About aGarey
aGarey is a unique cross-industrial brand. Themed on eating, drinking and living in Yamagata Prefecture (one of the northern prefectures of Japan), a noodle factory, a rice oil company, a Japanese sake brewery, a tatami straw mat shop, a paper-ware factory and a precision mold factory have joined together to form a single new brand produced by a novel designer, Takumi Shimamura, with support from the Tohoku University of Art and Design (Communal Creation Design Laboratory).
Yamagata is blessed with a number of quality specialties such as fruits like cherry and pear, Japanese sake and the Yonezawa-gyu beef. Additionally, Yamagata is Japan’s largest ramen (Chinese noodles in soup) consumption region as well as being the sole production area in the Tohoku (northern Japan) region of natural oil (rice oil).
Not only the specialties themselves but also producing attractive packaging is an important industry of the prefecture. Another noteworthy fact of the region is that the rate of house ownership is quite high in Yamagata. It creates a large demand for tatami straw mats, which is one of the conventional industries of Japan.
aGarey will create new possibilities for each manufacturer. Existing ingredients and processing techniques are transformed into a new food item or food-related utensil – aGarey will propose brand-new values to Yamagata.



A living room is where people gather, dine and communicate with each other, and clearly the necessary items for such happy moments are tables, chairs, sofas and all the other articles enjoyed in daily life.
In the Tohoku region, original lifestyle utensils and equipment such as the fireplace (irori) have been developed during its long history due to the severe and long winter months. aGarey’s design concepts were born from these traditional elements. People enjoy drinking sake while pouring it into each other’s cup, appreciate the beauty of wares, cook meals on the fireplace and sit around to eat and then boil water in a kettle hung above the fire to make a cup of tea… Such a string of comforting actions around the fireplace (irori) attests to the close relationship between food and utensils.
In this project, the Tohoku University of Art and Design, the source of design and art in Yamagata, plays the role of the fireplace (irori) while companies and business groups gather around it as the people living there. The aGarey project will add further design value to such local specialties as rice, soba buckwheat noodles and sake from Yamagata and will develop essential daily life utensils and tools mainly for dining tables. aGarey will acquaint both the local community and the world with Yamagata’s attractions including their delicious food, well-developed daily life utensils and the wise customs inherited from their ancestors.