MMN INTERVIEW: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu speaks about her experiences performing abroad in the run up to her 4th World Tour
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s 4th world tour, officially titled Kyary Pamyu Pamyu World Tour 2018 THE SPOOKY OBAKEYASHIKI -PUMPKINS STRIKE BACK-, begins on May 20.
This tour is a continuation of her Halloween themed concert inspired by obakeyashiki, or Japanese haunted houses, which was first held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in late October last year. The concert received widespread attention, such as for its promotional horror inspired trailer, as well as the on-stage performance itself and its many elements. Now, Kyary is set to take her Halloween show overseas. I spoke to her about the concept behind the live show, her thoughts on her three previous world tours, and her new single that was just released this month.
Interview & Text: Mami Naruta / Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
――Your fourth world tour will take on the same ‘Japanese style haunted house’ theme as your Halloween event THE SPOOKY OBAKEYASHIKI ～PUMPKINS STRIKE BACK～ that was held in October 2017, correct?
Up until now, my world tour shows have had a sort of “Hi, I’m Kyary Pamyu Pamyu!” self-introductory kind of feel to them. I think there are a lot of fans overseas who have come to like what I do after seeing the content of my music videos, so when I performed live, I wore the same looks from those videos, and mostly sang songs that foreign fans would know. I think if I do that it’s what will please them the most.
But this time, I want to take my Halloween show that I did in Japan overseas and perform it exactly as I did in Japan, for everyone to enjoy. And since the theme is Japanese haunted houses, it would be nice if they liked that unique, characteristic cuteness that Japanese monsters have.
――Will the show have parts that you performed in Japan arranged in a certain way for overseas?
I think it would be difficult to convey the entire story to people overseas, so some parts will be omitted. But the vision for the set is exactly the same, and so are the monster characters, so we’ll still be able to give them a Japanese haunted house live show.
――You have been on three world tours to date. In 2013 you took 100% KPP WORLD TOUR to 13 cities in 8 countries; in 2014 you took NANDA COLLECTION WORLD TOUR 2014 to 11 countries, and in 2016 you toured 6 countries with KPP 5iVE YEARS MONSTER WORLD TOUR 2016. Please tell me about any instances that left an impression on you, or any memories that have stuck with you.
My first world tour was tough. I went there with all the same staff that accompany me at concerts in Japan, but there were many things that were new for them too. Things like interviews, the schedule for moving from place to place, rehearsals. I remember a lot of difficulties we had. And we weren’t used to local coverage. It was my first time, so I was also worried about whether people would show up, and there were mentally challenging things too. But after all that, I was able to enjoy sightseeing at each location, so I got used to being there.
――Does each region have its own particular way of enjoying a concert, and are overseas fans different?
There aren’t any huge differences from country to country, but people abroad are very enthusiastic, and their cheers are amazing. Everyone is sort of animalistic, in a good way. They move their bodies and let their voices out in line with their emotions. They dance, they cry. I can see that they are enjoying themselves.
――What are you conscious of during performances abroad that you aren’t at a concert in Japan?
I learn greetings in the language of each country, then later write it onto paper to read. English is still okay, but German pronunciation is pretty tough. They have a sound that’s sort of between ‘ke’ and ‘ko,’ like ‘qu’. Chinese pronunciation hard too.
――What has been been your most enjoyable or happy moment at an overseas concert?
I was a little anxious about my last world tour because there was a two-year gap. I wondered whether people would come, and thought “Man, it’s been two years.” But once I went, everyone was was pleased, and they said “We’ve waited TWO years!” That made me really happy.
――You released your first new song in a while, Kimino Mikata, on April 11th. It would be great if this one reaches people inside and outside Japan too.
It’s my first new song in a year, so I think people overseas have been waiting for it too. I challenged myself to rapping for the first time on this one. The music video was taken in one shot. Tablets are used in it to express the content of the lyrics. It’s full of numerous gimmicks, so I think people overseas can enjoy it too even if they don’t understand Japanese.
――Just to reiterate, what does a concert mean for you?
Concerts are my favourite part of my job. It’s more fun than anything else! Of course I like performing and touring in Japan too, but the excitement overseas is amazing, so I’m looking forward to what’s to come!
――Please leave a message for all your fans waiting for you and your world tour.
This will be my fourth world tour, you guys. I’m bringing a Japanese haunted house themed stage to you. Please look forward to it! I’m also looking forward to meeting all of my fans abroad!
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu recently burst back into the spotlight with plans laid and readied for 2018. It was revealed that she will digitally release her first new digital single Kimino Mikata in over a year today on April 11th, before embarking on her 4th World Tour.
Yesterday, Kyary released the music video for Kimino Mikata, and today the song is available for digital purchase and also streaming.
The new track was written by Yasutaka Nakata as a present for Kyary’s birthday. The song retains the poptastic rhythm we are used to with her previous works, but it’s also being talked about for its hint of melancholy as well as Kyary’s message through the strong lyrics. To date, Kyary’s music videos have collectively and staggeringly garnered well over 400 million views. At long last, a brand new music video has been released and as always is ready to be devoured by fans across the world.
The music video was directed by Jun Tamakai – the first time in three years – who has worked on almost all of Kyary’s music videos including PONPONPON, Fashion Monster, and Mondai Girl. The concept conceived by Tamakai was to used no CG whatsoever. Kyary is joined by 12 dancers who make skilled use of multiple tablets displaying lyrics, Kyary’s face and other visuals. The entire video was filmed in one shot with no cuts.
It took two days to shoot both the tablet footage filmed before as well as the main video performance itself. The content shot in advance that is displayed on the tablets shows situations that match the lyrics, like Kyary lip syncing underwater. The video is unlike anything we’ve seen from Kyary before.
Since the entire video was shot in one take, filming had to start over if any mistakes were made. But that didn’t just mean the performers – it was the same for the cameraman and staff too. Nobody could let their focus slip even once. It was a tough and tense music video to make. This was especially so for six of the disguised dancers. A week before filming, they had carried out painstaking rehearsals, but when it came to the real thing, it was a huge effort for numerous reasons, such as the tablets being heavier than predicted and countless shortcomings with syncing everything up. Teamwork was a must, with Kyary spearheading the group, and because of that they tried prioritising their efforts towards full concentration so as to keep to the number of minimum takes required, but they messed up many times and were put back an extra 6 hours to the planned time frame. They successfully completed the video at 2am, and all the staff were in unanimous delight.
Kyary’s outfits which never fail to receive much attention were designed by fashion stylist and costume designer Kumiko Iijima. She made sure to incorporate that Kyary originality we are so familiar with while using a high quality skin-coloured one tone silk that gives an air of maturity, completed with a luxurious short pants style. She consulted many times with choreographer KANNA, who has created choreography that uses the whole body including movements that show off feminine feet beautifully, as well as intricate hand gestures. The video is Kyary’s magnum opus precisely because director Tamukai stated, “This was the hardest music video shooting to date.” Anticipation for follow-up reports are high regarding what kind of performance Kyary will put on live for audiences with Kimino Mikata.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Comment:
“This was the first music video I have done in one take. It was tense knowing that if we messed up even a little we’d have to start all over again. Teamwork was key for this video. I’m glad we were all able to work hard together and overcome it! The footage on the tablets is packed with more small details than I thought, so I hope you can have fun watching it over and over! The choreography is cute too, so please try copying it and dancing yourselves.”
