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Gunze: Tech-Savvy Innerwear Steeped in Japanese Tradition

Kyoto was once the capital of Japan and served as the emperor’s residence from 794 until 1868. A lover of fine cloth, silk was highly prized by the reigning family and Kyoto became a mecca for luxury fabrics; pioneered by textile merchants like Gunze.

Kyoto, located on the Japanese island of Honshu, is flecked with Buddhist temples, gardens and imperial palaces. A city steeped in Oriental history, the cherry blossomed landscapes and royal architecture are a mere glimpse today of the traditionalisms of the Eastern land – centuries ago.

Kyoto was once the capital of Japan and served as the emperor’s residence from 794 until 1868. A lover of fine cloth, silk was highly prized by the reigning family and Kyoto became a mecca for luxury fabrics; pushed on by textile merchants like Gunze.

In the summer of 1896, Gunze started producing silk in the district of Ikaruga, near Kyoto. In establishing Gunze, Tsurukichi Hatano wanted to promote the local silkworm industry while building a solid and harmonious relationship with the local community.


By naming the firm ‘Gunze’, which means the ‘policy of the land’, the silk maker has – since its origins – shifted from silk to other natural and synthetic fibers; remaining focused on sustainability and quality fabric.

As a firm, Gunze has always seen itself as a responsible corporate citizen by adhering to their founding philosophy, and that is, people. These are humble words from a company that has achieved incredible business status in Japan and the globe – celebrating some 120 years of operation this year.

Gunze management define success as establishing an “economic interaction among people”; from the employer, to the community member, to the paying customer who buys their fabrics. This is the craft behind their contemporary yarns, fabrics and ready-made undergarments.


Gunze consistently maintains the consumer’s point of view as they work to provide quality products and services. Gunze’s first priority is quality. But at the same time, they emphasize safety, security, comfort and customer satisfaction in the development and supply of products and services that are both environment- and people-friendly.

The eventual goal is to promote the sustainable development of society.

Gunze Group has three product segments: apparel, functional solutions and lifestyle creation – with an innerwear spearhead. It’s an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and supplier for leading Western brands, offering custom variations and orders aimed mainly at the high-end market.

Developing with the times, Gunze has had to adapt legwear and undergarment styles to stay on top of the female undergarment market. Its mainstay innerwear brands include Body Wild and Tuché, which appeal to younger females, and a Gunze Premium line for the luxury leggings.


Materials are developed from cotton, wool, Micromodal and nylon blends with the focus on functionality and fashion trends. For instance, the lines Coolmagic for summer and Hotmagic for winter.

Gunze are dedicated to developing innerwear brands and materials that are responsive to consumers’ changing tastes and lifestyles. With attractive products and carefully designed sales environments to facilitate the consumer’s product choices, Gunze hope to interact positively and proactively with the ongoing evolution of innerwear.

And this type of trend upkeep and lifestyle innovation is an ongoing function for Gunze, sourcing its yarns from China, Thailand, Vietnam and more locally, in Japan. This type of variety, gives Gunze a selection from the best yarns globally.

Gunze’s fabric laboratory, Kaiteki Kobo, is dedicated to scientific research based on physiological anthropology.

Gunze’s research hub serves as the center of this approach to develop innerwear that is comfortable physically and psychologically.

And, the core of both our inner wear and leg wear is the “high performance materials” that mainly use Japanese technology.


Since the establishment of the Gunze Environmental Charter in June 1997, Gunze has sustained an evolving environmental management system and promoted the reduction of its environmental impact as a business. This includes limiting the use of water and wastage, and minimising air pollutants and CO2 emissions left after processing.

Despite the elimination of traditional silks in their fabrics and undergarments for other natural and synthetic yarns, the Gunze motto – “the feeling of comfort” – is set in the stitch of each cloth. And this remains the sole focus for years to come.

Gunze seek to further evolve our inner wear with the development of attractive products, and by creating fun shopping environments where it is easy to choose.

The latest collection from Gunze is available for purchase online with Le Souk.

The article was written by Benjamin Fitzgerald, and appears courtesy of Le Souk.

Website; www.lesouk.co

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