WAZA was established in 2015 in Cape Town as a specialist purveyor of quality Japanese goods in South Africa. We source for the home, at work, or for retailers and businesses in the hospitality and gifting industries. WAZA was founded by Hilda and Botha Kruger, a couple with a big love for Japan, and we work directly with Japanese business partners and family businesses. Our products span across five categories of a well-balanced, contemporary life: MAKE | WORK | GROW | COOK | EAT.
Where did it start?
Our first visit to Japan was to experience New Years celebrations in Tokyo during 2004/2005. The idea for WAZA began to germinate there, some more Japan visits followed, and eventually our friends and family convinced us that not only them, but other South Africans, had a need for the beautiful, yet functional products we were gifting. So we decided to put our passion to practical use. In July 2016 we launched an online shop, to bring a little bit of Japan to South Africa, which is also reflected in our name – WAZA – "where WA meets ZA."
In 2018 we became a founding partner of the JPN Concept Store in Cape Town, and in September 2019 WAZAshop was joined by WAZAtravel - a bespoke travel advisory service for individuals or groups who are interested in an authentic and immersive Japanese travel experience.
One of our Japanese suppliers insists his 30 years of experience pales in comparison with the 50+ years of his peers - "I am still learning," he says. We decided that this is an approach that also suits WAZA. We subscribe to a gentler way of doing business, based on learning, human interaction and personal experiences. We source products which not only come with a story, but which creates new stories and memories.
WAZA has an extensive and growing network of suppliers across Japan, and we continuously research new product ideas and ways to expand our product range. We also do custom orders, where possible. If you are searching for something from Japan that we do not stock, feel free to contact us with your request.
Hilda and Botha Kruger
The meaning of WAZA
"WAZA" is a word play on both the Japanese kanji "wa"(和) and "waza" (技). The Japanese kanji “wa” (和) embodies the concept of intrinsic Japaneseness, which is traced back to AD604 and is most often translated as harmony/peace. It describes not only things that are uniquely Japanese, but also an approach to life.
The Japanese word "waza," which, when written as 技 means "technique" or "skill." The products we sell all showcase some element of skill, whether through traditional craftsmanship, or through the application of contemporary innovations to traditional designs. We are particularly inspired by the Japanese approach of "monozukuri" (ものづくり), a concept that translates as the "art, science and craft of making things" and which is exemplified in small business manufacturing.
Image courtesy Elle Decoration