First of all, could you tell us a little about yourself, who you are, what you do, that kind of thing.
I grew up in a little town in Shimane, Japan. I went to art school in Chicago after high school and studied fashion design there, I then moved to NYC for my job. I moved back to Japan about a year ago and settled here, now I work in the game industry which is kind of funny… I also have a local FM radio show on art/music/culture at this popular beach town near Tokyo.
What are you excited about at the moment?
I have to have an operation next week and be hospitalized for a few days after that, but I don’t have to work or anything, so I’m just going to watch tons of shitty action movies (god I love shitty action movies) and make a new zine. I’m pretty much excited about that!
What’s inspiring you at the moment and what are you looking forward to?
People who are really honest always inspire me. Things that are real and also things that won’t change inspire me too. Even though I live in one of the biggest cities in the world, I’m not a city person at all. I have a plan to move back to my hometown, which is in the real countryside of Japan. I want to be somewhere quiet with less pop-culture. It won’t be soon but in a few years hopefully. Imagining what I can do in the country is kind of exciting for me right now.
What made you start taking photos on your return to Japan?
I had such a shitty time in NYC, I got sucked into many stupid things and superficial culture, I was engaged but the relationship ended up a total disaster (thank god that I’m not married to that guy right now). Also I lost something really important, and at the same time both of my parents in Japan got cancer.
When I moved back to Japan, I felt really weak, dumb and mentally dead. I had no money and no plan. I used to make clothes but had no more motivation at all. Then I met this first generation Internet-fame kind of photographer who just moved to Tokyo as well. I was never into photography, but I knew about this amazing photo project that he did with his ex-girlfriend. We somehow clicked and started dating. I thought he would be a little hipster prick or something, but he wasn’t. He is pretty down-to-earth, really funny, and really talented. He helped me a lot to open my eyes and see things clearly when I was recovering from annoying depression (I was pretty much being a spoiled piece of shit.)
At that time I didn’t even think about taking photos since I didn’t want people to think that I was just copying him. But one day, he gave me his Mju-II to just play with. Once I started talking photos, I started to realise that looking through a lens really helps you to understand what your focus is, what kind of humour you have, and also what kind of things/situations that you think are beautiful, mad, and awkward. Then I realized that taking photos is about knowing myself better, and that I should not be ashamed about what I see. This is pretty much the reason why I started taking photos.
You’ve mentioned liking Shoji Ueda, do you feel yourself being influenced by Japanese artists and culture in particular?
I like Shoji Ueda, his composition is really strong and surrealistic. I like his set-up photos but I like photos that he took of his family in his normal life more. It is kind of weird but I really love to imagine stories in my head more than looking at photography or artwork sometimes. I don’t even own any photo books either.
Japanese writers have always inspired me a lot, especially writers from Meiji and Taisho period. When I was in high school, I read this brutally honest autobiography by Japanese anarchist, Sakae Osugi and it really struck me. Also, when I read essays/stories by Ryotaro Shiba and Shusaku Endo, I just imagine sharp beautiful scenery and also many mixed feelings from those stories in my head. I also love Osamu Dazai.
There are so many traditional unspoken rules that you have to follow in Japan to fit in to the society, but I like when artists or writers become so real and bare and create art by just ignoring those rules. I think I can say that Japanese madness is really mad in such an awesome way.
I love your photos by the sea. What’s your relationship with the ocean?
Why thank you! I love the ocean and taking photos there since there’s no fashion. I don’t get destracted by artificial things. I like when things are just bare and real.