“Beauty buried within. Everybody loves Mokkei.” The Untold Story of Bogu Development

Kendojin magazine 2015 June edition

– “The kote All-Japan Competitors Love! Mokkei”

The “Mokkei” brand has become so well known, that people go to great ends to seek it out. The Konyakko style of Kote was on the brink of being discontinued, but is booming now after regaining the trust of many Kenshi through the Mokkei brand.

“We almost stopped production of Konyakko Kote.” – Hayashi Takahiro, Kendo Kyoshi 7-dan, Tozando

The Mokkei Kote sold by Tozando is one of our representative products. It is safe and light, and easy to use. An increasing number of Kenshi are extolling the quality of this product. It is hard to believe that a few years ago it was almost discontinued.

“When we established a factory in Iwate prefecture, we discussed whether or not we should produce this Kote as a main product. At the time, the style of kote that would later become Mokkei Kote were very unpopular… But, when you put your hand inside the Kote, it really fits like a glove. That’s why we decided to persevere with it a bit longer.” (Hayashi)

Nevertheless, as predicted, the sales for Konyakko Kote did not improve. The stock just kept increasing as sales plummeted. Meanwhile the line-up of kote became ever richer. About the time when we were considering stopping production altogether, we had a word with kenshi in the Osaka Police. We asked if they were interested in buying up our stock at a highly discounted price. One police kenshi took a keen interest in the Mokkei Kote.

“My first impression said it all. I had never encountered a set of kote which I thought was ‘the one’, let alone a style that was about to be discontinued. I was amazed at how easy they were to use.”  – Kiwada Daiki

The police Kenshi in question was none other than Kiwada Daiki.

On November 3, 2011, Kiwada wore the Mokkei kote at the 60th All Japan Kendo Championship, and fought his way to victory.

“Kiwada’s triumph at the All-Japan Championships changed peoples’ perception of the Mokkei Kote.”  (Hayashi)

The following day, Tozando was inundated with orders for the “Kiwada Kote”. This was a turning point. They were saved from the brink of obscurity, and suddenly became the brand that everybody wanted to own. Following the 60th All Japan Kendo Championships, Mokkei became the Kote that people sought. But, how do they compare with other types of Kote?

“I think that Mokkei Kote suit my style of kendo better than anything else. With minimal thickness, it is easy to grip my Shinai, and it gives me just enough leeway to control the Shinai as I like. In other words, Mokkei allows the ideal grip. Since I started using them, my hands have been a lot more stable, meaning that nobody has been able to score a Kote strike against me.“ (Kiwada)

“The Mokkei Kote have a perfect balance of thickness in the Futon and padding. Kote are tools of the trade (Dogu) for kenshi, and are also pieces of protective equipment (Bogu). As tools, they have to be easy to use, and also enhance the performance of the user. As protective equipment, Kote must also  provide security and safety to the user. A combination of both of these elements is vital, and The Mokkei Kote represents the successful fusion of these attributes. They are not just for Shiai, or just for Keiko. They are almighty.” (Hayashi)

Kendo Kote MOKKEI

A high level of functionality, safety, and versatility give the Mokkei Kote a huge advantage. Some people may think that only top-level competitors can appreciate the finer points of functionality in Bogu, but Hayashi advocates that the Mokkei Kote are excellent for people just starting out as well.

“I personally think that children who have just started kendo can get a lot out of using Mokkei kote. There are two reasons for this. First, they provide a high level of protection. The materials used are top quality and effectively absorb the blow from Kote strikes. They do what kote are supposed to, and that is protect the hands. Second, they improve the user’s grip. If you use kote with bad form when you are learning the basics of Kendo, the user will never learn how to grip the shinai properly. Mokkei kote make it easy to learn the correct angle for the wrists and Tenouchi, so striking form will be as it is supposed to be. People who want to improve their grip should definitely try out the Mokkei kote.” (Hayashi)

Irrespective of age or technical ability, the Mokkei Kote suit the needs of all kenshi.