Jun Tamukai Comment:
“This was Kyary’s first one shot music video. Everybody was nervous during the real filming. During one particular take, Kyary said to the dancers, who had made a mistake, ‘Now that you mention it, I think I may have messed up in the first chorus too!’ It was telling of her when she exaggerated that. I thought, ‘She’s so kind,’ but turns out she had actually messed up [in that part.] The music video flows with such kindness like that. (Of course, the take we used [for the video] is the one where we got it right.) It’s absolutely packed with fun gimmicks from start to end, so make sure you watch carefully and don’t miss out!”
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Performs “Kimino Mitaka” for First Time at POPSPRING 2018!
27.March.2018 | MUSIC
POPSPRING is a big music festival centered around performances by western artists. This year, the event was headlined by four-member British girl group Little Mix.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu performed on stage as the only Japanese artist in the line-up. She played many of her big hits including Fashion Monster and Harajuku Iyahoi.
Dressed in sparkling pink and silver spangle, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu expressed her gratitude to everybody gathered in the venue: “I heard that I would be the only Japanese artist here and wondered what I’d do if nobody came. I actually couldn’t sleep last night, but I’m relieved that people came to watch!! Thank you, everyone.” This was followed by the first ever performance of her new song Kimino Mikata.
“I challenged myself to rap for the first time in this song! Please dance with me!!” The crowd were lively and all joined in, and Kyary danced a gorgeous dance – and also a difficult one as the choreography was only recently created, and just for this performance.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s new song Kimino Mikata is now available for pre-order on iTunes. Kyary’s 24-track greatest hits album, KPP BEST, which also features Fashion Monster ― a song that was recently used in a Nissin Soba U.F.O. commercial – will be sold at the low price of ￥900 for one month. Check out both this bargain campaign and her new song.
Kyary has a lot lined up for 2018. Stay tuned for the latest news!
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Debuts New Song “Kimino Mikata” Live on Instagram to Over 100,000 People
20.March.2018 | MUSIC
Excitement is bigger than ever for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in 2018 who is set to release her new digital single Kimino Mikata on April 11th and embark on her 4th world tour. Just recently, Kyary gave fans an early listen to her new song Kimino Mikata in an Instagram live session she herself organized – and it was a huge success.
The stream began with an at-home vibe. She touched on the topic surrounding Japanese professional baseball player Shohei Ohtani: “I saw on the news that he walked up to Fashion Monster, I’m really happy about it.”
Kyary gave thorough commentary into the new song and flipped through the lyrics on sheets she wrote herself. Her producer Yasutaka Nakata wrote the chorus lyrics boku wa kimi no mikata / hakanai kibou ka / shinjiteminai to sutaato janai (“I’m your ally / Is it a fleeting wish? / There’s no beginning if you don’t try to believe”). Kyary expressed strong empathy towards the lyrics: “I really think that [there’s no beginning if you don’t try to believe]. If you don’t live your life believing in people, then it’s no fun. I think it’s important to try believing, and that will equal the start of something.” Kyary also performed her first ever rap part to the tune of karaoke before the stream came to a close.
Finally, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu‘s song Fashion Monster was recently used in a TV commercial for Nissin Soba U.F.O. that’s hot right now featuring rock god Yuya Uchida. A band of vultures appear in the video, and Kyary dressed up on stream as one of them will dancing to Kimino Mikata.
Pre-orders for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu‘s new song Kimino Mikata are now open on the iTunes Store. There’s also a campaign being held where you can purchase her greatest hits album KPP BEST for just ￥900. This offer is available for one month only, so check it out together with her new single.
Stay tuned for the latest news on Kyary Pamyu Pamyu as she storms ahead with new work into 2018.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “Fashion Monster” Used in Nissin Soba U.F.O Commercial Featuring Yuya Uchida!
16.March.2018 | MUSIC
Expectations are bigger than ever for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu who recently announced her new digital single Kimino Mikata set for release on April 11 as well unveiled the tour schedule for her 4th world tour.
Kyary‘s song Fashion Monster was chosen to be used in a TV commercial for Nissin Soba U.F.O, dubbed the “Fashion Monster Edit.”
The commercial features rock singer Yuya Uchida dancing to the tune of the monsters on a set that looks exactly like the original music video. Featuring a band of Egyptian vultures to perform the music, the commercial is making news online for its likeness to Kyary‘s original monster mashup, and even Kyary herself has given it praise.
In line with the start of the commercial, Kyary‘s 24-track greatest hits album, KPP BEST, which also features Fashion Monster, will be sold at the low price of ￥900 for one month. Together with this bargain campaign, you can now also pre-order her new song Kimino Mikata together with it.
Kyary has also organised an Instagram live show to begin at 22:00 on March 16 (JST) where you can get an early listen of Kimino Mikata. She will give raw commentary on her new song, the first in a while. Not only can people look forward to hearing the backstory behind the production of the song, she will also chat about recent amusing episodes that have happened to her. Make sure you tune in at 22:00 (JST) to Kyary‘s Instagram to enjoy her live!
Stay tuned for the latest Kyary Pamyu Pamyu news for her forthcoming activity!
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Appointed as “XFLAG Entertainment Partner”
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has announced a partnership with XFLAG™ who deliver a range of media beginning with “Monster Strike,” a game app with an international user base of over 4 million people, as well as video content, e-Sports and more. She has been appointed as an XFLAG Entertainment Partner.
It was recently announced that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu will release a new song titled Kimino Mikata, her first digital single of 2018, on April 11th. The singer and Japanese icon also unveiled an all-new artist photo that showed herself in a new light the likes of which fans have never before seen, embracing a more mature look.
As an XFLAG Entertainment Partner, not only will Kyary be responsible for expanding the possibilities of entertainment created by XFLAG, she will also pursue and bring to life “exceptional” entertainment together with the company that no-one has yet experienced.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has continued to captivate fans with her creative world and expression that flows with originality. In total, her music videos on YouTube far exceed 400 million views. She has also performed to over 90,000 fans across the world in Europe, the US and Asia during her three world tours. Her prominent recognition worldwide is the reason for her selection as a partner. She will pursue the possibilities of higher entertainment, and in one year from now, will reveal various initiatives together with XFLAG.
Her first job as an XFLAG Entertainment Partner was her surprise appearance at B.LEAGUE 21: Chiba Jets vs. Sun Rockers Shibuya Powered by XFLAG, a basketball match held at Funabashi Arena on March 3rd and XFLAG‘s first crown game.
When the match’s halftime show began, a video played onscreen in the venue where Kyary Pamyu Pamyu enthusiastically announced her appointment as an XFLAG Entertainment Partner: “I will challenge myself to new things that I’ve never done before. I want to set about working on various things together with XFLAG.”
