Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #9 – ‘Cafe Ace’ in Kanda
In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Cafe Ace in Kanda.
Being a cafe specialising in coffee it’s no surprise they have 40 different varieties of coffee! They even have 15 kinds of tea. Being able to pick out your favourite coffee before the morning rush every morning is really wonderful.
Cafe Ace is one of the places I’ve wanted to cover for a long time in this series. I was excited to get inside!
Its striped roof gives it quite a retro atmosphere. The warm colour scheme of the decor inside is that from old times – it’s very relaxed. It hasn’t changed since it opened way back when. It has continued to maintain its ways in spite of times changing. I think that’s wonderful.
The cafe carries all kinds of magazines that have been published over the years. They range from 3 to 40 years old. The owner showed me his collection as we spoke about the cafe and conveyed his sentiment for Ace. I feel I have learnt much about its history!
The menu plaques attached to the wall are all handwritten by the owner (he even wrote on the camel artwork above!)
Simply amazing. His handwritten work spreads across the entire wall of Ace.
I have come here on my before but I had no idea he had written all of this out so in learning more about it I have come to love Cafe Ace even more.
His love and warmth can be felt throughout the whole room.
And this―this is Cafe Ace’s famous seaweed toast! It’s made with seaweed, butter and soy sauce.
The ingredients are simple but the flavour of the seaweed complements the butter perfectly. It’s super delicious, I want to eat it everyday! And it only costs ¥170.
In the morning you can have it with blend coffee for ¥500 (+¥20 for iced coffee). You even get free refills on the blend coffee up until noon!
American doughnuts, too. You can enjoy these at the small price of ¥230. They are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and serve with a knob of butter in the ring. The heat of the doughnuts helps the butter to melt so you can lather it all over.
Finally, a photo of the owner himself. Even in the photo I feel like his smile gives his customers strength. Seeing his lively energy gave me energy too.
He holds his valuable feelings close, doing what he loves in the place he loves. I want to keep on seeing his radiating smile.
Address: 3-10-6 Kanda, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Weekdays 7:00-18:00 / Saturday 7:00-14:00
Closed: Sundays & National Holidays
Access: 3-minutes on foot from Kanda Station via the JR Line and Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Writer: Ema Tanioku
Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
Design: Yuko Abe (ASOBISYSTEM)
Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
【Tokyo Stroll】 The café that you want to visit to see someone #4 Cats working at Shinjuku-sanchome’s Café Arles
“Good service, a jolly owner and cute cats – this café is sure to heal you!”
I’m Ema Tanioku and today I’ll be introducing you to yet another café in Tokyo as the fourth edition of my series “The café that you want to visit to see someone”. Today I’ll be reporting about my visit to Café Arles which can be found at Shinjuku-sanchome. Ever since hearing that there were cats at this café, I’ve been set on going 〜♪♪
The café is very easy to access. To get to there, you can take the Toei Shinjuku line to Shinjuku-sanchome. From here, you can get to the café within a five-minute walk. Walking around the Shinjuku Suehirote theatre, the café soon came into sight. Somehow, I could sense the presence of cats just from the atmosphere…
There it was! The entrance to the café was decorated with many ornaments of cats and dogs. I don’ know why but I was filled with excitement before even having entered.
As soon as I entered, I immediately spotted a cat.
I was then greeted by the cat’s master who had a sweeping grin across his face and was wearing a hat with a cat broach. I could really feel his love for cats ♪♪
I took a sweeping glance over the café – cats, cats and more cats – there were so many cat-themed goods everywhere! Apart from cats goods, the master also collects clown goods and displayed everything all huddled together to decorate the café.
Although this was my first time at Café Arles, I immediately felt right at home as a warm feeling grew within me. I asked the master what got him into the café business and I was surprised by his response. It all started when the master was working at a mahjong parlour, where a person they knew asked them to start up a café.
The master then thought about the numerous paintings he had collected and how he was in search of a place to display them. The idea of choosing his own music, menu and decorating a café interior to his own taste really struck a chord with him.
