vanishing trades


In the heart of Yishun lies the story of Mr Yamaguchi Taro, a cobbler who’s been dedicated to his work for the last 20 years. Mr Yamaguchi Taro resists romanticisation. It’s not that the 64-year-old cobbler isn’t proud of his skills and isn’t good at his job. He became a shoemaker’s apprentice at the age of 12 and within six months had mastered the trade well enough to churn out 40 pairs of slippers a day (sold at $2 per pair), all by hand. At 13, he decided to try his hand at carpentry and found work with a furniture-maker,…