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『Japanese Makers』

Nozomi Toyoda, Soap maker

"CRAFTSMAN SERIES" brings together URBAN RESEARCH DOORS and PAPERSKY all over Japan, and closes up the craftsmen who continue manufacturing rooted in that land.


The vast Aso caldera extends 18 kilometers east to west and 25 kilometers north to south. The majestic five peaks of Aso take center stage, and some 40,000 people live in the foothills inside the caldera.

Nozomi Toyoda came to live here in 2002. While searching for her calling in Aso, she found that she was drawn to the water. Aso is famous for the copious supply of clear groundwater in the mountain. Toyoda discovered that the soap she made by hand with this local water was safe to use even on her daughter’s delicate skin.

The Ladybug line of handmade soaps reflects Toyoda’s penchant for using safe products made with traceable ingredients. She uses olive oil as a base, adds water and an alkaline solution, and lets the mixture sit and saponify slowly for about one and a half months. Rich in moisturizing glycerin, the soap washes away impurities without leaving the skin feeling dry or tight.

In recent years, Toyoda has been sourcing ingredients like the lees of sake produced in Aso in a quest to make soap that speaks of local producers. Embodying the essence of the natural environment and her gratitude to the people she has met and come to know, Toyoda’s soap promises to pamper the user’s skin and soul.

Handmade soap that uses natural ingredients from it’s hometown Minamiaso, Kumamoto.
Focusing on craftsman throughout Japan, UR Doors and Papersky have featured many of Japan’s most talented ‘makers’ both within the pages of Papersky magazine as well as via an in store series called "Share the Local".
text | Akira Horiuchi photography | Takashi Ueda videography | Ryuta Iwasaki