There are many paintings displayed in the café. Amongst these are some by modern artist Tomomi Kondo, who made the paintings “please your master” and “cool your thighs”, which feature the kaban neko (café cats) Ishimatsu and Jirocho, who are “working hard” by lazing around.
Café Arles is fun and draws in even more fun. The atmosphere is filled with the love and enjoyment of the customers. That’s why I immediately felt so at home as soon as I entered. You can easily spend a long time here.
I asked the master what he recommends from his menu. His response? “My recommendation is what you want to eat the most!” he said wisely. I felt like eating Napolitan spaghetti and so that is what I ordered! (Price: ￥720 including tax)
It came with banana and giant corn ❤ – this excellent service made me so happy!
The gentle flavour of this homemade dish was delicious and I could really taste the Showa-retro Napolitan flavour to it. The drink, soup and salad services available gives this meal a perfect score for portion size satisfaction!
The master allowed me to take his café cat Jirocho-kun out for a walk. This was the first time I’d ever walked a cat – a new, fresh experience!
Jirocho-kun is a very calm and obedient cat, so we had a lovely stroll together. Speaking of which, Jirocho-kun loves his owner so much that he runs to meet him whenever he hears his car pull up at the shop.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the café. “I enjoyed every minute of it” explained the master happily. The master created a place where everyone can be happy and in return everyone supports him. Perhaps this cycle is the motivational force that has kept and will continue to push this café to live and thrive.
I’m glad I came to this café today and met such a special person.
I want to come here again and have another chat with the master!
Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #6 – ‘Angelus’ in Asakusa Loved by Osamu Tezuka
In this sixth instalment to her café series, Ema Tanioku stopped by Angeles, a café in Asakusa with a history spanning over 70 years.
Angeles is known for its history of famous frequenters including legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy). This wonderful location is always bustling with customers and is known to be full even during holidays.
When people think of Asakusa, they imagine Sensoji Temple and the district’s old-fashioned architecture. However, Angeles breaks that mould and instead takes on the form of a European-style place of worship. It’s different from all the rest and looks warm and welcoming from the outside.
Even if you have no plans to go into the café, the desserts on display look so invitingly delicious you’ll find yourself stopping in your tracks.
“They look so tasty…”
Time to go inside!
You’ll be spoilt for choice because they all look so good.
The café has three floors. It’s like an atrium where you can look down below from the top floor.
People who want to kick their feet up and read in the café or relax and space out can head to the second floor which has a hiding-place-like area. There’s a different atmosphere wherever you decide to sit, so it can be fun finding which part fits for you!
‘Angeles’ refers to a devotion in memory of the Annunciation in Christianity signalled by the ringing of church bells. Looking around at the decor you’ll see things like crosses and doves as well as signs of peace dotted about.
Ema ordered the Almond Purin (¥930).
In the middle of the bowl is a melon that looks as if it’s been sliced. It’s also plated with various fresh fruits like banana strawberry as well as tinned pineapple and peaches and finished with a side of fresh cream. All of that hides vanilla ice cream underneath. And of course the highlight of the dessert, the purin, also tucked away!
First thing’s first: munching down the strawberry! The fresh cream is a perfect complement to the fruits. Combine and gobble it all up.
And finally, the star of the plate. The purin! It has quite a sweet flavour and is supple so it’s very tasty.
The café’s number one recommendation on the dessert menu is the above.
The flavour of the Angelus (¥330) dessert hasn’t changed for over 50 years. It comes in either black or white. The black Angeles is made with coffee flavoured butter cream and coated with sweet chocolate. The white Angeles is made with ordinary butter cream and coated in white chocolate.
Neither are overly sweet and they’re at an easy-to-eat size. They were exquisite!
Angelus‘ speciality is their Dutch Coffee (¥620). Dutch coffee is made by dripping ice water dripped over the coffee to extract the maximum flavour. It even looks refreshing, making it perfect for the summertime heat. If you’re a coffee enthusiast then you’ve got to try this.
