Waza Imports (Pty) Ltd. ('WAZA') was established in 2015 in Cape Town as a specialist importer, retailer, and wholesaler of quality Japanese goods in South Africa. The inspiration for WAZA came from our own travels to Japan since 2004. We wanted to use this inspiration and create a (s)low consumption shopping experience where the best of Japan and South Africa meet.
Our mission at WAZA is to celebrate Japanese craftsmanship. The goods we sell are carefully selected for their design, durability and practical use. WAZA is represented in Tokyo, and with our Japanese colleagues we work directly with Japanese businesses and suppliers to source premium products that can be cherished for years and decades.
We sell online and at WAZA Japan Store - our retail store situated in the heart of Cape Town's CBD. Wholesale and custom orders are done in person or via email.
Our services at WAZA Japan include:
- WAZA Travel - a specialist advisory 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 tasting menu for customers to experience green tea;
- WAZA Events - Japanese themed events and workshops;
- WAZA Mini Konbini - a growing selection of Japanese food ingredients;
- WAZA Custom Orders - a bespoke service for custom orders from Japan.
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 have their own story, but which create new stories and memories.
We often visit our suppliers first as part of the process of building business relationships built on mutual trust and respect.
At WAZA we continuously research new product ideas and ways to expand our product range in partnership with our network of partners and suppliers. 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
Where Japan (和 - WA) and South Africa (ZA) meet through skill (技 - 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. Think of words like "wagyu" (Japanese beef) or "washi" (Japanese paper)
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