popular with children.

 
 
This is the archive room filled with the history of Kamoi Kakoshi that first started with flypaper, and has a 90-year history in adhesion engineering. The retro posters seem terribly stylish today… Every type of masking tape that has ever been made is on display.

 

 

In this space, which makes use of an old storage area, you can enjoy an installation that depicts a fairytale-like world, made by Australian artist PIP&POP, using masking tape and sugar. In these delicate works you can feel the love of masking tape!

 
 

The final highlight is a shop corner with tapes for sale exclusively to factory tour participants. You can cut the tape to the width of your liking, buy masking tape sold by measure, and, at work spaces, you can tape as much tape as you like, as well as make unique badges by using masking tape.  A tour where you can enjoy the world of masking tape to your heart's content. We spent a dreamlike time at the plant, which made us visit time and time again.

With cooperation of the support shop in Kurashiki city, masking tape is used at the shop within the city as well, and for guests that come from a distance, hotel plans are available with a possibility of staying in an mt room.

Tour notices are displayed on the company’s homepage and on Facebook, so don't forget to check!

*Photographs are from the 2014 mt factory tour.
 

Kamoi Kakoshi Co., Ltd. / mt project office

Address: 236 Katashima-cho, Kurashiki city, Okayama prefecture
Telephone: 086-465-5812
Homepage: http://www.masking-tape.jp (Japanese)

http://masking-tape.jp/en/ (English)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mt.maskingtape (Japanese)

*No application is available for factory tours within normal operating times. Factory tours are held only during the factory tour event period.

Setouchi Finder Photo-writers:
Text: Tomoko Kawai (Dream Network Activity)
Photographs: Takafumi Yanagizawa (Dream Network Activity)

 

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