Ema was contemplating that although she’s sat there there in that moment, what kind of people were talking about what kinds of things 70 years ago? The thought simply excited her ♪
“Though the generations will change, this place will continue remaining the same and probably continue to be loved by lots of people. As time flows so does the delicious taste of what they have to offer. More places like this will come to be one by one. I wonder what kind of cafe will I encounter next?♡”
Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #8 – ‘Ginza West’
Ginza is a district in the heart of Tokyo famed for its extravagant streets lined with upmarket shops, luscious restaurants and fantastic entertainment. But it’s not only worthy of note for its flamboyance – it’s also rooted in rich culture and history.
Today, I visited Ginza West, a café that has been continuously loved in Ginza ever since it opened in 1947.
Before entering I saw lots of delicious confections lined up on display. You can order takeout too. Your mind will wander off as you ponder on which to take away for snack time.
The entire café is clean and tidy throughout and you can feel the decor has grace. It’s different from other cafés in that it has a dignified atmosphere to it. It has an air of tension to it, the kind that makes you straighten up your back. It’s a place that’s nice if someone wants to enjoy a luxurious experience once in a while.
I ordered cake and tea set! The tea cost ¥1,048. A cake set is the price of the drink plus ¥324.
You can actually have them bring you samples of cakes being served on that day. There’s so many cake varieties it’s hard to choose.
The most popular is this one – the Mosaic Cake!
Its appearance is cute. I ended up wanting to take a lot of photos.
The Mosaic Cake is made of cocoa sponge and butter sponge which is arranged to look like a mosaic piece. You can really taste the different flavours of each sponge. It’s only moderately sweet so it’s not too heavy. I wolfed it down!
And then, and then!
I got the white cream soda which I’d been wanting to try. It cost ¥1,188.
When you think of cream soda it’s generally green coloured melon soda with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. But this one uses no colouring. The soda is clear and also served with vanilla ice cream. Try drinking it yourself after adding a syrup of your choice.
It looks like a very elegant beverage.
In terms of taste, if you eat the vanilla ice cream after drinking some of the soda (which is subtly sweet) it makes for an exquisite balance. It’s a flavour I’ve never had before – it’s a novel sensation.
The chairs in the café have something about them too! They feel extremely comfortable, I felt exhausted. The staff kindly told me the secret behind them.
The back legs of the chairs are a little wider than the ones at the front allowing you to lean back much easier and making it feel much more comfortable. The chair legs are also cut to a certain length to allow easier sitting.
So that’s why. That’s why I felt so relaxed simply sitting on them. I felt I could be sat there no matter the hour.
t’s a kind of consideration you’d only find at a café. Hearing about those chairs made me think that cafes really are such wonderful places. The more you learn about them, the more you come to love their charms.
I wonder where I’ll visit next? Look forward to it!
Address: 7-3-6 Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Weekdays 9:00-22:00 (Stand Open Until 23:00) / Weekends 11:00-20:00
No Fixed Holidays.
Access: 5-minutes on foot from exit C2 of Ginza Station via Tokyo Metro Line / 10-minutes on foot from Yurakucho Station via JR Line
*347m from Ginza Station
Writer: Ema Tanioku
Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
Editor: Ai Watanabe
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
“Emaeri” is the nickname for models Ema and Eri Tanioku, who are Aomoji fashion model twins. Ema and Eri Tanioku specialise in twin fashion coordination. Over the years their fanbase has increased due to their cute looks. Ema Tanioku spreads Harajuku culture within Japan as well as overseas and works as a Harajuku Tourism Ambassador. Starting off as a model, Ema has broadened her talent range from fashion magazines to TV, and from playing the lead role in dramas to movies.
Official Chiikawa Store Opens on Tokyo Character Street
The official Chiikawa store, Chiikawa Land Tokyo Station, will open on September 16, 2022 on Tokyo Character Street beneath Tokyo Station!
Chiikawa is a popular character created by Japanese illustrator Nagano on Twitter. In December 2020, the character’s official online store, Chiikawa Market, was opened, and the many comics featuring the character posted on Twitter were compiled into a book. Now with a massive fanbase, Nagano’s follower count on social media has reached 1.3 million, and a number of collaboration cafes and exhibitions featuring his characters have popped up around Japan. Chiikawa even has his own anime series broadcast on Mezamashi TV!
