Business Product

Mizu Towels, Another Chinese Company Playing off the Japanese

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”).

What is the name of your towel brand? Water bro.

But in Japanese (why not a Norwegian? håndkle).
Photo Description: a close-up shot of Mizu Towels. The pic shows a blackish colored towel with a two white strips that are parallel to each other.
Not sure about the products, but typically these companies have decent to very good product photography. Imagery courtesy of Mizu Towel.

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.

Wonder where Mizu towels are made (is Mizu made in China)? Yes, China is the answer although they will imply, imply, imply a connection to Japan and the Japanese.

This is a common tactic used by Chinese companies and the cutlery industry is filled with fake knives.
Photo Description: a screenshot of the Shui towels website on October 26th, 2022.
If this screenshot makes you think this product is from Japan, you would be WRONG (what made you think that?).

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 which uses 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, but they never took a class in branding).
Photo Description: a close-up of the Mizu towel, you can see the "loops' which whisk water away, along with the two parallel white stripes on the blackish colored towels.
I personally have no problem if something is made in China, but all the attempts at implying “world class Japanese artistry” makes is a hard pass for me.

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). Except you will not hear that from Mizu.

I Am Not the Only One Looking Into the Mizu Brand

This brand has been scrutinized by others, and there is a YouTube video questioning if the brand is a scam.

This is a common thing amongst Chinese brands that also pretend to be black-owned businesses.

Thank you of course to the YouTube community and a creator named GoKickMe because 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.”

Photo Description: 4 large bulbs of cotton with a backdrop of a large green cotton field supposedly in Xinjiang, China.
Xinjiang is notorious around the world for quality cotton, and they supply a ton of large companies, even well-known Japanese companies.

So Can You Buy Real Imabari Waffle 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):

  • 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.

If you are looking for the real deal, Imabari waffle towels that are made in Japan, the Citizenry in New York City is your best bet.

If you are looking for a US-based seller.
Photo Description: a product shot of the Imabari waffle towel set that is crafted in Japan. The very light greyish towels are set on a light wood colored towel rack hung horizontally across. Also in the shot is a very large white tub (all modern looking).
If you are looking to buy the real Imabari waffle towels, the Citizenry is where to buy it from (I get absolutely nothing from them).

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:

In Conclusion, Mizu is another cookie-cutter Chinese company (potentially a good product that unfortunately 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.

iPad mockup by Image by syifa5610 on Freepik

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