TMS Features —

The Luminaries,
Part II:


It seems tucked away in every corner of Tokyo, there is a master at work.

It’s 6pm in the glitzy district of Aoyama, and World Champion of Shoe Shining, Yuya Hasegawa’s shoe lounge - Brift H is bustling with customers.

In a culture where things are made to last (read: Mottainai), leather care for personal accessories has transcended from a basic service and into a craft, an artform.


Mottainai is a Japanese term expressing ‘what a waste’ - of items that are ‘too good to be thrown away’. When you are in a land of craftsmanship, what is seemingly a mundane everyday object (in this case, the shoes) are in fact meticulously handcrafted for maximum durability and functionality. Essentially they are alleviated to a personal piece of art - which will only be even more personalized with use over time.

Caring for your shoes has become a fundamental part of the creative and personalization process of bespoke shoes, and this is made possible by pioneering individuals such as Yuya Hasegawa.

Convicted on his path, Yuya Hasegawa founded Brift H, then only aged 23.”

Better in Time

Yuya Hasegawa can be said to be one of the biggest contributor in alleviating the trade of shoe shining to a work of art. It was not always the effortlessly sleek experience that one will get in the Brift H parlour - Hasegawa, then only 20 years old,  started his shoe shining ‘training’ in Tokyo Station with a shoe shining kit he cobbled together from a 100 Yen store. It is also then, armed with his own research on leather (that involved sticking a shoe into a microwave and recording the results) as well as a constant pursuit of perfecting his craft (with every dissatisfied customer comment taken as an opportunity to learn and improve), that Hasegawa has created his own unique vision of the art of shoe shining. Convicted on his path, Yuya Hasegawa founded Brift H, then only aged 23.

The interiors of the Brift H is small but efficiently designed. A shoe shine bar is where the shoe shine artisans work - designed to “even out” the eye levels between the customers and the shoe shiner. (Traditionally, shoe shiners looks up to their customers when shining shoes). Soft jazz music plays in the background. The place, bathed in a soft warm light, looked like a private gentlemen’s club.

Every single detail of Brift H from the interiors to the actual shoe shine process is a reflection of Hasegawa’s diligence to his craft, but also an unwavering passion to inspire in his work, to alleviate his craft into an esteemed profession.

Like his craft, Yuya’s mastery only gets better in time, and as with every shoe under the hands of Yuya Hasegawa and his team, the art of shoe shining shines a little more.

Brift H

PAN南青山 204
Minato, 東京都 〒107-0062

+81 3-3797-0373