One Hologram Sticker included with each purchase.
Manmaru Bottled Water with each purchase of ¥3,300 (Tax Included) or more
Small Plushie Friends (6 varieties) with each purchase of ¥8,800 (Tax Included) or more
Not for Sale / Limited Quantities Available
Chiikawa Land Shopping Bag (4 varieties)
Chiikawa Land Tokyo Station Exclusive Items
Layered Acrylic Stand / Smartphone Ring
Washi Paper Sticker in Smartphone Size
Large Face Towel / Bath Towel
Towel (Set of 3)
Large Tote Bag
Cookie Set in Cube Box
Salt (Set of 5)
Japanese Paper-style Pin in Capsule (12 varieties)
Commemorative Opening Stamp
The Harajuku and Umeda, Osaka Chiikawa Land stores, which opened last August, have seen massive success. In June 2022, the Fukuoka PARCO store opened, followed by the Kyoto Shijo Kawaramachi store in July. In August, the limited-time Magical Chiikawa store opened on Tokyo Character Street, and due to its massive popularity, it will now be permanent.
The Chiikawa Land Tokyo Station store features special commemorative products using newly-drawn illustrations, including exclusive purchase bonuses and exclusive shopping bags.
©nagano / chiikawa committee
Chiikawa Land Tokyo Station
Opening Day: September 16, 2022
Tokyo Station Hotel to Offer Accommodation Plan in Conjunction with the 150th Anniversary of Railway in Japan Exhibition
Starting on October 8, Tokyo Station Gallery will begin the 150th Anniversary of Railway in Japan Exhibition. To celebrate the opening of the event, Tokyo Station Hotel will begin offering a special lodging plan which includes a special ticket for entry starting September 15.
2022 marks the 15th anniversary of Japan’s first railroad. The exhibition will look back at the history of railroads from their inception in 1872 to the present day, and will also feature modern and contemporary Japanese art.
Over 150 works will be on display, from oil paintings to photographs. The exhibition will also include Kawanabe Kyosai’s Jigoku Gokuraku Meguri-zu and Utagawa Hiroshige’s masterwork Steam Train Running Along the Shore at Yokohama. The train headmark was designed by Katsuhiko Hibino in 2021.
The accommodation plan will include a special tour held on the morning of check-out day before the gallery opens to the public. Visitors can enjoy the exhibition in depth while listening to explanations by the curators who planned the exhibition. After the tour, visitors can enjoy the exhibition again. The special ticket features Utagawa Hiroshige’s painting Steam Train Running Along the Shore at Yokohama and is perfect as a souvenir.
Enjoy a rare moment surrounded by the historic architecture of Tokyo Station’s Marunouchi Station Building and immerse yourself in the history of the railroad.
150th Anniversary of Railway in Japan Exhibition Room Plan
Available: October 14 – December 23, 2022
Reservation Period: September 15, 12:00 – December 23
Official Site: https://www.tokyostationhotel.jp/
150th Anniversary of Railway in Japan Exhibition
Running: October 8, 2022 – January 9, 2023
*Please check the official website for closure dates.
Venue: Tokyo Station Gallery
Official Site: https://www.ejrcf.or.jp/gallery/
Chiikawa Store to Open for Limited Time on Tokyo Character Street
From August 19 until September 1, a special Chiikawa shop will open on Tokyo Character Street, located inside Tokyo Station!
Chiikawa is a popular character first revealed by Japanese illustrator Nagano on Twitter. The artist’s creations have become massively popular, with Nagano’s follower count on social media reaching over 1.2 million fans. From collaboration cafes and exhibitions to a recent anime series, the sky’s the limit for these adorable characters!
Purchase Bonus: Holographic Card (6 varieties, random) *Not for Sale
Bonus for Guests Spending ¥3,300 (Including Tax): Heart Fan *Not for Sale
Bonus for Guests Spending ¥8,800 (Including Tax): Bath Towel (2 varieties) *Not for Sale
*Available while supplies last.