Once the video had finished, a long line of dancers appeared and a big box was carried onto the court all of a sudden as a ‘delivery’ from XFLAG. The moment the spotlight shone on stage, the box was thrown open and out stepped Kyary Pamyu Pamyu! The roars of 5,000 or so people filled the venue at her sudden appearance.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu responded to the cheers with a wave of her hand and commented, “The enthusiasm of all the Chiba Jets Booster’s* here is amazing, it’s exciting. I’m having fun too!” She went on to say, “I’m here to deliver a special halftime show for everyone!” The hitting of the start button signaled the beginning of the show. An international acrobatic basketball team appeared from the darkness dressed in body suits that sparkled with the LED lights to put on an enchanting and powerful dance performance.
[Translator’s Note: “Booster” is the name given to fans of the Chiba Jets.]
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu recently announced her 4th world tour scheduled for 2018. Last year, she held her first ever Halloween solo concert themed on “Japanese haunted houses,” titled THE SPOOKY OBAKEYASHIKI ~PUMPKINS STRIKE BACK~. Kyary is taking the show overseas for her international fans in her new world tour.
2018 is looking to be another year where Kyary spreads Japanese culture to the world even more with her unique outlook. It’s time to get excited about Kyary delivering “exceptional” entertainment in Japan and overseas in her new partnership with XFLAG.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Announces 4th World Tour & New Song “Kimino Mikata”
02.March.2018 | MUSIC
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu made her debut in the summer of 2011 under producer Yasutaka Nakata. She continues to be active worldwide having successfully completed a long list of tours, including a Japan arena tour where she performed in front of 90,000 people, as well three world tours.
Just recently at her special live event celebrating her 25th birthday, Kyary unveiled a brand-new song titled Kimino Mikata which has a scheduled release date of April 11th. It will mark her first release of 2018, and she’s taken no time in revealing a new artist photo as well as the CD jacket for the release. The new look is a complete change from all her looks to date, revealing to us that she has matured into an adult.
Kyary has performed to around 50,000 people across Europe and the US on her world tours. That number is about to grow bigger as the tour schedule for her 4th world tour has been released. Last year, Kyary performed her very first Halloween live show titled THE SPOOKY OBAKEYASHIKI ~PUMPKINS STRIKE BACK~ that was inspired by Japanese haunted houses, or obakeyashiki, a challenging theme she received much praise for. Now, Kyary is bringing that same Halloween show to the rest of the world for her 4th world tour.
It’s safe to say that Kyary is set to spread Japanese culture across the world again this year with her unique outlook! More news is yet to come so stay tuned for the latest updates.
Interview: Go! Go! Curry President Hirokazu Miyamori & Sakura President Toshiaki Yuasa Discuss Progressive Innovation and Generating Added Value
Kanazawa, also known as Kaga Hyakuman-gokuーan old name with a long history that originally marked the city’s tradition of wealth, and can also be used to refer to anything that is quintessentially Kanazawa. Capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, the city of Kanazawa is known as a place rich in art and traditional culture, and enjoys no shortage of popular tourist and sightseeing spots. At the core of all of this is the creative mind of the Kanazawan people from which these things have formed. We had the chance to speak with two company presidents, both of whom were born in Kanazawa: Hirokazu Miyamori of GO GO CURRY GROUP CO.,LTD., and Toshiaki Yuasa of Sakura Inc.
The interview was carried out at the Show House Gallery at Sakura Inc.
ーーーMr. Yuasa, this is a really wonderful place, isn’t it? I’d like to begin the interview by asking for a brief explanation of each of your companies.
Yuasa: Thank you very much. My name is Yuasa, and I work at Sakura. We are a company specialising in custom housing, and have done so for the past 26 years since establishing. We centre on the Ishikawa Prefecture area, but also have galleries in Toyama, Gifu, and Kyoto.
Miyamori: I’m Miyamori, and I work at Go! Go! Curry Group. We opened the first Go! Go! Curry branch in Shinjuku in May 2004. We specialise in curry and sell pre-packed curry products. Today, we have restaurants not only in Japan, but America, Brazil, and elsewhere too.
ーーーIf I’m not mistaken, you were both born in Kanazawa, correct?
Miyamori: Yes. I’ve had “The Nation of Kaga Hyakuman-goku” chiseled into my head since I was small. I didn’t know what it meant back then, but after I travelled to Tokyo and went overseas, I realised how beautiful a place Kanazawa is for its history, traditional arts, and culture. Those two characters* had more meaning than I thought. They have weight, are a brand, and contain soul and spirit.
*Referring to the Japanese reading of Kanazawa, “金沢.”
Yuasa: It’s just as Mr Miyamori says. I feel a yearning when hearing the word Kanazawa. I believe anyone and everyone there has an interest in its traditions and culture. And that’s because Kanazawa is a region with history, with style.
Miyamori: From being a young age, it’s been normal to know and have artisans around you. For instance, you go to someone’s house, and their father would be a yuzen fabric weaver. When we would go on field trips, we would go to facilities specialising in traditional crafts, go to see a Noh play at a Noh theatre, get involved in various cultural and seasonal events. But these days, those kinds of things aren’t as tied to people anymore. It’s something I realised by going outside.
ーーーーI feel like I now understand a little more the reason behind why there are so many creative people in Kanazawa. Both of you are founders, correct?
Miyamori: When I was 20, I went to New York. I said to myself that I would definitely go back there again. It was a dream of mine. But I ended up forgetting about it when I became a member of society. One day, I saw that a local [baseball] player and star transferred to the New York Yankees. I was so happy hearing that, and at the same time I remembered, “Oh yeah, I went there one time too.” I had no intention of opening a curry shop or becoming a company president. I just wanted to go to New York.
Yuasa: I completely get that <laughs>. I worked for a local company for 15 years, and had some unexpected luck which led to what I’m doing today. I established the company in the latter half of my 30s, but at the time I really had the same kind of authority that Mr Miyamori has <laughs>. Being young is scary in a sense. ‘Management’ has a generational appeal to it, but Mr Miyamori is young, so I think he’s got much more to offer yet!
Yuasa: When I look at Mr Miyamori here, I can tell he’s really close with his staff. Do you wear this uniform in Tokyo, too?
Miyamori: I do. I go about like this on the bullet train and plane too! The people in New York get me pretty well as well.
Yuasa: I bet! <laughs> You’re a man of nerve.
Miyamori: We’re a team, so even at this moment in time, my heart is connected to the hearts of all my hardworking staff across the country. They wear the same thing too. I don’t think of myself as a company president or an employee. I think I’m more of a captain.
ーーーーTell me about how you’re putting strength into each of your businesses today.
Miyamori: Up to now we’ve focused our efforts on opening more stores, but now we’re pouring our energy into building our brand. We now have consignments not only for Go! Go! Curry, but Turban Curry, Hot House, and Samrat too. And all of these brands have real soul. That’s why I don’t only want to open restaurants. I also want to sell pre-packaged curry and curry for business use, as well as polish our brand to attract more customers.
