WAZA is a lifestyle shop and platform that curates Japanese products for the global market. We source unique products from the traditional to the cutting edge, exhibiting modern Japanese tastes from technology to tableware to food and fashion.

Founded in 2011 in NYC, our mission is to showcase traditional Japanese techniques and modern design. Combining the Japanese concepts of “Wa,” an ancient word for Japan that also means harmony, and “Waza” for master craftsmanship, we derive our name out of respect for our heritage and the skill developed through our history and culture. 

We are passionately dedicated to introducing exclusive, and distinctive creations and ideas from Japan to the world.

Takayoshi Ito Picture

About Founder Takayoshi Ito

After graduating from Keio University, Takayoshi Ito joined Isetan Co., Ltd. where he was responsible for merchandising, product policy, and purchase planning for men’s fashion. In 1991, Takayoshi took over his family business, Xeez Co., Ltd a men’s and women’s specialty retail business. With his interest in fashion and retail, he became involved in helping Japanese companies expand globally, advising them on brand development and merchandising. Based on this experience, Takayoshi came up with the concept of WAZA which would become a global platform for Japanese products.

In 2011, a small WAZA store opened at Kinokunya, a Japanese bookstore in the center of Manhattan and due to its popularity, Takayoshi decided to open a flagship store in 2017 in Soho, New York with a wider selection of Japanese products. Following the pandemic of 2020, WAZA became an online store with the hopes of having a concept place for customers to experience Japanese products prior to purchasing them. In September of 2021, his hopes came into fruition and  WAZA Concept Place & Online Store opened at the Japan House Los Angeles.