At this limited-time Magical Chikawa shop, fans can find exclusive products featuring new illustrations, as well as special purchase bonuses and commemorative stamps for guests!
©nagano / chiikawa committee
Popular Character Shirotan Inspires Limited-Time Store at First Avenue Tokyo Station
Tokyo Character Street, located within First Avenue Tokyo Station, has opened a special pop-up shop dedicated to the popular character Shirotan! The store will be open until May 26, 2022.
Shirotan, an adorable harp seal, represents “comfort, healing, encouragement, and connectedness.”
Aiming to cover Tokyo Station in this cute and inspiring character, the pop-up shop isn’t the only Shirotan appearance going on. Those strolling from the Nozomi Plaza in front of the Yaesu Underground Central Exit ticket gate towards Character Street will see Shirotan covering the walls, welcoming guests.
In addition to standard Shirotan products, fans can also grab 17 brand-new items being sold exclusively at the pop-up shop.
The book Welcome to Shirotan’s World will be available on July 7, so be sure to preorder!
Shirotan’s Fluffy Store
Address: First Avenue Tokyo Station (1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
Open: May 13 – May 26, 2022
Hours: 10:00AM – 8:30PM (Closing at 6:00PM on May 26, 2022)
Chibi Maruko-chan 35th Anniversary Pop-up Shop Coming to First Avenue Tokyo Station
To commemorate the 35th anniversary of Chibi Maruko-chan, the Momoko Sakura Pop-up Shop will open from March 18 to March 31, 2022, at Ichiban Plaza on Tokyo Character Street in the First Avenue Tokyo Station mall.
The Chibi Maruko-chan manga series began in 1986, and was serialized in the popular shojo manga magazine Ribon until 2018. Written by Momoko Sakura, it tells the everyday life of the third-grade troublemaker Maruko and her family. The series is set in the Irie district in Shimizu, now a part of Shizuoka City, where Momoko Sakura was born.
About 40 never-before-seen items will be available at the shop with new illustrations by Momoko Sakura. From stationary to accessories, fans of the series shouldn’t miss it!
Momoko Sakura Pop-up Shop
Running: March 18 – March 31, 2022
Address: First Avenue Tokyo Station, Tokyo Character Street B1, Ichiban Plaza (1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
Official Site: https://www.tokyoeki-1bangai.co.jp
Vintage Furniture Exhibition ‘Life in Art: Tokyo Modernism 2022’ to Open at Three Venues Including MUJI HOTEL GINZA
Ryohin Keikaku, which operates the interior design brand IDÉE, will open the ‘Life in Art: Tokyo Modernism 2022’ exhibition from February 25 until April 10, 2022. Vintage stores and galleries from all over Japan that deal mainly with furniture from the 1940s to 1960s will come together to introduce audiences to exquisite designs from around the world. Shinichiro Nakahara and Takahiro Goko have organized the exhibition in an effort to spread the word about modern design in the golden age. The exhibition will be held in three parts, beginning with a showing at ATELIER MUJI GINZA and continuing to an auction at IDÉE Tokyo. The final exhibition will be held at MUJI HOTEL GINZA.
This exhibition is composed of items from a number of unique galleries and stores. Intended to promote the beauty of mid-century vintage furniture and interior design, each piece will be introduced alongside stories from the original designers.
Modernism Auction #Chairs
Store owners, creators, and artists participating in TOKYO MODERNISM 2022 will be auctioning off a selection of unique chairs during this unique event.
About 30 galleries and vintage shops from around Japan will transform the guest rooms on the 7th and 8th floors of MUJI HOTEL GINZA into stores for this special show. This is the main event and will gather together masterpieces of modern design from the United States, Brazil, Scandinavia, and Japan.
