They take the cake when it comes to shoemaking. Compared to their European counterparts, Japanese shoemakers are galaxies above when it comes to finishing, detail, and aesthetics.
Among my favorites are Yasuhiro Shiota, Hiro Yanagimachi, TYE shoemaker, Yuigo Hayano (Bespoke Shoe Works), and Eiji Murata (Main d’Or). Many other makers with attention to detail exist in Japan and Asia.
Hundreds of things can go wrong whilst shoemaking. A knife can slip and irreversibly damage the leather. Hammer too hard and unsightly lines appear. These Japanese shoemakers are continuing to perfect all of these 200+ steps to produce museum-quality shoes.
These photos barely scratch the surface. Not to mention the Japanese price their bespoke way below the Europeans. Bespoke Japanese shoes follow between $3,000-$4,500 USD. European bespoke are usually $4,000+.
The Japanese refine, refine, and refine. There’s so much effort and dignity in their work and I hope these makers continue to do well. I think customers can be assured they’re in excellent hands.