Yuasa: I too am putting the majority of our attention into our brand. Branding involves a lot of things, like the image our customers have of us, and putting value in various different things, and by not responding to that structure when running a company, I believe there is no future for you. It’s difficult to find the right words to convey to customers who are particular about things, but is that feeling that the customer has not important?
Miyamori: You’ve got to show them, don’t you?
Yuasa: That’s right. There are many things here in this gallery like that which have added value, but even if I were to put them into words it would be difficult to get through, so I want to actually show them by preparing land and buildings. By adopting new things people have never seen before in properties, it adds value for customers so they don’t see it as just a building. To do that, it’s important to keep our eyes open and always work on innovating. If you want to innovate, but don’t have a clear vision or concept, your mind will become clouded before you can achieve it. And even when you do, every day is still a struggle.
Miyamori: Everyday, that’s for sure. <laughs>
Yuasa: Speaking of which, I’m the only impatient one. I leave it to my employees. Akira Yoshino, who won the Nobel Prize [in Chemistry] this year, also said it was for research for the generations of young people to come. He was right.
Miyamori: If there’s no challenge, there’s no growth, and it’s not fun. It’s blood, sweat and tears. I’m taking part in the next Kanazawa Marathon, and training for it has been really tough.
Yuasa: You’ll be running in that uniform, right? You’re sure to stand out from the crowd!
Miyamori: The people along the roadside cheer you on. That’s a huge source of strength. I can only relax once the run is over. That sense of accomplishment when you reach the goal is difficult to put into words. I want young people to experience this same feeling.
Yuasa: That sounds really good. If one of our workers signs up for the Kanazawa Marathon, I wonder if they’d be able to borrow a uniform from you?
Miyamori: If you’ve got someone who’d bear the responsibility of our company I’ll be sure to cheer them on! The people being cheered on, too. Even if it looks like you’ll be crushed, you keep at it. You’ll make bonds in the company. It’s the same with managing too. It’s tough to keep going, but when you achieve that goal, all of those troubles and hardships disappear in an instant.
Yuasa: It’s a cycle of achieving, and then aiming toward your next objective.
Miyamori: You completely forget about the troubles, don’t you? <laughs>
ーーーI see. And do you ever feel a sense of fulfilment at work?
Miyamori: It makes me happy when the customers call the curry we serve delicious. Other things too, like our curry being the first curry a child has ever eaten, or a family coming together again over it. We distribute curry to disaster-stricken areas, so we’re happy if we can become a source of energy for people too. I feel happy when our workers set high goals, we achieve them and grow from it, too.
Yuasa: It really makes me happy when I meet with a customer who bought a house from us a year later and they say that it’s a really great house. A house isn’t something you go and buy multiple times, so I feel relieved when they are satisfied. And although we’re a small company, I’m happy I can leave it to my staff so that they can grow. Because they try and they move forward, then the future will open for them. And with that, it’s the responsibility of the company president to bring about results from their hard work. Managing such a task is a tough job alone, but that’s what being a company president is. And if you don’t have that, you’ll fail.
Miyamori: I get that. You’ve got to pour in blood, sweat and tears if you want to grow. If you don’t go all out, you’re not going to sweat. You will grow greatly if you continue to go all out with everyone involved and achieve a monumental goal.
ーーーYou both have warm feelings towards your staff and workers, don’t you?
Miyamori: They feel like my own children. So it makes me really happy when they get married, have kids, and build a home.
Yuasa: That’s true. And also, if your company doesn’t grow, you can’t continue to exist. It’s important to always look towards growth and strive with everyone.
ーーーFor my last question, I’d like to ask you about your visions for the future.
Miyamori: Curry will save the planet! I’m aiming for the world with curry! For instance, if we were talking about ramen, and someone asked me which is more deliciousーeating ramen at a restaurant or at homeーI’d say eating it at a restaurant. But when it comes to curry, your mother’s is the most delicious. Basically, the curry you eat out isn’t growing or improving. Just like how Starbucks serves delicious coffee all around the world, I also want to serve delicious curry around the world.
Yuasa: Your vision is really easy to understand <laughs>.
Miyamori: Curry is actually a delicious form of Chinese food therapy. We can divide up allergies, so we make it delicious for everyone from children to the elderly. Also, when you eat curry, your bowel warms up, so with curry you can also look at increasing healthy life expectancy, building immunities, and fighting cancer. This curry is a Nobel Peace Prize meal! How about you, Mr Yuasa? What are you looking towards for the future?
Yuasa: I want to build a company that tackles problems faced by customers, like adding value to buildings by making them earthquake-proof and lowering electricity costs, as well as seeing how to incorporate that into housing. Our customers are valuable so we’re seeking value. We want to make lots of houses that answer the question, “How can I live happily in this house?” I believe how people live happy lives in a house changes generation by generation, so I want to catch onto that and keep up with the times.
Miyamori: You really are a company president, Mr Yuasa! I don’t even think of myself as well, and I don’t think my employees do either <laughs>. But it’s amazing how much thought you’re putting into ways of living, and I think that’s wonderful.
Yuasa: Thank you. Before I met you, I thought you were a nonstandard person, but after listening to your story today, and seeing you in that uniform, my opinion has changed to conviction. It’s not everyday something like the Nobel Prize comes into conversation <laughs>. I believe things will get better for both yourself and your employees!
Curryーand property. Two completely different worlds, but two company presidents hooked on innovation and growing their brands. Their ambitions and warm feelings they have towards their staff will encourage the people they work with and pave the way for new challenges brought about by adding new value to their companies. The day when the people of Japan are living in their wonderful Sakura homes and eating delicious Go! Go! Curry in them may already be on the horizon.
Interview & Text: Yuki Yokoo
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Yasutaka Nakata to Embark on vol.02 of their Ultimate Three City Tour
22.November.2019 | MUSIC
In 2020, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Yasutaka Nakata will be following up on their ultimate three-city tour that took place in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya in 2016, returning to the three cities on tour again for vol.02.
The duo’s performance at SUMMER SONIC 2019 saw both Osaka and Tokyo venues overcrowded with fans to the extent that entry had to be strongly regulated. Following the success of SUMMER SONIC and vol.01 of the duo’s tour in 2016, there’s no doubt that their upcoming 2020 tour will see an exponential increase in fans.
The long-awaited 2020 tour is bound to fill Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya with excitement. This powerhouse duo is the perfect recipe for an explosive atmosphere that you just cannot miss.