Life in Art “TOKYO MODERNISM 2022”
Running: February 25 – April 10, 2022
Address: ATELIER MUJI GINZA (Muji Ginza 6F / 3-5-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo)
Modernism Auction #Chairs
Part 1: February 25 – March 16, 2022
Part 2: March 18 – April 10, 2022
Address: IDÉE TOKYO (Square Zero Area #48, B1F, Gransta Tokyo inside the ticket gates of JR Tokyo Station)
Running: April 7 – April 10, 2022
Address: MUJI HOTEL GINZA 7F/8F Guest Rooms (3-3-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo)
April 7, 17:00-20:00 / ¥5,000 (Tax Included) *Preview
April 8-9, 11:00-20:00 / ¥3,000 (Tax Included)
April 10, 11:00-17:00 / ¥2,000 (Tax Included)
Official Site: https://www.idee-lifeinart.com/
Tokyo Gift Palette at Tokyo Station Selling Seasonal Strawberry Sweets
Tokyo Gift Palette, located near the Yaesu North Gate at Tokyo Station, offers a wide selection of unique souvenirs. From December 26, 2021 until January 11, 2022, the location will be holding the Exciting New Year’s Fair, with the Strawberry Sweets Fair coming soon after from January 5 until January 25, 2022.
Konigs-Krone Luxury ‘Strawberry Parfait’
Patisserie Ginza Sembikiya ‘Strawberry Omelet’
Strawberry Shop by FRANCAIS ‘Strawberry Parfait’
*Only available at Tokyo Gift Palette
Tokyo Kaikan ‘Reward Parfait ~Strawberry & Chestnut~
Strawberry Shop by FRANCAIS ‘Fresh Strawberry Milk Cake’
Oosumi Tamaya ‘Strawberry Daifuku’
Oosumi Tamaya ‘Chinese New Year Daifuku’
Tokyo Kaikan ‘Chocolate & Orange Tart’
Paq & Mog Terrace ‘Calbee and Tokyo Banana Bonito & Kelp Umami Dashi Potato Chips
The New Year’s Fair will feature cute cakes and sweets inspired by the Chinese Zodiac, along with traditional Japanese goods. The Strawberry Sweets Fair will see a number of popular goodies on sale, including desserts that won top prizes in the ‘Favorite Fruit Survey’ conducted by Tokyo Gift Palette on Instagram in June 2021.
Exciting New Year’s Fair
Running: December 26, 2021 – January 11, 2022
Strawberry Sweets Fair
Running: January 5 – January 25, 2022
Tokyo Michi Terrace 2021 Event to Illuminate the City’s Marunouchi Area
09.December.2021 | SPOT
East Japan Railway and Mitsubishi Estate Company are teaming up for Tokyo Michi Terrace 2021, a special light-up event being held at Tokyo Station from December 14 until December 25. This year’s theme is ‘Scenery at Dawn,’ and was inspired by the phrase ‘after the night comes the day.’ 2021 was another difficult year for people around the world, and this event signifies the dawn of a new era.
The Tokyo Station Marunouchi Station Building, the trees in the Station Square, and the trees along Gyoko-Dori Avenue will all be decorated with lights that gradually change color. Hopefully, 2022 will be an easier year!
2021 Event Theme: ‘Scenery at Dawn’
After all of the hardships of the year, Christmas 2021 will be the dawn of a new era.
Tokyo will give citizens and guests a beautiful moment illuminated with the morning sunlight.
Tokyo Michi Terrace 2021
Running: December 14 – December 25, 2021
Location: Tokyo Station Marunouchi Station Building, Tokyo Station Marunouchi Station Square, Gyoko-Dori Avenue
*Event period, hours, and contents are subject to change.
*Content may be altered or canceled due to various circumstances.
Report: Sebastian Masuda’s ‘Yes, Kawaii is Art’ Exhibition at Kanda Myojin Shrine Goes Beyond ‘Cute’
What does the word ‘kawaii’ mean to you? For most people overseas, it’s a purely Japanese aesthetic combining colorful visuals with cutesy characters to make something so adorable it defies imagination. In recent years, however, ‘kawaii’ has become a kind of philosophy that transcends language, national borders, and even consciousness. It’s a driving force behind people’s lives and something that pulls people out of bed in the morning–it’s something capable of instantly putting a smile on people’s faces. For those wishing to study the philosophy behind the ‘kawaii’ movement, the Godfather of Kawaii Sebastian Masuda is currently holding an exhibition at Kanda Myojin Shrine in Tokyo until December 12, 2021. What is it about ‘kawaii’ that is so capable of inspiring so many different people and cultures around the world?
