We specialize in Spanish down and create products
through the relentless pursuit of perfection
in material selection and processing.



NANGA is dedicated to pursuing high-quality down and specializes in domestic manufacturing to create top-notch down products.
Here, we'll introduce some facts on raw feathers that determine the performance of down products as well as on one of Japan's leading refinery technologies to achieve the ultimate product performance.

NANGA attaches a certificate of origin to each and every down product to clearly indicate the country of origin. Products previously indicated as "White Duck Down" in the certificate have now been switched to 100% Spanish White Duck Down. Up until now, the down had a mix of origins from France, Spain, and Hungary, so the origin was labeled as "European." What was to be gained from restricting the country of origin from Europe to Spain?
"Currently, the majority of down on the market is of the Peking variety from China. However, we primarily handle European White Duck down from Spain and France. The raw down we use for NANGA products have all been switched to Spanish down," explains Masahiro Kawada of KAWADA Feather Sales Co., Ltd., who is in charge of manufacturing the products for NANGA. The species of waterfowl is not the only factor that determines the quality and performance of down products. The environment and duration of which the waterfowl were raised also heavily sway the quality of down. In transitioning the origin of raw down, Mr. Kawada traveled to a mountainside in Spain with Tomoyuki Yokota, the president of NANGA INC., to inspect the duck breeding facilities.

"France has a long-established history of breeding waterfowl, and breeders still go by the old-fashioned methods. This explains why French down is highly regarded. However, because they have such a long history, it is not rare to see facilities just as old when you actually visit the breeders. On the other hand, the Spanish breeders, who are still new to the industry, have implemented state-of-the-art facilities on extensive areas of land, and the waterfowl are raised in a relaxed and comfortable environment that is kept exceptionally hygienic––so much so that you won't even notice the odor despite the countless number of waterfowl raised in captivity. Equipped with the facilities, environment, and a large-scale breeding system, I expect there will be a surging growth of Spanish down in the future."

Down and feathers are byproducts of processed poultry products. In Spain, where the majority of the poultry market dealings are with France and other European countries with rich food culture, waterfowl are matured over long periods to improve their meat quality. This also becomes an advantage for the quality of Spanish down. While most duck downs from a Peking variety are plucked from young waterfowl raised for no more than 40 days, the Spanish breeders will take 80 days to raise their birds. Large, mature waterfowl will produce down that is durable and exceptionally resilient, resulting in high fill power. The difference in the quality of these raw downs becomes apparent in the course of their usage. Down products filled with mature down are less prone to losing their volume and maintains their loft even after prolonged use.

"There is also a factor that the birds are less susceptible to bird flu as Spain is located off the route of migratory birds. To add to that, the farms are secluded on the mountainside of Spain, which further minimizes the risk of the birds becoming exposed to viruses. All of these environmental factors provide an additional advantage to Spanish down."
The top-grade down feathers produced through these efforts are taken to Kawada Feather––who is equipped with one of the world's leading facilities and technologies––to tailor the down products to the finest quality.

Kawada Feather's processing factory is located in Meiwa-cho, Taki-gun, Mie Prefecture. In search of a suitable location to process down, Kawada Feather arrived at this location, a town blessed with a dry climate and one of the most pristine soft water in the country.
"Clean down is essential for making fine-quality down products. At our company, we apply the technology that we have established over the years to completely eliminate fine particles of dust and dirt as well as dander and oils produced by the waterfowl that are undetectable to the naked eye. Well-cleaned down doesn't lose its volume as much and improves its durability. Also, water-repelling agents apply better on clean down during the processing. The down is removed of dust and allergens, which are hotbeds for bacteria, so allergies are less likely to occur."

Let's now take a look at the actual refining process performed at Kawada Feather. The first step is the de-dusting process. Raw down is removed of fine dust, oxidized oils, and sand before the washing process. "It's important that we strip all of the larger particles of waste off of the down in this process," says Mr. Kawada. De-dusting will clear away 20% of foreign matter from the raw down. The washing process involves the use of super-soft water and special detergent to wash the down in a large front-load washer. The Kawada method cleans the down using a complexity of water streams to rub the down feathers against one another, similar to the way rice is washed. Mr. Kawada describes, "Imagine peeling off a single fine layer from the outer surface of the down." It is for a fact, that raw down that has completed the washing process will become much whiter.
"For the washing process, we draw super soft water, with a hardness level of 3, from a water source in Mt. Odaigahara. The fine water particles require less detergent and have high penetrating power; as such, the water penetrates every structural cavity of the down to remove the finest particles of dirt and oils. The weak-alkaline properties of the water can revive the areas affected by oxidation and repair damages to the down. The water quality is perfect for processing down, and that's why we went out of our way to move our factory to this location."

After two washes and four rinses, the down is promptly dried at temperatures ranging from 140-150℃. Once the down has cooled, it is time for another round of de-dusting. The down would be completely eliminated of grime, dust, and feather scraps in the washing process. The next step is the sorting of down and feathers using the force of the air. The down is then tested for quality, and only those that have exceeded company standards, which are set to much stricter criteria than those established by the Japan Down Products Corporative Association, are sent to the final blending process.
To maintain the same level of quality throughout the year, downs of uniform quality from the same species and country of origin are taken from different processing batches to be blended together in a mixing machine. Since down and feathers are natural products, each piece of material will differ in the way it lofts or becomes limp, and these variations won't be detected through numeric data. Kawada Feather uses its unique methods to account for these differences and finish the down with consistent quality.

The refined down resulting from these processes is the Kawada-standard down. The finished products are bagged into anti-static sacks before being shipped out to manufacturers. There, the down is tailored for the production of garments and duvets at manufacturing plants in Japan and overseas.
"Down and feathers consist of hard keratin, which means they are composed of carbon. So they are inherently durable materials. These natural resources possess superior properties that can withstand use for over 100 years, or 200 years if washed with soft water. We want our customers to cherish our down and enjoy them for a long time. That is why we are committed to maintaining quality. We will continue our endeavor in delivering down that has been assured of its safety and quality."

Kawada Feather Co., Ltd.
Kawada Feather Co., Ltd.

Established in 1891, Kawada Feather is a down and feather manufacturer who was the first in Japan to create down ski garments designed to be worn both on and off the slopes. The company sources high-quality downs that have been handpicked from domestic and international suppliers. These down and feathers are washed and refined in the processing factory in Japan and delivered with the assurance of their safety, quality, and cleanliness. In the course of spending over a century in constant engagement with down, Kawada Feather has established its own technologies and principles. Their outstanding craftsmanship has earned them the largest market share in Japan. Presently, the company is an active participant in the down recycling business in which down is repurposed as a renewable resource.