Dragon Associates Inc.

Belt Embroidery & How we do it!

There is a Huge Difference
Blue Belt Small
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Few people can produce embroidered karate belts the way we can!

The very best quality

Japanese karate belt Embroidery

From Dragon Associates

Japanese is a complicated language. A dictionary just won’t give you what you need. Click the cat for details!

ManekiNeko copy

We only embroider karate belts and uniforms and after 20  years we are really good at it! 

ManekiNeko copy
Our service is fast, reasonably priced and personalized. If you have any questions whatsoever, please call us. 818 889 3856.

In 1964, the Tajima Company of Nagoya, Japan, developed the industrial embroidery machine to embroider ladies’ formal kimono sashes (obi), as the cost of hand embroidery had become prohibitive. We took advantage of this technological breakthrough to overcome the long-standing problem of defacing karate belts by oversewing the embroidery design when assembling the belt. 
Originally, the machine operator would guide the single layer of belt cover fabric through a swing-needle sewing machine with both hands to produce an embroidered design, “by eye.” He controlled machine speed with his left foot and the width of the zig-zag with a pad operated by his right knee. This needed skill and a great deal of experience. It was also impossible to correct anything if a mistake was made. Additionally, the black belt fabric would often show through the (gold or red) embroidery thread, spoiling the effect entirely.

Japanese Embroidery

In 1975 we became the British national distributor for the Tokaido company while their uniforms were still being made in Japan, and soon afterwards, their second-largest foreign distributor. As we have always been 50% Japanese-owned, we started importing custom-made embroidered belts from Tokaido around 1978. Unfortunately, they took a long time to arrive, they were costly, and the factory still did not have the commercial machines capable of embroidering all the way through the belt. 
We decided to “do-it-ourselves” and spent months researching but found no answers. The new computer-controlled embroidery machines did not have the large Japanese fonts we needed, and what computer software there was tended to be primitive and very expensive. Custom embroidery, we discovered, was a secretive world, and the inhabitants wanted it to stay that way to limit choice and maximize their jncomes! 
Coming from a graphics/book publishing background, we were able to modify existing, stable software to meet our needs. Then we reference point scanned hundreds of  characters in the Japanese ‘alphabet” by hand, creating a collection of around 2,500 images in two distinct fonts at about double the size of our largest anticipated work output. After a certain amount of tweaking, we found the right combination of stitch density, sewing speed and thread tensions that gave excellent results consistently when using the very best materials.

We soon determined that to produce truly superior Japanese karate embroidery we needed to:

…buy the biggest and best Japanese made, multi-needle industrial embroidery sewing machine available, in our case from Tajima Industries, Nagoya, Japan the inventors of the automatic embroidery machine.

…train our Japanese speaking staff to use the proprietary software we had developed to individually  digitize our own Japanese characters and designs in order to optimize their quality regardless of their reproduction size.

…never compromise on embroidery materials-therefore we use only German made Madera threads and Groz-Beckert needles that cost as much as 300% more than those of other makers.

Every belt is a custom project

You Work Exclusively with your own embroiderer

You worked hard for that belt, wear it with pride!

How to Order Your Black Belt
Please read the directions below and follow them carefully. Our belts are custom made; in others words, made for you and you alone. Therefore, the more input we get from you, the happier you will be with the unique product you will receive.
Important Points
1.Decide on the type, color and size of belt that you need; numerical sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so carefully measure a belt that fits you well.
2. Go to our embroidery section and choose the type, color and location of the embroidery you need.If the design are the same length, we can remove the belt label for a small extra charge.
Remember that embroidery looks best when it starts around 2” from the belt tip and ends around two inches from where the belt is tied into a knot, If you decide to embroider both sides of your belt, order the designs separately and remember that it will look best if the shorter of the two embroidered designs goes on the end where the label is sewn.
3. When you have submitted your order, please call us on 818 889 3856 so we can discuss the layout with you so we produce exactly the belt that you want.
Best Quality

get to know Your Embroidery Consultant

To ensure your complete satisfaction you will deal with the same embroidery consultant from start to finish.