A correlation chart welcomes guests to the grounds. The ‘Kawaii Archival Research,’ a project on kawaii culture conducted with students from the Kyoto University of Arts, collected data on ‘kawaii’ trends from the post-war period to the present day. Through interactions with the worldwide ‘kawaii’ community, it’s clear how much of an impact the aesthetic has had on people around the globe.
In the midst of the pandemic in 2020, Masuda announced #KAWAIITRIBE, a way to encourage those coping with depression during the days of COVID-19. His followers were asked to use ‘color’ to bring the world together, and more and more, the ‘kawaii’ movement became a way to express and love oneself. Using #KAWAIITRIBE, more and more fans of the movements became connected–even if those users were countries apart.
The hashtag #SPEAKUP was also utilized by Masuda to collect data from ‘kawaii’ lovers around the world, asking about hobbies, interests, and opinions on ‘kawaii’ culture. The data collected over the course of 12 days was incredibly meaningful to Masuda and led to plenty of new discoveries about the community as a whole.
Masuda explains that each country has different types of ‘kawaii,’ and that the aesthetic is expressed in different ways around the world. One country may have people influenced mainly by ‘kawaii’ expressions in anime and manga, while another expresses it through fashion or music. ‘Kawaii’ is diverse, just as people are diverse.
Sebastian Masuda has also held a Zoom meeting with people in ‘kawaii’ communities around the globe to discover how they became involved with the aesthetic initially, while also asking how it inspired them and gave them strength during these difficult times. Certain people claimed that ‘kawaii’ helped them in their personal growth, while others say it has brought out some of their potential in new and unexpected ways. While Masuda’s artwork may simply seem visual, ‘kawaii’ has become a tool for new communication and personal healing and growth. Some may even call it a kind of therapy: a place where people can surround themselves with color and joy to heal from the difficulties of life. The bold colors of the ‘kawaii’ movement can inspire people to be bold in their daily lives. Individuality should be celebrated and self-confidence should reign supreme–that is yet another message of the ‘kawaii’ movement.
Many people involved in the Zoom call had never met, and after the initial meeting, the room was left open to give people a place to communicate. Afterward, the ‘kawaii’ circle only became bigger, with a Facebook group bringing together more and more members of the community.
The research done during the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic has given ‘kawaii’ lovers a reason to think deeply on how to overcome the many struggles born from the ‘new normal,’ and these forums are perfect places to share colorful messages of hope and strength.
Inspired by Masuda’s own struggles during his time in Manhatten in 2013, Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare- is on display at Kanda Myojin. The installation has previously appeared in locations around the world including New York City, Milan, and Amsterdam. This time, the exhibit was inspired by ‘muro,’ a basement room in Omotesando where amazake is fermented. The room was used as an air-raid shelter during the war, and walking along the dimly-lit path leading to Masuda’s brightly-colored room, it’s hard not to wish that those evacuees could have been surrounded by these beautiful colors instead of pitch darkness.
It is no exaggeration to say that this is Masuda’s representative work. Created in the midst of the artist’s own struggles, it has helped establish the philosophy of ‘kawaii’ culture and continues to help those dealing with their own problems.
The Time After Time Capsule Art Project, starting in 2014 and held in 12 cities around the world, is a massive time capsule filled with messages and wishes for the future. Shaped like the beloved Sanrio character Hello Kitty, the capsule is gradually changing color as it becomes heavier and heavier with wishes for peace and happiness from fans around the world. Originally planned to be exhibited at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, this couldn’t come to fruition due to the current pandemic. This is the first time it is being shown in Japan.
The WORLD TIME CLOCK, a once-famous landmark of Harajuku, has also been recreated and installed within Kanda Myojin.
