Simplicity at its core.
"Design must dedicate itself to nature's principle of least effort, in other words, doing the most with the least."
- Victor Papanek "Design for the Real World"
My name is Kan Yamamoto, a graphic designer/craftsman based in the village of Tosayama, Kochi, Japan. I design and make all of our products.
After spending my twenties in Switzerland and Berlin practicing the fine arts and graphic design, I returned to my home in order to dig deep into my own cultural roots and to contribute to the local community.
In Japan, we have the tradition of utilizing paper in every aspect of daily life, from architecture to utensils. Although a piece of paper might be considered imperfect as a material because of its fragility, the real beauty lies in its versatility and the wisdom inherent in the design.
I created a universal tool for the world while staying true to Japanese tradition. Kamino Wallets are creative, sustainable, and simplicity in its purest form, merging the art of the Japanese paper folding “Origami,” and the material developed by modern technology to make a minimalistic wallet with maximum utility.
A change in our life often starts with the smallest step.
I hope a Kamino Wallet can be that step for you.
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By the way, “Kamino” means “Made of paper” in Japanese.
Check out my interview with Starter Story to know more about the story behind this project.
My story is also featured on the Side Hustle School, a podcast by Chris Guillebeau.
Our small workshop where everything is happening.
Our home: Tosayama Village, Kochi, Japan
Profile - Kan Yamamoto
Born in 1981 in Kochi, Japan. From 2002 to 2011, I practiced graphic design in Switzerland and graduated from the Berlin University of the Arts with a Meisterschüler degree in Fine Art.
In 2011, I returned to Kochi and co-founded a nonprofit, Tosayama Academy, in a mountainous village called Tosayama to pass on the local wisdom and culture to younger generations.
I established my own design studio, Monto Studio, in 2015.
While designing workshops and working in the woods managing forests, I started the Kamino Wallet in 2018 as an experiment to see if one could create a global yet sustainable business in such a remote village, and the answer is a simple yes.
My focus right now is to deliver better products under the Kamino Wallet, but at the same time, I'm always in pursuit of ideas for a better, sustainable future.
Kan Yamamoto Designer/Founder