Yasutaka Nakata × Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Presents SPECIAL DJ & LIVE TOUR 2020 YSTK × KPP vol.02
February 12 (Weds): Zepp Osaka Bayside, Osaka
Doors Open: 18:00, Performance Start: 19:00
February 13 (Thurs): Zepp Nagoya, Aichi
Doors Open: 18:00, Performance Start: 19:00
February 21 (Fri): Toyosu PIT
Doors Open: 18:00, Performance Start: 19:00
YSTK × KPP vol.02 Official Website Advanced Tickets
Preorder Period: November 22 (19:00) – November 26, 2019 (23:59)
1st Floor Standing: ¥5,500 (Tax Included, Drink Fee Not Included)
2nd Floor Designated Seats: ¥6,050 (Tax Included, Drink Fee Not Included) * Only available at Osaka and Nagoya Venues
Where to Purchase
Advanced tickets will be available for purchase from the following Official Websites:
Yasutaka Nakata: http://yasutaka-nakata.com/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu: http://kyary.asobisystem.com/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s ‘KIMI GA IINE KURETARA’ Single to be Released on Kawaii Pink Vinyl
12.November.2019 | MUSIC
In May 2019, Harajuku fashion monster Kyary Pamyu Pamyu released her latest single KIMI GA IINE KURETARA on streaming services. The single was used as the theme song for the Nippon Television Network drama Mukai no Bazuru Kazoku. The single will be released in late February 2020 in the form of a kawaii pink 7-inch vinyl. The last time Kyary Pamyu Pamyu released a single in analog format was in 2015 with Mondai Girl.
KIMI GA IINE KURETARA was produced entirely by Yasutaka Nakata. In the song, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu transforms into a modern social media expert, singing an encouraging message aimed at people who are lost in their obsession with getting likes on social media. The single’s B side contains the instrumental version of the song which has never been released.
As the vinyl release is still quite far away, all we can do is wait in excitement.
KIMI GA IINE KURETARA
Price: ¥1,600 (Tax Included)
Release Date: Late February 2020 (Subject to change)
Side A – KIMI GA IINE KURETARA
Side B – KIMI GA IINE KURETARA (Instrumental Version)
Streaming Services: https://kppm.lnk.to/kik
Official Website: http://kyary.asobisystem.com/english/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Will Perform a New Song if 100,000 People Sign Up for Merpay
08.November.2019 | MUSIC
Merpay is a smartphone payment service created by the flea market app Mercari. To reach out to young people who are still not accustomed to going cashless, the company launched a second round to their invite a friend campaign on November 7, 2019. As part of the campaign, both the user who invites a friend to use Merpay and the friend who creates an account will be rewarded with ¥1,000 worth of points. But that’s not all: Famous artist Kyary Pamyu Pamyu took to the scene with an even bigger reward.
As the campaign’s mascot, Kyaryu Pamyu Pamyu made an appearance at the Merpay campaign event. It was announced that if more than 100,000 people use the special invitation code “MOTTAINAI” to create a Merpay account during the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu challenge period, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu will celebrate with a brand new song.
After the event, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu headed down Harajuku’s famous Takeshita Street to enjoy a crêpe at a crêpe stand that uses Merpay.
“It’s been so long since I last visited Takeshita Street,” she laughed. “Buying the crêpe was just as fun as eating it.”.
She then made a comment on her Kyary Pamyu Pamyu challenge song:
“I want to sing it. What kind of song will it be? It’s so exciting just thinking about it.” She said.
If you want to hear Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s new song, be sure to use the MOTTAINAI code to sign up for Merpay and invite a friend.
Interview: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Yasutaka Nakata Joined by Kizuna AI at SUMMER SONIC 2019
27.August.2019 | MUSIC
Kizuna AI recently performed at SUMMER SONIC 2019 on the RAINBOW Stage on August 18. She also interviewed various acts who performed at the music festival, including Yasutaka Nakata and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The full interview was posted on her YouTube channel.
SUMMER SONIC 2019 – Official Artist Interview vol.02: Yasutaka Nakata & Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Kizuna AI released a cover of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s song Kizunami on August 16 which is taken from Kyary’s fourth studio album Japamyu which dropped back in September 2018. To celebrate the release of the new song, Kizuna AI appeared as a surprise guest on Yasutaka Nakata and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s set at SUMMER SONIC 2019 where her and Kyary performed Kizunami.
Below is a translated summary of the interview.
Kizuna AI: “Our first collaboration together! Was I okay…?”
Kyary: “I haven’t collaborated with that many people. It’s rare for me to sing with someone, but I was really happy with how it went!”
Kizuna AI: “Nakata, when did people start calling you Ouji [Prince]?”
Kyary: “He has a lot of out-there nicknames! [laughs]”
Yasutaka Nakata: “Battery Eater is another one [laughs]”
Kizuna AI: “What does ‘chumete‘ mean?” [Referencing a word taken from the chorus of Kizuna AI’s song AIAIAI, written and produced by Nakata]
Yasutaka Nakata: “That’s a secret! Because you can interpret it in many different ways.”
Kizuna AI: “What’s a word or occurrence [in music] that’s stuck with you the most, Kyary?”
Kyary: “Ninja Re Bang Bang. The title was originally ‘tentative.’ I feel it’s a mysterious word that anyone can get behind. Even when touring overseas everyone sings it together.”
Kizuna AI: “Finally, please give a message to your fans!”
Kyary: “It was so much fun getting to stand on stage together with Nakata. I hope we can do something together again!”
Kizuna AI: “Kyary, can you put these ears on?”
Kizuna AI has posted lots of other interviews from the festival on her YouTube channel too including with SHAED, SOFI TUKKER, Alan Walker, the telephones, and AI. Be sure to check them out.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Kabuki Themed Concert Showcased in Documentary On YouTube
19.August.2019 | MUSIC
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s ‘Oto no Kuni Live Tour 2019’ has been taking the singer to various locations across Japan steeped in the country’s cultural heritage. The tour gets its name from Kyary’s song Oto no Kuni taken from her album Japamyu.
Following the success of her show at the sacred Izumo Shrine in Shimane Prefecture―a region said to be the birthplace of Japan’s many gods―Kyary took her traditional show to Minami-za in Kyoto, the oldest theatre in Japan. What’s more is that she held it on the final day of Japan’s Heisei period before the country transitioned into the current Reiwa period. The concert fused Kyary’s iconic pop culture fantasia with traditional Japanese kabuki theatre.
A 9-minute medley of the concert, featuring tracks such as Ninja Re Bang Bang and Oto no Kuni, is set to be played back live on NHK World Japan today (August 19) and again on NHK General TV on September 14. It will also feature a talk with Kyary and show host Shingo Murakami.
A special documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage as well as clips of the concert was uploaded onto Kyary’s official YouTube channel. The video showcases Kyary’s training for the concert carried out with kabuki actor Ainosuke Kataoka. Check it out below.
「SONGS OF TOKYO」
August 19, 2019 on NHK World Japan (0:10-0:38 / 6:10~ / 12:30~ / 18:30~)
August 15, 2019 on NHK General TV (0:05-0:33)
Line-Up: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu / Shingo Murakami, Chiaki Horan
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Official Website: http://kyary.asobisystem.com/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Yasutaka Nakata Joined by Kizuna AI at SUMMER SONIC 2019
19.August.2019 | MUSIC
Yasutaka Nakata is the internationally acclaimed architect of kawaii music and music producer of huge Japanese names such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Perfume.
