About 100



The Day that I became strong

When I was small, I admit, I was timid and afraid, significantly more so than your average child.

If I was walking down a street and no one was around, it was too quiet and scary.
And if there was someone, I would be scared of that person.
Wasn’t easy for my parents, I must say.

When I was 8, I enrolled in a judo class at the edge of the town. It was a 30-minute walk from my home to the dojo. It was late afternoon, so I had to take this dusky road all by myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the lessons, but the journey to and from the dojo was absolutely terrifying.

“Just walk on a lit road, you’ll be fine,” my mom would say. But the dense shrubbery, houses that looked like haunted mansion, and those ominous turns where you don’t know what awaits simply became this journey of fear.

I would walk or run with my eyes closed, sing loudly, and create all sorts of childish distractions, but the more I did this, the greater my fear became and I became increasingly reluctant to go to the lessons.

One day, my father, who couldn’t bear to see this, brought home a brand-new leather belt saying, “You will be strong from today and nothing will scare you from now on.”

At the time, this belt was a symbol of true strength, like of a champion or a superhero. In fact, I remember I was the only child my age who would have an authentic leather belt.

“You won’t be scared of anything if you have this belt. You can be strong. C’mon, try it on,” my father said.

The Day that I became strong image

For the very first time in my life, I put on a leather belt.

“No, no, no, you have to put it through the belt holes.” My dad laughed looking at his son wrapping the belt straight on without putting it through the belt holes.

“Hmmm, looking good. You’re fine now. You look very strong.”

I stood in front of a mirror, proud.

The belt my father got for a stick-thin boy that I was was a bit big, but boy do I remember that bright rectangular buckle and that fine smell of an authentic leather.

“I’m cool and I’m strong.”
I muttered to myself as I caught myself in the mirror.
I thought, I can walk on whatever scary street on my own from now on.


Passion of the Italian Artisan

In pursuit of the authentic high-quality belt, this leather belt was created with the craftsmen in Tuscany, Italy, one of top the leather-producing regions in the world.


The tan-treated leather is packed with the wisdom, the technology, and the passion of the forefathers of the region. The more you use it, its unique quality and taste are enriched as it takes on this fine aged appeal. The refined and distinguished handwork is seen throughout its every detail.


To Walk Alone

There are things that still scare you, even as adults, almost every day.
I still tend to scare easily.

But I also think it’s important to hold onto your fears.

Because fear pushes people to learn, to think through, bite down, and build your endurance.

It was when I was traveling in San Francisco.
That was the first time I experienced this fear of being constantly alone.
It’s like I learned what it really means to be truly on your own.

I was staying in a hotel in the Tenderloin and I had made a friend/acquaintance or two, but we weren’t always together. I remember how difficult it was when this reality of being completely alone finally dawned on me. It was something obvious but something quite difficult for a young lad like myself to embrace.

“If you want to be free, there’s no place like a book. You can dive into a story and be whoever you want to be. But the more free you become, the more alone you feel. That’s right, freedom is about solitude…”

One day, the owner of the secondhand bookstore where I bought Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson said that to me, and I said,

“I don’t want to be alone. I’m scared to be alone.”

“Well, actually, you are already alone. Because solitude is a condition of being a human. We’re all the same. You’re alone but if you can’t come to terms with it, it will always scare you. Embrace it, love it. Then you will become much stronger.”

The man continued as he stroked his cat sleeping on his lap.

“The condition of a human…”

“Precisely. Solitude is a condition of a human being. Because we are alone, we can have compassion for others and understand their weaknesses, and that’s why we help and love each other.”

To Walk Alone image

I can understand this in my head but not with my heart. As much as I wanted to, I found my weak soul, struggling to come to terms with this revelation.

Regardless, knowing that all of us in this world are all alike and that we are all alone gave me a sense of comfort.

And then I remembered the leather belt that my father gave me way back when and how at that moment, I had, in fact, embraced my solitude, to walk alone, thanks to this amazing talisman.


Elevating the Style

The saddle leather belt is one of the most stately of Italian leather belts. Thanks to Volpi, a veteran supplier of shoe soles for premium shoe brands, we were able to secure this robust 4mm-thick leather.


The traditional slit hole is a proof of their proud quality.
It goes perfectly with casual styles like denim and chinos. It reveals its traditional and authentic presence.

At the end of the day, take the belt off the trousers and place it on the table.
There is a sense of tough, sturdy, handsome appeal to it.
That’s the kind of belt I want to choose.

Yataro Matsuura
About LifeWear Story 100

What is “LifeWear story 100?”

there exist these lines of clothes
which has remained for many years,
yet never dated.
Out of the line-ups,
they are the unsung presence,
sitting quietly behind in TV ads.

Yet, they are the culmination
of the years of passion and devotion,
where UNIQLO sought to pursue
more comfort,
more durability, and
more quality.

They give shape and gravitas
to what and who UNIQLO is,
and what UNIQLO continues
to nurture with great care.

To go beyond yesterday,
to reach higher tomorrow.

When you take it in your hands,
when you try it on,
it softly speaks to you,
almost like a friend.

What is a rich quality
How is such a quality day spent?
What does happiness mean to you…

And you will find yourself
surprised to discover that such
piece of clothing has existed.

What is the UNIQLO principle?
Why do we call clothing LifeWear?
What kind of clothes constitute

Here, we go deep into
the root of LifeWear,
to know
and to tell.
And I hope to write
stories that revolve
around LifeWear and myself.

LifeWear story 100 will be
a story about a journey with me and LifeWear.

Yataro Matsuura

Yataro Matsuura
Yataro Matsuura

Essayist, editor. Born 1965 in Tokyo.
For nine years from 2005, under the leadership of the founder, Shizuko Ohashi, he was the chief editor for the magazine, “Kurashi no Techo.” Since, he launched an online media site, “Kurashi no Kihon.” Currently, sits as a director for Oishii Kenko Ltd. Recognized for his eye for style and experience in presenting ideas for quality lifestyle. Regularly writes in his columns in newspapers and magazines. Has penned numerous best-sellers including “Kyo mo Teinei ni” and “Shigoto no Kihon Kurashi no Kihon 100.” Hosts a radio program on NHK Radio 1, “Karen Style.”