Listen to our Advice

We can save you time, money and anguish. We are very experienced and will spend as much time with you as necessary to create the belt that you really want.

聞くは一時の恥, 聞かぬは末代の恥.

Remember the Japanese proverb: “To ask may be a moment's shame, but not to ask and to remain ignorant is an everlasting shame.” So, ask away! Call 818 889 3856 We are here to help and take pleasure in doing so!
client satisfaction
Correct completion of order
Ship within 72 hours of receipt of order
Product Quality
Embroidery Q and A

Different dojo may have suggestions they would like you to follow, so ask before ordering embroidered belts or uniforms. However, the belief that embroidery is not allowed is a fallacy.I have never trained at or even heard of a legitimate dojo where embroidery is banned.

Don’t try DIY and use a dictionary. Japanese is a very different language from English and things can go badly wrong if you do. Also, accept the fact also that some things just don’t translate because they are not common to both cultures. If you order your embroidered belts and uniforms from us we will provide you with perfect translations, free of charge. We guarantee that they will be correct!

Starting off with, for example, our newly introduced 1.75” SENPAI black belt at $9.95, if you add, Shotokan in Japanese (3 characters = $15) and your name in Japanese (Wilson 5 characters = $15) your total will be $39.95. Unlike other suppliers we do not charge for translations or setup.

All embroidery is done “in house” in our own studio, therefore we can usually ship your belt order within 72 hours of receipt.

Almost any time. We are open from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM Mon – Sat Pacific Standard Time. Just call 818 889 3856 and speak to one of our expert staff.

As we produce much of what we sell we are able to offer a unique personal service to our customers. Just call us on 818 889 3856 and you will speak to someone who has spent their entire career dealing with quality martial arts equipment. If we don’t have what you are looking for we will tell you just that! 

As with all custom made items the answer is no! The reason we work so closely with you during the design stage is to make sure that this does not happen!

If you are in any doubt whatsoever please call us and we will help you. Please remember that we have been around for a long time and all the senior instructors know us and recognize our work. Therefore we will not do anything that would embarrass you, or us!

Meijin Belt Specifications
Belt Size123456789
Belt Length78”86”94”102”110”118”126”134”142”

If you are not sure how to order and have questions, please do call us and ask to speak to one of our embroidery specialists. This is also a good way to place your order as in the case of custom orders they will need special information from you as well. We are open from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM Pacific Time Monday – Saturday. You can also e-mail directly to mamasan@dragon-tsunami.org

Japanese custom embroidery is a very specialized field in which we have a great deal of experience. Please have all your questions ready and we will speed you through the process and make it as easy and stress free as possible!

Make sure that your black belt is well made, expertly embroidered, and the Japanese is correctly spelled. Meijin guarantee all three!


Meijin Senpai Belts.
This is an actual example of our new SENPAI belt as used by the Tenchi Dojo in Dalton, GA. The belt costs just $9.95 and the five embroidered characters “Tenchi Goju Ryu,” $20. 

Black Red Belt Scan

For Discounts on 5 + Meijin Uniforms & 1.5" belts, please Call 818 889 3856 or e-mail mamasan@dragon-tsunami.org

10% Discount + FREE style or name embroidery on every uniform ordered.

Dojo Discounts!

Get $15 off now

Purchase your Meijin uniform, chose your embroidery design, apply the discount code when you check out and your discount will be applied

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      About Japanese Translations

      Outside many traditional stores in Japan that were established before the 1800s, you will find a Maneki Neko or welcoming cat. His presence brings good fortune to all, welcomes you to his store, and signifies the emporium he represents is noted for its high quality traditional goods and excellent service.
      As an old established martial arts company, we still use the maneki neko on our website to welcome customers, assure them of the quality of our goods and services, and guide them to the information they seek. Just click on the nearest lucky cat to the product that interests you and he will deliver the additional information you require! 

      Dragon Associates Inc.
      Since 1968