“Mizu” is the Japanese word meaning “water,” so that would be like an American company naming their towel “water” although that would be dumb.
Since I did a post on Chinese cutlery marketed as Japanese, I now get served ads for Mizu towels, which are the same exact template Chinese companies take with knives. Except unlike the towel companies, no knife company has named their knives niku (Japanese for “meat”).
The Shuǐ Towel Tactics
If I told you my towel brand is called Shuǐ (Chinese for water), and that it epitomizes Chinese craftsmanship utilizing artisanal Chinese towel crafting techniques. That, along with being considered world-class Chinese artistry that is native to Xinjiang, China. I just might have you thinking this product is Chinese, but you would be wrong.
Here are all the typical misleading tactics used:
- Using the word “Japanese” throughout the website such as “Japanese towels,” “Japanese craftsmanship,” “Japanese towel crafting techniques,” to “world class Chinese artistry.”
- Brand name has a Japanese sounding name such as with Mizu towels they used the Japanese word for “water.”
- Imply, imply, imply that your products are Japanese by alluding to any and everything such as mentioning Japanese cities to talking about Japanese craftsmanship and artistry.
- Careful wording such as “Mizu towels are made using the very same artisanal crafting methods native to Imabari, Japan.”
- Sales all day everyday which is something all these Chinese companies focus in on which is “sale,
$600, now on sale for $200.”
- The “About Us” is never about the people or company behind the brand, but it is always another chance for them to market “Japan, Japan, Japan.”
- 5-star reviews a plenty, and you won’t find a single negative review because they are that good bro.
- We’re running low on stock, and OH NO, Covid-19 has created an overwhelming demand, so we’re panicking to keep things in stock although use code “staysafe” at checkout.
- Chinese people treat others like you as idiots. Culturally this is a recurring theme which is the opposite of Japanese culture and why these companies continually use the same tactics on Americans over and over again because it is business as usual (how else can these individuals afford to send their kids to UCLA).
Here are a few unique tactics used by Shuǐ:
- They raised over $480,000 on INDIEGOGO, and they still want more of your money because they only were able to pull in $250,000 off of Kickstarter.
- Utilizing media outlets to establish their credibility, so they tout Mashable, Trendhunter, and Realsimple on their website.
- International student credentials is stated on their website “created by graduates from UCLA, MIT, McGill, PhilaU, and University of Portland.
Embarrassed to be Chinese
If they were to tout Xinjiang, they are known for the cotton which is where they say they are getting their cotton from. If that is truthful, large Japanese and other foreign companies are known to use and also tout that they use Xinjiang cotton (“made from Xinjiang cotton famous for its superb quality.” – ABC Australia).
I Am Not the Only One Looking Into This Brand
Thank you of course to the YouTube community and a creator named GoKickMe, he has a video called “Is it a Scam? Mizu Towel – Not Made in Japan – Crowdfunding Review.“
The Xinjiang Controversy
More than a million Uyghurs, who are Turkic-speaking Islamic minorities, reside in the North-West of China. The controversy is that this group of people is supposedly being rounded up and placed in re-education internment camps that Beijing is touting as “vocational training centers.”
So Can You Buy Real Imabari Towels?
Why “yes” you can, and here are a few credible resources and companies you can purchase products from. Oh, and btw, it took me even more time to research my list below because now I am doubting everything.
Where to buy (companies in Japan):
- I-ori.com/Imabari towel online out of Ehime, Japan (English language) – a 100% Supima cotton “YUKI – towel of Japan snow will set you back ¥990 to ¥5,500 yen which at the time of this post is $9.38 to $52.10. Note, I just realized the “currency selector is on the left sidebar.” This is supposedly the #1 Imabari towel brand worldwide.
- Imabari Towel (ecommerce is Japanese language only) – I know they are Japanese because unlike Chinese companies, they make it impossible to purchase anything unless you can read and understand Japanese. I also can’t tell if this is a governing body that is meant to promote Imabari, or if they are a brand.
Where to buy Imabari cotton products (companies located outside of Japan):
- The Citizenry: It took me a while to decide whether to put additional ecommerce companies down, but based upon an extended amount of research, it appears the Citizenry is on the up and up. I say that because of the videos they have to communicate their brand on Facebook to them announcing that they plan on opening a store in the Fall of 2020, in SOHO, NYC (I don’t trust anything, so I research the hell out of things).
Resources about Imabari cotton products:
- Japaninfo.com – “Everything you need to know about the famous Japanese Imabari towels!“
In Conclusion, Mizu is another cookie-cutter Chinese company (potentially a good product that leans on the Japanese to market themselves).
After researching this brand, I am starting to think that all these brands must be part of a conglomerate because the tactics are almost copy’n’paste and identical from knives to towels. So it might be, and I will let you know when Google decides to serve up some more ads. Till then, I’m going to go use my Niku “meat” knife to chop some vegetables.