2021年2月3日  |  Column


Today I’m going to introduce “Batik”. What is Batik if you ask? It is easy to misunderstood Batik for being a traditional pattern on a traditional fabric from Indonesia. While in actuality Batik itself refer to the fabric dyeing technique that originated from the island of Java in Indonesia. 

As explained above, Batik a word has became synonymous with the fabric or the pattern itself, and nowadays there are various types of Batik that has been developed outside the island of Java, including some of the well known ones such as Malay Batik, Minangkabau Batik, or Balinese Batik (which is arguably the most well known type of Batik in Japan due to the higher number of tourists that visited Bali island compared to other parts of Indonesia). Outside Indonesia, the development of various kinds of Batik could also be found in the neighboring country such as in Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore with their own distinct style and pattern. The strong cultural significance of Batik in these countries other than Indonesia could also be prominently found in Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines that chose Batik as their cabin attendant uniforms.

Crowdfunding Project: Kersaloka

The reason why I talk about Batik today is because last week I just received a package from a crowdfunding project that my friend did called “Kersaloka”. The project itself was born out of the founder’s frustration towards the changes in work and economic situation due to COVID-19 pandemic. Being frustrated with various economic cuts done by the company she worked on, a thought came to her mind “what about those people in impoverished region in Indonesia?”. Thus she came up with the idea to bring create an economic opportunity for those people (and for herself of course) as well as to introduce one particularly important cultural heritage in arts and craft from Indonesia to Japan.

The project started as a crowdfunding project, and as I remember it has relatively low funding goal at 200.000 JPY, which is not difficult to achieve. I even thought some could even use their own personal saving to fund this project. However, later I learned that the reason is not only to save your own personal savings to work on a project that may or may not work, but crowdfunding is also very useful as a promotional tool, to build hype before you need to commit yourself fully into realizing the project.

I think it is rather brilliant solution, if we think that even if you had the money to immediately fund the project to bring the Batik goods into and market it in Japan. By the time you wanted to market these Batik goods, nobody knows your project / business yet thus you still need to work on your promotion that may cost you more of your time, effort, and money. By going crowdfunding, you prepare the market first for your presence before diving in, where you can read the response and test the water whether you need to restrategize your plan for success.

The Goods

As I mentioned previously, I received the package yesterday because I contribute to the crowdfunding project. I chose the package from KesengsengLasem, which includes two Batik mask, a totebag, bookmark, and a handkerchief. Being born and raised in the island of Sumatra, I’m not as familiar with the various types of Batik and its pattern compared to people from Java. My most familiar style of Batik is one of the most traditional and oldest type of pattern with brown color, which in my childish memory I consider for being dull (despite of the rich cultural heritage that I didn’t know yet at that time), but then look at these Batik goods that I just receive! These are absolutely gorgeous, rich in colors and details that I actually think that Japanese people would also love these. I do wish my friends in Kersaloka would be successful in their endeavor to bring and introduce more of these gorgeous Batik to the Japanese market!

So now, for those who are interested in these Batik, why not drop by at their instagram page https://www.instagram.com/kersaloka.jp/