For people and the planet–to
achieve what no one else can.
Clarino™ is a brand name for microfiber leather manufactured by Kuraray Co., Ltd.
We are committed to developing new fields of business using pioneering technology that improves the environment and enhances the quality of life throughout the world.
Kuraray is a global leader in specialty chemical, fiber, resin and film production. The company was founded by Magosaburo Ohara in 1926 as a family owned business in Kurashiki, Japan. He was driven by a strong feeling of responsibility to his community and built a hospital and dormitory for employees and residents as well as three organizations to address labor, agriculture and social issues. He also founded the first private musuem featuring Western art in Japan. In the 1950s post-war period, Kuraray became a world leader in the commercialization of PVA fiber and became Japan's first domestic producer of synthetic fiber based on original Japanese technologies. This ushered in Japan's pioneering era in the chemical synthetic fiber industry. By expanding the PVA fiber business their portfolio changed from a textile to chemical industry. In the 1960s, there was lack of materials because of limited natural resources- almost all natural leather had to be imported. Clarino™ microfiber leather was founded on the basis of contributing to the redevelopment of Japan.
Learn more about the history of Kuraray.
Magosaburo Ohara’s successor, Soichiro Ohara, strongly believed in independent self-reliance. "It is not desirable for us, now or in the future, to overly praise any method or approach used to improve oneself, whether it consists of simply copying and adapting an existing method or entails purchasing the knowledge from others in the form of an acquisition. If we ever forget that those things truly worth having are only found within ourselves and are acquired through our own dedication and effort, this then would in effect be no different than casting away all hope for the future." The drive for innovative methods led to the creation of Vinylon, the first synthetic fiber developed using original Japanese technology. It became the driving force behind the successive creation of diverse and original product lines.
Clarino™ was the first to successfully commercialize microfiber leather in 1964. The material was developed following initial research into compound ultra-fine fiber, non-woven material, and high-performance polymers. These discoveries eventually led to the successful duplication of the complex structure of natural leather and enabled Clarino™ to debut materials that exhibit and surpass natural leather’s special inherent qualities. When the first R&D team was established, they challenged themselves by targeting the most difficult application- shoes. Shoes must withstand considerable wear and tear and are the ultimate test for the durability of materials. The team established the culture of the company that endures today; and emphasis on well-crafted manufacturing and producing materials with long life-spans.
View a list of Industry Awards received for the development of original technologies.
Amid heightening concern surrounding environmental issues, Kuraray introduced an innovative new process that does not utilize organic solvents in the production of certain microfiber leathers. It succeeded in significantly reducing usage of organic solvents. In addition, Kuraray overcame the stiff texture often seen in water-based microfiber leathers by employing newly developed production processes and ultra-fine fibers to give the material a texture, fullness and appearance close to that of natural leather. In 2010, Kuraray received the Industry Award for “Environment-Friendly, Organic Solvent-Free Clarino™ Man-Made Leather Commercialization”
- Organic solvent usage reduction by 99%
- Water consumption reduction by 70%
- CO2 emission reduction by 35%
- Better physical properties especially bonding and tear strength
- Low and even elongation
LONG MATERIAL LIFESPAN
A long material lifespan has been a top priority for Clarino™ since its founding. "Randoseru" are hard-cased backpacks used by virtually all schoolchildren in Japan. Families invest in a sturdy "Randoseru" when their child enters school. The backpack is expected to last all six years of primary school, so "Randoseru" are accordingly built to last.
Originally, "Randoseru" were made from genuine leather. Today, more than 70 percent are made from Kuraray’s microfiber leather, Clarino™. Its ability to resist abrasion, tearing, and drying better than genuine leather, makes it the optimal material schoolchildren's backpacks. Even after six years, "Randoseru" stays in great shape. Therefore, Kuraray participates in the JOICFP "Sending School Backpacks Across the Sea" program that distributes donated used school bags to children in Afghanistan and other areas affected by war. The backpacks are donated every year together with stationery and letters. Thus far, they have been sent to Afghanistan, Mongolia and Nepal. By fiscal 2014, a cumulative total of 90,279 backpacks were sent and plans are set to expand in other countries in the future.
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