"I can't ask a craftsperson to make something cheaply, or to produce 1,000 items. I have to find 10 artisans to each create 100 quality items," says Jun Nakagawa, president of the crafts-revitalization business Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten. "That's what makes it tricky."

Nakagawa, seated in the office of his company's new Omotesando store, is explaining some of the issues that he has had to face in his mission to help craftspeople in Japan become self-sufficient.

He is definitely not the first to attempt to revitalize the country's traditional craft industry, but none of the initiatives before him have been as successful as Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten. Since Nakagawa joined the company 14 years ago, it has opened 48 outlets, established 17 partnered brands and developed six of its own. Many brands on the list — which include To & Fro travel goods, the minimalist THE concept store and 2&9 socks — have been championed by Japanese tastemakers such as Casa Brutus, Figaro and Discover Japan.