The DJ and music producer is known for having collaborated with a whole string of big artists, such as Kenshi Yonezu on the song NANIMONO as well as Charli XCX on Crazy Crazy. Despite having only just dropped his new song Pico Pico Tokyo (feat. Momo Mashiro) recently, he just released a new song entitled Kizunami (cover) for digital download on August 16. The track is a cover of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s song Kizunami taken from her fourth studio album Japamyu which Nakata Produced. It is covered by virtual talent Kizuna AI who has almost 2.7 million subscribers on her YouTube channel.
To celebrate the release of the new song, Kizuna AI appeared as a surprise guest on Yasutaka Nakata and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s set at SUMMER SONIC 2019 which was held in Tokyo and Osaka. In a very special collaboration, she sang the song alongside Kyary―the singer of the original track.
As with the Osaka show, the RAINBOW STAGE at the Tokyo concert had an admission limit due to how much music fans were anticipating this stage.
When the intro to Fashion Monster started playing as the first song of Yasutaka Nakata’s set, the crowd’s excitement went straight through the roof. But it didn’t stop there however, as it shot into the stratosphere when Kyary Pamyu Pamyu walked onto the stage, clad in a beautiful white outfit.
Nakata and Kyary’s set was an energetic amalgamation of song mash-ups and alternative arrangements, treating the crowd to familiar hit after hit. It reestablished Nakata’s status as a spearhead of the industry.
He joined Kyary in front of his DJ booth for CANDY CANDY and waved his hands left and right with the crowd to Kyary’s directions. The two of them rolled out even more big numbers including Invader Invader, PON PON PON and Ninja Re Bang Bang which also had fun new arrangements.
When the intro to Kizunami started up, Kizuna AI’s chorus entered the fray at which Kyary asked, “Whose voice is that?” Kizuna AI suddenly appeared on the giant LED screen at the back of the stage, and the crowd reacted instantly. She riled everyone up by calling “Summer Sonic!” before joining Nakata and Kyary in a dream collaboration.
The 19-song set was up with Mondai Girl and finally Oto no Kuni during which the crowd waved their towels in unison.
Kizuna AI’s cover of Kizunami is now available for digital download and is streaming on Spotify.
Released: August 16, 2019
Artists: Kizuna AI, Yasutaka Nakata
Lyrics/Composition/Arrangement: Yasutaka Nakata
Download/Stream Links: https://lnk.to/uuT0F
Yasutaka Nakata Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/YASUTAKA_NAKATA/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Official Website: http://kyary.asobisystem.com
Kizuna AI Official Website: http://kizunaai.com/
Stream Your Favourite Japanese Artist Anytime With Deezer’s New ‘Asian Music’ Channel
11.July.2019 | MUSIC
Have you ever tried typing in your favourite Asian artist into Spotify only to find only some or none of their music is on there? All of that is about to change as the music streaming platform Deezer introduces its new ‘Asian Music’ channel to bring fans closer to their favourite acts, both mainstream and underground.
Deezer boasts 14 million monthly active users in 180 countries around the world who are connected to an ever-expanding catalogue of 53 million tracks.
Available now worldwide, the new music channel will help support local genres in Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia. It features exclusive and personal playlists from the biggest artists across the continent such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (Japan), Tabitha Nauser (Singapore), and Gloc-9 (Philippines). The editors at Deezer have also created dedicated playlists for each country to help fans find their favourite artists as well as introduce them to new acts.
The playlists created by Deezer’s editors for Japan include: Top J-Pop, J-Pop Rising, Top J-Rock, and Japan 90s Hits. Look forward to listening to the biggest names in the land of the rising sun right now such as Perfume, Aimyon, and tofubeats and get familiar with rising acts like Manon and AAAMYYY.
Deezer’s Asian Music section can be accessed here. Find your new favourite artist today.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Marshmello, Ninja & More to Perform at Metarama Festival in Las Vegas
20.June.2019 | MUSIC
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu released her new song KIMI GA IINE KURETARA in May and subsequently went on to put on a Kabuki-style concert at Minami-za in Kyoto.
The pop sensation continues to spread Japanese culture across the globe as she announces her appearance at the Metarama festival in Las Vegas this October.
*Update: It has been recently announced that the Metarama festival in Las Vegas has unfortunately been cancelled.
Metarama is a gaming and music festival that is being held for the first ever time this year. It features a line-up of influencers in both music, such as Marshmello and Snoop Dogg, and gaming including Ninja and Pokimane.
Running: October 19, 2019 – October 20, 2019
Venue: LAS VEGAS FESTIVAL GROUND
Official Website: https://on.metaramafestival.com/trk/KIXk
Join Kyary Pamyu Pamyu as She Tours the Sacred City of Izumo in Latest Video
24.May.2019 | SPOT
Recently, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu held a special one-night-only live performance at Izumo Taisha; a sacred and grand Shinto shrine located in Shimane prefecture which is said to be the origin of Japan’s gods. Kyary’s Otono Kuni Live Tour 2019 performance embraced the sacred atmosphere and the theme of her recent fourth album Japamyu. On that night in particular, her new song Otono Kuni really struck a chord!
Wanna know more about her godlike live concert on holy grounds?!
Here’s the concert live report: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/191957
Travelling to Japan? Let Kyary be your tour guide!
Kyary has just released a travel movie where she returns to the sacred land but this time, as your tour guide and not a performer! Join Kyary and get discovering with her new tourist video! She has also set up a special website dedicated to her sightseeing adventures in Izumo.
Kyary strolls around Izumo: The sacred land where the sun sets.
From legends to ancient history, Izumo is a gold mine of culture and secrets that Kyary will share with you! In this beautiful short movie, you can join Kyary and enjoy a day of fun!
Whether you want to visit Izumo or you’ve already been,or maybe you’re considering a trip to Japan and you’re not quite sure where to go! This movie is something you’ll definitely love to see so please check it out!
Special website: https://www.kankou-shimane.com/kyary/
Shimane prefecture Japan heritage sites special edition website: https://www.kankou-shimane.com/mag/11987.html
Japan heritage: Izumo official website: https://izumo-japan-heritage.jp/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu official website: http://kyary.asobisystem.com/
Japanese Music Artists Performing Overseas in 2019: Part 3
With summer fast approaching, concertgoers are gearing up for this year’s music festivals and live shows. We previously covered numerous Japanese bands and artists performing who overseas this year in parts one and two of this feature, but since the previous entry, even more acts have been announced.
Here is a new list of artists embarking outside Japan this summer.
For the first time in their career, rock group Suchmos are set to embark on their first ever Asia Tour this June. They will hit up 6 locations, beginning in Hong Kong before heading to Taipei, Seoul, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing.
