Let me introduce you to one of Asakusa’s best shops. Not far from Nakamise Dori Shopping Street and Senso-ji Temple, is a brush shop unlike any other called Kanaya Brush. They only work with natural hair from animals. This family owned business is now run by Mr. Hideo Ouchi. We met with him to learn more about this unique craft.
Asakusa’s best shops: Kanaya Brush
The Kanaya Brush company was founded, in 1914, when Mr. Ouchi’s grandfather came from Kyoto to the capital, and opened a shop selling animal hair toothbrushes. Little by little, the company grew and started offering brushes of all kinds: for hair, for body, for clothes…
Unfortunately, our modern world soon saw the boom of nylon brushes, and the sales of animal hair brushes declined. But Mr. Ouchi’s family did not give up and bet on the return in fashion of products made from more natural materials. Thus, 25 years ago, their efforts finally paid off. Sales of animal hair brushes are growing again as our society is looking for more eco-friendly options. Mr. Ouchi tells us that, when you start using one of his brushes, you can no longer go back to nylon ones, the difference in quality being unforgettable.
Why use an animal hair toothbrush?
Kanaya Brush toothbrushes can be used for 3 months. While nylon toothbrushes will lose their hair, Mr. Ouchi ones will remain just as full, the hair will only shorten over time. Thanks to the hair elasticity, the brush will clean the teeth while gently massaging the gum tissues.
Depending on the hair used, brushes will be more or less hard. There is one for everyone. Harder brushes are made with pig hair. Horses hair is used for intermediate brushes, the mane hair being softer than the tail hair. Finally, the softer brushes are made from a mixture of horse and goat hair.
A million toothbrushes sold?
Upon entering the store, our attention is immediately drawn to a large banner that reads: “Toothbrushes for a million people”. It was Mr. Ouchi’s grandfather himself who made this banner. Indeed, his wish was for a million people to use his toothbrushes.
Today, we can say that this goal has been achieved since more than a million toothbrushes have been sold. But Mr. Ouchi keeps the banner hanging in memory of his grandfather and to remember the new goal he set for himself: to introduce his toothbrushes not only to Japan people, but to the whole world.
We are very proud to be able to help him get a little closer to his dream, by introducing to you his toothbrushes in the Peko Peko Box Asakusa！Subscribe to Peko Peko Box so you don’t miss it as well as the other items from Asakusa’s Best Shops featured in the box.