The Beatles……said to be the highest selling band of all time and loved by fans all over the world. They have made a lasting impression on the music industry as we know it today.
And now, we present to you a stunning collaboration between The Beatles and IKEUCHI ORGANIC.
Starting with a terrycloth tapestry (wall hanging) with a woven jacket picture of The Beatles’ second album, “With the Beatles”, many collaboration items have been produced. The photograph used on the record sleeve of the Japanese version of “MEET THE BEATLES”, which is known in the UK as the second album, was adopted in the first product.
- Reference: The collaboration item between The Beatles and IKEUCHI ORGANIC is now on sale! ｜IKEUCHI ORGANIC
The representative of the company, Mr. Ikeuchi, has been an acoustic enthusiast since his early teenage days, when he first saw The Beatles on TV. He then joined Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., and his experience in the production of an audio brand, “Technics”, is still being used in his manufacturing techniques.
In other words, IKEUCHI ORGANIC would not have existed without The Beatles. The Beatles has changed Mr. Ikeuchi’s life.
Mr. Ikeuchi learned the philosophy of “reliability to the original sound” at Technics. Not focusing on superficial amusement in home appliances, but to convey the original sound of the record itself in audio.
In turn, his philosophy led to the spirituality of IKEUCHI ORGANIC, to blatantly convey the quality of organic cotton as a superb material.
“I was struck by such an impulsive atmosphere, like rock and roll itself”
“Everything is because of The Beatles”
The crossover of two stories about music and towels.
What is the aesthetics to reveal the authentic product found in it?
Mr. Ikeuchi, who has been a Beatles fan from the earliest period, talked about his overflowing love for The Beatles.
President of IKEUCHI ORGANIC, was born in 1949 in Imabari in Japan. Ikeuchi’s organic cotton towels are highly acclaimed not only in Japan but also in America and Europe, as it became the first Japanese company to receive the Best New Product Award at the New York home textile show in 2002. As a president who has rebuilt a company that experienced the Japanese version of Chapter 11 in 2003, the success of IKEUCHI ORGANIC inspires Japanese local businesses that are facing challenges to expand their companies.
This collaboration product does not have the Imabari Towel certification!
── IKEUCHI ORGANIC’s products do not usually have Imabari Towel tags, but they are always authenticated as Imabari Towels (*1), right? But I heard that this collaborative tapestry does not have the Imabari Towel certification. Can you tell me why?
(*1) Not all towels made in Imabari are sold as Imabari Towels, but are required to have a regional group trademark “Imabari Towel”
Ikeuchi : To obtain Imabari Towel certification, it is necessary to cut several towels in pieces for quality examination. Do you think you can cut something with The Beatles’ faces on it? (laughs).
── Hahaha (laughs). Is that really the reason?!
Ikeuchi : I cannot and will not allow cutting something with the faces of gods.
── So it was not due to the request from Apple Corp (the company that manages Beatles’ copyrights)?
Ikeuchi : No, I just did not want to do it. Well, it does not have Imabari Towel certification, but it surely has a certification from Keishi Ikeuchi (laughs).
This time, we decided to use “With the Beatles” as a start, but Apple requested “not to use The Beatles’ faces to wipe off dirty surface”.
So, I told them that it’s OK, that we will not make something to wipe off anything dirty. That’s why we designed it as a tapestry, not just a towel.
Apple graciously accepted the use of its record sleeve. The deciding factor was high technical skills.
── When I heard about your collaboration with The Beatles, I thought that it was amazing. How did you make it happen?
Ikeuchi : Actually, just by sending an email.
Ikeuchi : Unexpectedly, they gave they consent without any hassles (laughs).
── Wow (laughs). Was it because of the high quality of IKEUCHI ORGANIC products?
Ikeuchi : I think good that we sent them the towel sample. We actually sent some samples of photo towels that we have produced so far, to let them know about our excellent weaving technology.
IKEUCHI ORGANIC towels have at least 20% more fabric density than other towels that are sold in Japan, making it possible to accurately reproduce photographs on woven products. I think no other companies are able to do this.
In 2018, it has been 48 years since The Beatles broke up. I think Apple has the desire to create high-quality goods that can keep the band’s existence in people’s memory. I think that our technology matched their intention.
Mr. Ikeuchi, one of the first Beatles fans in Japan
── Since when did you become a Beatles fan?
Ikeuchi : I think I am one of the first Beatles fans in Japan. The Beatles was first known in Japan in 1964. In that year, they did a tour in the United States, and the John F. Kennedy Airport was swarmed with fans. I first learned about The Beatles when that news was aired on Japanese TV.
At that time, traditional Enka singers were popular in Japan, such as Yukio Hashi. For western singers, Elvis Presley was famous, and it was an era when Japanese singers sang translated covers of popular western songs.
The Beatles appeared there. I was struck by such an impulsive atmosphere, like rock and roll itself. For me, who was a junior high school student at that time, everything was shocking.
── Did The Beatles become a social phenomenon in Japan too from that time?
Ikeuchi : Actually no. I was the only one listening to them in my class, and everyone thought I was weird (laughs).
Manufacture based on exhaustive and detailed calculations
── I think that you have some similarities with The Beatles when it comes to manufacture. As an artisan, how do you relate to them?
Ikeuchi : I think that I can relate to how they wrote songs after exhaustive and detailed calculations. The way The Beatles wrote their songs has strong impact on professional recording even now. PA systems, such as an eight-channel mixer that is used for live recording now, would not have been born if The Beatles did not exist.
── Although there are many opinions, I heard that The Beatles started the use of dubbing, a technique to record the voice of the same person over and over. Is it right?
Ikeuchi : That’s right. The Beatles’ songs were born through countless trial and error. They did not settle on the available systems at that time, but created new equipment and systems and stayed true to their own creative expressions. I think this is really amazing.
── Do you think that you have been influenced by such attitude?
Ikeuchi : I think everything was because of The Beatles. I became an audio enthusiast because of them (laughs).
I wanted to make audio devices to better enjoy their music, so I entered the department in Matsushita Electric that produced the audio brand “Technics” right after graduation. There, I acquired all the attitude that I use in towel production now.
Things shared by Technics’s “Reliability to the original sound” and IKEUCHI ORGANIC
── What exactly was the attitude that you learned at Technics?
Ikeuchi : At that time, Technics created “audio products” based on strict numerical data in order to reproduce nearly 100% of the sounds played, based on “reliability to the original sound” principle. No matter how high you aim for a high performance, there is always a limit.
IKEUCHI ORGANIC also strives to design towels based on strict standards so that the materials can be utilized to the utmost value by issuing a label “99.95% Organic Cotton”.
It is easier for produce record players that look interesting as decoration objects. But that is not the case. If you really respect the artist, the audio must be able to reproduce the original recorded sound reliably.
Likewise, for IKEUCHI ORGANIC, it is easier to sell our products by only copying the qualitative “organic” label. But, we do not do such a thing (*2). In order to express the organic property reliably, it is necessary to show a quantitative, numerical value.
(*2) There are 4 basic parameters in towel weaving. Yarn thickness, twisting degree, pile length, and the weave density. For details, please read the article written by Mr. Yano, a “towel expert” who is responsible for the design, entitled ([Ehime prefecture Imabari City – IKEUCHI ORGANIC] “Design is everything in towels” Inside the heart of a successor of the only position in the company | Koji Yano)
Convey original products as they are
── In order to convey the superiority of a material reliably, it is necessary to do trial and error and calculate every detail.
Ikeuchi : That’s right. In the beginning, The Beatles did 3 live performances every day for several years.
── It was the so-called Hamburg Shows, a period of practice performances, right?
Ikeuchi : That’s the one. They seemed to do multiple trial and error before they could understand their audience well.
In that sense, neither The Beatles nor Keishi Ikeuchi could make original works easily. They accumulated knowledge and experience through multiple trial and error before gaining a technique to convey original works as they are.
── Multiple trial and error to refine the technology to produce original things.
Ikeuchi : My old colleagues in Technics often say this.
“Your towel is just like Technics when you were there”.
□Collaboration items are now on sale on the official website
Collaboration items of The Beatles and IKEUCHI ORGANIC are on sale on IKEUCHI ORGANIC’s official website. The company has started accepting orders for “REVOLVER” tapestry, which will be available from July 10, from today (Wednesday, June 20). You can check the sales information from the following.
(This article is an editorial advertising, produced in collaboration with IKEUCHI ORGANIC CO., LTD.)