▶︎ Suchmos ASIA TOUR 2019
2019/6/2 @ Music Zone @ KITEC, Hong Kong
2019/6/7 @ Legacy Taipei, Taipei
2019/6/9/ @ YES24 Live Hall, Seoul (*w/ HYUKOH)
2019/6/12 @ B10 Live, Shenzhen
2019/6/14 @ Modern Sky Lab, Shanghai
2019/6/16 @ Tango Live (Floor 3F), Beijing
Suchmos Official Website: https://www.suchmos.com
→News Update (June 1, 2019)
Following unexpected illness of one of their members, Suchmos have cancelled all remaining dates on their upcoming overseas tour.
Moon Star Studio 1
— [ALEXANDROS] (@alexandroscrew) 2019年4月13日
Rock band [ALEXANDROS] are also heading on tour in Asia throughout June and July. The band are currently on their “Sleepless in Japan Tour” in promotion of their newest album Sleepless in Brooklyn and will take their concerts across Asia for 8 shows, starting with Shanghai on June 21 and wrapping in Seoul on July 21. This also marks their first time performing in Shanghai and Beijing.
▶︎ Sleepless 2019 Asia Tour
2019/6/21 @ Modern Sky Lab, Shanghai
2019/6/23 @ Beijing Omni Space, Beijing
2019/6/28 @ Jakarta (*Venue TBA)
2019/6/30 @ Moon Star Studio 1, Bangkok
2019/7/5 @ Music Zone @ E-Max, Hong Kong
2019/7/7 @ Legacy Taipei, Taipei
2019/7/19/ @ Bentley Music Auditorium, Kuala Lumpur
2019/7/21 @ MUV HALL, Seoul
[ALEXANDROS] Official Website: https://alexandros.jp
SAKANAQUARIUM 2019 “834.194”
6月28日 上海＆6月30日 深セン公演
— sakanaction (@sakanaction) 2019年4月30日
Sakanaction have announced that they will play in Shanghai and Shenzhen at the end of June. Upon unveiling the news the band created their own Weibo account, a Chinese social media platform. The rock band will release their new album 834.194 in June, their first album release since sakanaction was released 6 years ago in March 2013. The Asia dates were added to their ongoing Japan tour. This will be their second set of headline concerts outside in Japan since they performed overseas for the first time back in 2013 in Taiwan. The band are known for their use of cutting-edge technology at their shows, so foreign fans can look forward to seeing what they have in store for them next month.
▶︎ SAKANAQUARIUM 2019 “834.194”
2019/6/28 @ Modern Sky Lab, Shanghai
2019/6/30 @ A8 Live, Shenzhen
Sakanaction Official Website: http://sakanaction.jp
Earlier this month, five-piece maid rock band BAND-MAID announced the European leg of their 2019 world tour, one which will begin this June and one whose decided theme is Gekidou, or “tumultuous.” All shows on BAND-MAID’s 2018 world tour sold out completely. The initial European leg of their long-awaited new world tour will take them to 3 countries for 4 performances. They will then head to the US in September.
Related Article: BAND-MAID Announces European Leg Of ‘Tumultuous’ 2019 World Tour
▶︎BAND-MAID WORLD DOMINATION TOUR 2019 【激動】 ~gekidou~
6/22 – London, UK @ Islington Assembly Hall
6/23 – Paris, France @ Le Trabendo
6/24 @ Bochum, Germany @ Zeche
6/26 @ Hamburg, Germany @ DAS LOGOS
9/26 @ NYC Gramercy Theater, US
9/28 @ Dallas Cambridge Room, US
9/30 @ LA ECHOPLEX, US
10/1 @ LA ECHOPLEX, US
World Tour Info: https://bandmaid.tokyo/contents/241952
BAND-MAID Official Website: https://bandmaid.tokyo/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, CAPSULE, m-flo & More
The biggest names in Japanese pop music are set to take over Los Angeles at QTAQUEST LIVE and OTAQUEST KICK OFF PARTY which is set to take place at THE NOVO by Microsoft on July 3, 2019. Both OTAQUEST LIVE and OTAQUEST KICK OFF PARTY serve as the opener to Anime Expo, the biggest anime convention in the US, which will run from July 4 to 7. CAPSULE, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Crazy Boy, HIROOMI TOSAKA and m-flo are set to deliver Japanese entertainment to US lovers of Japanese music and entertainment.
Date: July 3, 2019
Time: OPEN 17:00 / START 18:30
Location: THE NOVO by Microsoft, Los Angeles, California, US
Line-Up: CRAZYBOY / HIROOMI TOSAKA / m-flo / CAPSULE / Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
OTAQUEST KICK OFF PARTY
Date: July 3, 2019
Time: OPEN/START 22:00
Location: THE NOVO by Microsoft, Los Angeles, California, US
Line-Up: ☆Taku Takahashi / TeddyLoid / Yasutaka Nakata (CAPSULE) / …and more
Event Website: https://live.otaquest.com/
This year, Ai Otsuka celebrates her 15th anniversary since her debut. The singer-songwriter released her greatest hits album Ai am BEST, too in January this year, and she is currently in the midst of her nationwide Japan tour. 5 Asia dates have been added to the tour. Her previous Asia tour took her to just three cities: Taipei, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, but this year she is spreading her wings and will perform in Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai and Taipei.
▶︎ AIO PIANO at ASIA vol.2
2019/7/17 @ Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Memorial Hall, Guangzhou
2019/7/19 @ 特侖蘇音楽庁, Chengdu
2019/7/27 @ BANDAI NAMCO SHANGHAI BASE DREAM HALL, Shanghai
2019/7/28 @ BANDAI NAMCO SHANGHAI BASE DREAM HALL, Shanghai
2019/8/17 @ ATT SHOW BOX 大直, Taipei
Ai Otsuka Official Website: http://avex.jp/ai/
If you love Japanese music and a Japanese band or artist are coming to a city near you this year, then be sure to show your love and support by getting your hands on a ticket to see them live.
Interview: The Future of Kawaii Construction Sites Discussed by ASOBISYSTEM & kajikawa Construction’s Company Presidents
15.May.2019 | BUSINESS
kajikawa Construction CO.,LTD was established in Hekinan, Aichi 114 years ago, and throughout its long history it has sought to break down existing conventions and innovate within the industry. Last year, the company began its collaboration with ASOBISYSTEM. For instance, kajikawa built and set up a photo booth at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 while ASOBISYSTEM worked on the design of kajikawa’s company logo and company brochure. This year, both companies are set to strengthen their partnership as they announce a large-scale construction project centred around kawaii (cute) designs. I spoke to Yusuke Nakagawa (President, ASOBISYSTEM CO., LTD) and Mitsuhiro Kajikawa (President, kajikawa Construction CO.,LTD) about their thoughts and shared values on the project.
――I would first like to begin by asking for a brief summary of your respective companies and what led to this collaboration.
Mitsuhiro Kajikawa: We are a construction business operating in Aichi Prefecture’s city of Hekinan. The company was founded in 1905 when it was first called Kajikawa Zousensho. In 1959 we began work in the construction industry when Typhoon Vera struck the Tokai region in an effort to help with reconstruction. In recent years, we have worked on many designs for earthquake resistance. One thing in particular is the “Implant Levee” which integrates with the earth. We get many orders to construct infrastructure that ensures structures hold steadfast against earthquakes and tsunamis.
