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2009年1月31日 (土)

刑務所製品:「マル獄」グッズ人気 安くて品質よし

(Mainichi Japan) January 31, 2009

Made in prison: Inmates' hot items a surprise fashion hit

刑務所製品:「マル獄」グッズ人気 安くて品質よし

How do you find cheap, hit products in the middle of a recession? Just look to the prison system.

刑務所作業製品で人気のマル獄グッズ 財布のひもをがっちり締めがちな最近の消費者に人気が出ている商品がある。刑務所で作られた作業製品だ。安価でしかも品質がよいと、ネット販売で数分で売り切れてしまう人気ブランドも出現した。【木村葉子】

Leading the way is Marugoku, a Hakodate Juvenile Prison brand, the first line of prison-made products to be trademarked. Its first run of 100 aprons -- made of dark blue canvas, with a white "goku" (prison) kanji character inside a white circle ("maru") design -- sold out online within a few minutes. In addition to the logo, "Prison" (in English), "Open Today" and "Established in the second year of the Meiji Era", the prison's opening year, are printed on the apron.


The design was the brainchild of the prison's judicial affairs officer, who unsuccessfully applied for permission to use the Ministry of Justice's paulownia crest before coming up with the Marugoku design.


Apart from aprons, the line-up contains 13 other items, including a bag made of Japanese-patterned fabric (1,980 yen). In two years, the organization has sold around 10,000 aprons, and has had total sales of 24 million yen.


The products themselves are made at the prison's sewing mill, where 100 or so detainees produce work clothes to order for government offices and businesses. The Marugoku project was originally conceived as an off-season project, but prodigious sales mean that stock is currently almost sold out.


The idea is not new. Ichihara Prison has been producing additive-free naturally brewed miso since 1972, using domestically-produced soybeans, as well as its own brand of soy sauce. And at Yokohama Prison, inmates have been making udon noodles for the past 15 or so years, using Australian wheat flour to make a hand-kneaded dough.





But according to an official at the Correctional Association Prison Industry Cooperation (CAPIC), the aim isn't to rake in money; prices are particularly low because the project is a not-for-profit endeavor: the aim is simply to instill prisoners with a sense of achievement through regular work. But with hard-working prisoners securing early releases, prisons are starting to pair up new inmates with the more experienced ones in order to maintain product quality.


"Even those who hate the idea of prison-made products should change their mind after seeing the quality of their workmanship," says the CAPIC official.



毎日新聞 2009129日 1541分(最終更新 130日 847分)


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