Our site uses cookies and other technologies to give you the best possible experience. By using this site you are consenting to their use and accept our policies. Learn more...


The Geta Prince: A New Take on Tradition

VOD for this program is no longer available.

Aired: June 29, 2018 (UTC)


Hita City in northern Kyushu is known for its timber industry and also its geta sandals. Masayuki Motono is a young artisan pouring his energy into coming up with innovative ideas to preserve the wooden sandal tradition. At the age of 25, he took over as the third generation in his family’s geta business, and has come to be known as the “Geta Prince.”
Motono’s geta are made from local Japanese cedar, but their design often takes a sharp departure from tradition. He aims for styles that will suit modern fashion, and some of them already have a year-long waiting list. Motono is reinvigorating Hita geta with the flexible mind of youth. We track a young artisan’s wide-ranging efforts to produce and promote “Hita geta that are loved by all” and his thoughts behind them.


How to reach Hita, Oita Pref.

To reach Hita City in Oita Prefecture, take a two-hour flight from Tokyo to Fukuoka. It is about an hour and 15 minutes on the limited express line to Hita Station.

Popular sightseeing spots

Popular areas in Hita include the Mameda area, where visitors can take a historical walk along the streets that goes back to the Edo period. Another is the Kuma-machi area, where tourists can enjoy meals in a “yakata-bune” or houseboat on the Mikuma River and relax at hot spring hotels along the river.

Mameda area
Kuma-machi area

Director’s note

Hiroaki Takahashi

Director, Oita Broadcasting System, Inc.

People in the geta industry are decreasing year by year. There used to be about 200 geta workshops during its peak, but it has now dropped to 10.
Motono-san says,
“I hope to spark interest towards traditional geta through our modern designs.”
“To protect tradition is our main goal.”
The new geta sandals were born with the aim of changing the current situation. The modern designs are indeed fashionable and charming, and they also keep the original feature of being comfortable to wear. I went on with my coverage while fantasizing the sandals becoming the latest craze in Tokyo.
Motono-san’s sandals are already available in major shops in Japan and online stores, and are steadily gaining recognition nationwide. He makes each of them by hand together with local artists, so high-volume production could be difficult. But this is the very reason why each single geta can be made with 100% commitment. I am sure that customers will be surprised at its design and the delicate skill put into its creation.
When Motono-san succeeded their business, and was endearingly nicknamed the Geta Prince, he was in his 20’s. Now he is 36 years old.
I hope for more people to visit Hita, and take an up close look at his works. I believe they can change the perception towards geta sandals completely.

More Videos To Explore

Our Series

Catch Japan Explore a colorful variety of modern Japan’s most popular topics, including food, technology, ecology and regional promotions, with a focus on the innovative ideas and passionate effort from the people behind it all.
Washoku World Challenge The series will follow the regional qualifying tournaments and the final tournament of the sixth “Washoku World Challenge,” a cooking contest in which non-Japanese Washoku chefs from throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Japan will pit their skills against one another, as they strive in earnest to inherit, pass on and cultivate their Washoku cooking skills.
A documentary series that features remarkable industries in Japan. The program introduces the history and wisdom behind Japan’s technological strength and specialties, which are helping to revitalize regional areas of the country.
The Next 100 Years Iconic Japanese company Panasonic is celebrating 100 years in business.What is this leading Japanese enterprise doing to ensure the company thrives for the next 100 years? One key strategy is to take a fresh look at the potential of the people who form the backbone of the company and another key challenge is to create new value.
Future Highway Express As globalization rapidly accelerates, truck logistics routes that connect various countries are playing a key role in supporting each national economy. These are the Future Highways that are creating the path into the future. Seen through the eyes of the truck drivers, this two-part series program depicts the landscapes and places of interest in each region.
ASEAN Now and the Future -Connectivity and Economic Corridors- 2017 is ASEAN’s 50th anniversary. This series was produced as a joint project to commemorate the anniversary with the TV stations of four ASEAN countries,Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam – by examining their cooperative relations with Japan and the impact of the East-West and Southern Economic Corridors on the economies and ways of life of the Indochina Peninsula.
The Road to Recovery The coastal areas of Japan’s Tohoku Region suffered unprecedented damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake.This series shines a spotlight on the efforts of people from Iwate Prefecture, Miyagi Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture, who are now working hard toward achieving “Recovery of Industry,” “Recovery of Tourism” and “Food Safety & Peace of Mind.” What are the underpinnings of their ongoing hope?
Check Other Series