Yusuke Nakagawa: How many employees do you have?
Kajikawa: As of now, 96. Around the time I became Company President there were around 50 but since then it has nearly doubled. Of course I still hold Aichi Prefecture near and dear to my heart as it is our roots, but I also have a desire to offer our services to many other places. Right now we are active up and down Japan, from Hokkaido to Kyushu.
Nakagawa: Besides the main office do you have branch offices outside of Hekinan?
Kajikawa: We have a branch in Takadanobaba in Tokyo. We’re also making preparations for Osaka Expo , so to ensure that we can build infrastructure in the Kansai region we also opened an office in Osaka in March of this year. Infrastructure development is absolutely essential to winning influence with people. Even in Tokyo, the roads and other facilities are wearing out. We do of course reconstruct things, but I also think it’s also important to carry out earthquake resistance with what we already have to ensure their longevity.
Nakagawa: Our company started out as an event organiser, but our focus gradually became acting as management for people. We have grown even further from that now; the various number of people and things we produce is increasing. This puts us in a position where we are very different from the rest, so I was very surprised at first when I saw a request had come from kajikawa Construction.
Kajikawa: I had heard about ASOBISYSTEM by chance through agencies, but I knew you [managed] many famous names including Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. My image of you was also that you are a central figure in creating “Kawaii” which is a representative culture of Harajuku. Though I look like this, I’ve actually always loved kawaii things since I was young. But I can’t show that when it comes to things work-related. Getting the opportunity to do this and use the word “kawaii” feels very liberating for me [laughs].
――You started collaborating with each other last year. It began with ASOBISYSTEM designing kajikawa Construction’s company logo and company brochure. It has received quite the revamp, hasn’t it?
Nakagawa: I spoke with President Kajikawa and wondered whether he knew that the word “Kawaii” doesn’t apply solely to things like fashion. We too don’t take “Kawaii” as something superficial, we treat the concept closer to what it actually is. The essence of “Kawaii” is something that brings a smile to and brightens people then and there. I feel that President Kajikawa understands that concept and that’s why he sent us an offer. So I want to invest in our “Kawaii” and and return the favour with a lasting relationship.
Kajikawa: When I took a look at the design of the company brochure I was surprised to see two of my favourite elements in there. The first were my favourite colours, pink and and green. The second was the use of traditional Japanese patterns. You took those traditional patterns and made them into a more contemporary pop design. You were kind enough to put all of my wishes in there, so much so that I was left wondering if we’d had a conversation about it beforehand.
Nakagawa: I was happy that you liked it and admired that you accepted the design. The construction industry is a world I’m unfamiliar with, so I was worried what kind of reply I would get. Your openness to upturn the conventions of the industry and make it into something tangible I felt was wonderful.
――Your company logo has changed too.
Kajikawa: We are enthusiastically using all the new things we are incorporating. The design will be a hit with younger people. I believe we are breaking out of our old shell and taking new steps forward. It’s a trigger that’s making me feel we are a company to have great expectations for in the future.
Nakagawa: When you look at the construction industry from the outside, your perception of it ends up being just what you imagine it to be. But by simply changing the logo and the brochure that perception can change. I believe the role of a simple brochure can add more value. It is really difficult to realise that adding value is important and then to put money into it. President Kajikawa is a symbol of looking forward.
Kajikawa: The main mission of the construction industry is to adhere to and build what the government office has planned which means we are unable to suggest anything ourselves. It’s for that reason we are receiving help from ASOBISYSTEM, because I want to add our own unique values. By no means are we able to do it on our own. Our ideas end up coagulating and we can’t move on from there. I am grateful to ASOBISYSTEM for giving us a good incentive and for making us feel that we are able to do something if we strive to make that effort.
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 Photo Booth
――You worked together to set up a photo booth at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FES 2018. This was designed by ASOBISYSTEM with design checks by President Kajikawa.
Kajikawa: I was very interested in it because the word “Kawaii” is used in designs all around the world. It has a strong message, doesn’t it? It felt unpredictable at first, but when I saw so many people standing in front of the panel taking photos it made me realise that leaving it up to top class designers can influence people.
Nakagawa: We were particular about the colour combinations, weren’t we? You are particular about colours. I’m the same. We also endeavoured to make the design something that conveys the strength of kajikawa Construction as a construction business.
――Your collaboration together is set to continue throughout the year. It seems you are pressing forward with your large-scale “Kawaii” construction project.
Kajikawa: In order to raise the added value of our company, it’s necessary that we change the way all of our employees think. It’s important to that we have them fully understand what we are doing with ASOBISYSTEM. The best way to do that is to show them a finished product. So our next step will be to forward the project by changing the design of our construction sites. For example, making cones, poles and fences pink. We will show them something they can see with their own eyes.
Nakagawa: There are construction sites even in Shibuya that have character designs on them. They are becoming photo spots [for people]. It’s important to appeal to your employees too, but the effect of purely adding value to your construction sites feels promising.
Kajikawa: It’s promising that our construction sites will become photo spots. Another one of our objectives is to make working people feel happy and make them feel like what they’re doing is worth it. Construction sites are isolated places. Them being dangerous is a real reason for that. Though people aren’t actually allowed to enter, by making the design “kawaii” we can remove that unwelcoming feeling locals have for [construction sites], and that’s wonderful. Business meetings have only just begun but I hope for it to come to fruition by next year.
Nakagawa: Are you also thinking of expanding overseas?
Kajikawa: I’m thinking within the next 1-2 years.
Nakagawa: I’m really looking forward to seeing “Kawaii” exported overseas from a new angle. I believe it will catch the attention of a lot of people and have a notable synergistic effect. We’re also working on creating key visuals and a film.
Kajikawa: We are aiming for a pop world where coloured poles are characters that move. I get excited just picturing it. I can’t wait for the day when we make it public.
――I’m sure you would agree that when it comes to business, contribution to society is an important aspect. Will your “kawaii” construction sites have societal contributions too?
Kajikawa: It has only just begun so I can only speculate, but the construction industry has a big mission to service infrastructure for the benefit of people’s lives. Plus, if we set forth to add value to “kawaii” elements, something which appeals to people, I think we can contribute a little to this brutal world. We are constantly in charge of 40-50 construction sites in Japan at any given time, so by giving them a “kawaii” outlook, don’t you think it might calm things down a bit?
Kajikawa: For example, if pink-dyed construction sites appeared in Japan and around the world, it’s bound to make a lot of people smile. That’s the symbol of Japanese technological strength and culture. It might eventually bolster the presence of Japan throughout the rest of the world. Plus, if people are taking kawaii photos, then they are going to seek out construction sites. A day like that may come, and working at a construction site might become a status. There are many pieces of dreams in the collaboration between kajikawa Construction and ASOBISYSTEM. Our unique tag team which defies industry may shake things up in a unique way.
Interview & Text: Fumihiko Suzuki
Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga