I have been involved in various fields of work, and the knowledge, experience, as well as the lessons from both failures and successes I have gained so far, are now my most significant assets.
During my university years, I organized live rock music events and independent film screenings of rare works. Through these activities, as I designed posters and self-published magazines for promotion, I realized that design, photography, and writing were my true calling. I studied painting at the 'Setsu Mode Seminar,' led by 'Setsu Nagasawa', a pioneer in spreading design and art as culture in Japan. Although I improved my technical skills, I struggled to create original artwork. It was during this time that I became interested in product design, particularly furniture design. Seeing the blend of practicality and sculpture in furniture design, I trained as a furniture craftsman under the renowned furniture modeler 'Shigeki Miyamoto'.
Without any prior connections, I eventually became a freelance furniture designer at the age of 27. My prototype designs received high praise from well-known designers and architects. The piece I exhibited at the first Tokyo Designers Week received critical acclaim, and it was featured in magazines and on television. At the age of only 30, I quickly rose to fame as a prominent designer.
1 Moon in June
I received a revolutionary reputation as a furniture designer at a young age, but the commercial success was elusive. Custom-made furniture was too expensive, and I needed a manufacturer to mass-produce my furniture. Fortunately, a senior manager at Japan's largest office supplies manufacturer took a liking to my work and presented it at their Osaka headquarters. However, the result was a resounding 'NO!' Japanese companies were only interested in projects designed by famous architects and designers and had no interest in the designs of a relatively unknown young designer.
After that, while continuing my work in furniture, I also pursued studies in architecture by contracting with a major general contractor, working on construction sites and in the design department.
Then, a crisis hit Japan in the form of the bursting of the economic bubble. The economic downturn and bankruptcies were rampant, especially in construction, real estate, and securities-related industries. In the heart of the city, half-finished buildings were left abandoned, scattered like ruins. Naturally, my income also saw a significant reduction.
During this period, I had already started using Mac, Photoshop, and Illustrator for work. When the Internet arrived, I felt, 'This is the future!' I taught myself web design and desktop publishing (DTP), and I also started to make a living as an instructor from that time.
What sets me
apart from typical designers is the ability to handle everything from planning,
marketing, and all the way to design, including the necessary photographs,
content writings, coding, and occasionally media strategy such as Internet.
In a company like NTT Com, I don't need to handle the entire strategy. However, in businesses owned by chef-owners, such as restaurants, I take care of the media strategy, which provides the benefit of reducing the chef's workload.
I have been
utilizing my website as a kind of media until now. It's evident when people
often say, "Your website is like a magazine!"
When I was operating a website that gathered the best cake shops in Setagaya, Tokyo, our server went down due to a sudden influx of traffic when Chef Takagi from "LE PATISSIER TAKAGI," known for Kit Kat commercials of Japan, was featured on a popular TV show.
While I may be exaggerating to claim that I contributed to Japan's Sweets Craze, I take pride in having played a part.
Apart from that, I also featured women running coffee shops in food truck, which was still relatively uncommon at the time. In an era dominated by Italian cuisine, I featured French restaurants and always looked ahead, not just following trends. Currently, I'm focusing on culture, art, as well as society, humans, and the economy in the AI and Web 3 era.
My site had a very innovative UI and design.
photography was my hobby. Back in the days when there were no digital cameras,
and even auto-focus didn't exist, I struggled to take commonplace photographs
with a manual, mechanical camera.
When I started working on restaurant website's designs, menus, and advertisements, I searched for photographers, but I couldn't find anyone who met the conditions I needed. Surprisingly, when I began taking photos myself, they received positive feedback, and from that point on, I've been taking my own photos.
Photographing images for restaurant web design turned out to be more demanding than I had imagined. The job involved taking photos of lighting, table settings, food, tasting new menu items, interviewing chefs, and sometimes capturing the restaurant's interior – all within a two-hour window from 2 PM to 4 PM. However, lunch customers often linger, so I'd end up waiting until nearly 3 PM before I could start. Moreover, dinner preparation started at 4 PM, so there was no extension of time despite starting late.
Nevertheless, this experience became valuable for me. On rare occasions, such as when hiring models for photography, they'd be surprised by how quickly I worked, often asking, "Is it over already?" Naturally, I took fewer photos, and the time spent selecting photos became shorter. Writing text also became astonishingly faster. But most importantly, tasting numerous dishes from top-tier restaurants provided me with substantial creative nourishment.
I am currently creating this site, and I think that my photographs often come to life more within the context of a design than when viewed as standalone images. The unconventional style, which is not present in photos taken for materials, aligns well with my distinctive design approach.
I once took stock
photos, an experience that significantly influenced my current photography. I
was forced into a new approach to photography - capturing sellable images. It
felt like I was fitted with the 'Major League Ball Development Cast' for
Japanese anime, filled with constraints, pushing me to refine my own
sensibilities. Would I repeat the frustrating tasks I had as a designer once
again, this time in the realm of photography, which I had originally pursued as
As a result, my technical skills improved significantly, but eventually, photography became a source of discomfort. Also, with the transition to a subscription-based model, my earnings plummeted, causing me to lose motivation.
NFT became a
turning point that fundamentally changed my photography. It might be fresh in
your memory, but during the NFT bubble, artists and photographers were
consistently posting their works on Twitter, filling up the timeline with
creations. I also started posting my photos on Twitter, just like many others.
While my photos didn't appeal to everyone, it seemed they caught the attention
of some discerning individuals, photographers, and investors. However, as I
continued to see a flood of high-quality yet unoriginal photos being posted
daily, I couldn't help but wonder, 'Why is everyone repeating the same things?'
It was in that moment that I had my turning point. I created a unique style that featured Unremarkable subjects like parking lots, road lines, and blurry, ambiguous photos, setting myself apart as a maverick once again.
I had wanted to make films on my own for many years, but currently, it's impossible for an individual to produce a film. At the time, my partner was drawing manga, but the scenario was terrible, so I ended up writing it.
I wanted to write
a human drama with a social message, not what's typically found in manga, and I
didn't want to pander to populism with unrealistic fantasies.
I depicted the real dynamics of friendships and workplaces, which resulted in making many enemies, and I received online harassment. This, in a way, attests to the fact that my script delved into the essence of humanity.
I wanted to portray the strength of individuals overcoming their own wickedness in this work, but the reality of being mostly ignored by society, with only a few nods of approval, revealed the twisted nature of the modern society where many people seek entertainment, including manga, as a means to escape from reality.
This is a short SF
color manga set in the near future in a certain Southeast Asian country. It
tells the story of a war hero who becomes homeless after retiring, holding
anger against society. However, he meets a young boy who is attacked by thugs
by chance and instinctively comes to the boy's aid.
When I uploaded this manga on the internet, despite it being in Japanese, I was surprised to receive 'likes' from American Marines who had actually served in the Middle East and a group of firefighters. This work, which portrays the absurdities of society similar to Kafka's novels, resonated with people who had experienced life's absurdities firsthand.
Education and Consulting
Making your business Artistic
Putting the "aha!" in your business
I am currently exploring how to formulate strategies for various creative activities and how to utilize them for the benefit of society. I aim to experiment with this on my own and provide feedback based on the results to clients and students. In doing so, I wish to explore the potential to control modern technology, which carries the potential for veering toward destruction if mishandled, so it doesn't head in the wrong direction.