WAZA was established in 2015 in Cape Town as a specialist importer, retailer, and distributor of quality Japanese goods in South Africa. We sell online and at WAZA Japan Labo - our Japanese retail and event space situated at 111 Loop Street in Cape Town.
Our services at WAZA Japan Labo include:
- WAZA Travel - a specialist advisory travel service for prospective travelers to Japan;
- WAZA Library - a small library of Japanese books to borrow, or read in the shop;
- WAZA Tea Labo - a workspace where we serve green tea and snacks while you shop;
- WAZA Events - Japanese themed events and workshops;
- WAZA Food - a growing selection of Japanese food ingredients;
- WAZA Rentals - a prop rental service for the film industry (from April 2020);
- WAZA Custom Orders - a bespoke service for custom orders from Japan.
Our emphasis is on beautifully designed, quality and durable products for homes, restaurants, work spaces and businesses in the hospitality and gifting industries. We aim to offer premium products that can be cherished.
The WAZA founders
WAZA was founded by Hilda and Botha Kruger, a couple with a big love for Japan. We work directly with Japanese small and medium business partners and family businesses, and often visit our suppliers first as part of the process of building business relationships built on mutual trust and respect.
The WAZA business philosophy
Our approach is illustrated by one of our Japanese suppliers, who insists that his 30 years of experience honing his craft pales in comparison with the 50+ years of his peers. "I am still learning," he says. 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.
At WAZA we continuously research new product ideas and ways to expand our product range in partnership with our network of partners, suppliers, associates and buyers. We do custom orders, so 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