‘Yes, Kawaii Is Art’ at Kanda Myojin is a deeply emotional, personal, and inspiring exhibition allowing visitors to experience firsthand how ‘kawaii’ culture is capturing the hearts of people around the world. Sebastian Masuda isn’t slowing down any time soon, and his works will continue to heal people and bring joy for many years to come.
Sebastian Masuda’s solo exhibition ‘Primal Pop’ will be held at Roppongi Hills A/D Gallery from December 11, 2021, until January 10, 2022.
TEXT：Natalie（MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON）
YES, KAWAII IS ART at Kanda Myojin Shrine
Running until December 12, 2021
Location: Kanda Myojin Shrine
Running: December 11, 2021 – January 10, 2022
Location: Roppongi Hills A/D Gallery
A Sneak Peek at Sebastian Masuda’s ‘Yes, Kawaii Is Art’ Exhibition at Kanda Myojin Shrine
The Godfather of Kawaii Sebastian Masuda will open his ‘Yes, Kawaii Is Art’ exhibition at the 1,300-year-old Kanda Myojin Shrine on December 4, 2021. A number of Masuda’s representative works will be on display at the historical site, known as one of the most important shrines during the Edo period.
Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-
Kanda Myojin Shrine
Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare- has been shown in New York, Milan, and Amsterdam over the past few years, and will now make an appearance as part of this exhibition. Given the magnificence of the venue, the work will be presented in a unique way–in the basement of the shrine. In addition, a part of the research on Kawaii culture conducted in collaboration with Kyoto University of Arts Ultra Factory will be on display as well. Guests will be invited to ponder the nature of Kawaii, and what makes it so beloved by audiences worldwide.
Colorful Rebellion -WORLD TIME CLOCK-
Time After Time Capsule Art Project
Kawaii Archival Research
Near the entrance to the shrine, the Colorful Rebellion -WORLD TIME CLOCK will be on display. Clad in the cutest colors imaginable, it has become a symbol of Harajuku around the world. The Hello Kitty-shaped time capsule, which was on display for five months in New York City in 2015, will also be shown on the temple grounds. The participatory art project has made it to 12 cities around the world so far.
Kawaii culture will blend with traditional Japanese culture during this exhibition, so keep an eye out for more details coming soon!
What is ‘Yes, Kawaii Is Art?’
Sebastian Masuda has been at the helm of the global Kawaii movement for decades.
In 2020, Masuda asked a number of questions to fans of Japanese pop culture around the world–what is Kawaii? Why does Kawaii cross borders, generations, and gender? This new exhibition tries to find an answer to those questions while bringing some joy and excitement to the local community.
Sebastian Masuda Exhibition ‘Yes, Kawaii Is Art’ at Kanda Myojin Shrine
Dates: December 4 – December 12, 2021
Hours: 12:00-18:00 (Last Entry at 17:30)
Address: Kanda Myojin Shrine (2-16-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
Admission: Free (¥500 for Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-)
For more details on the event, follow Sebastian Masuda’s Twitter:
Tokyo Revengers Characters Speak Local Dialects on New Posters Across Tokyo Station
Starting September 13, characters from the popular anime series Tokyo Revengers are taking over Tokyo Station in a unique new poster campaign! In addition to one main poster featuring all main characters, 47 local posters–one for each Japanese prefecture–are being displayed throughout the massive train station, with characters speaking in local dialects to promote different areas of Japan. For those learning Japanese, this is a neat way to learn more about the unique vocabulary used throughout the country.
A fun Twitter campaign is also underway, asking fans to tweet #オレの地元が最強 (#MyHometownIsTheStrongest). The special prize will be a B0 Japan Revengers poster, given to only one winner, with the remaining 47 winners able to snag a B2-size poster.
A special advertisement for Japan Revengers will appear in the morning edition of the September 17th edition of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Additionally, to celebrate the release of the 24th volume of the Tokyo Revengers manga series, those who purchase the new volume will receive one randomly-selected 47-prefecture illustration card during the in-store campaign.
Be sure to check out which prefecture your favorite character is repping!
Special Area for Doraemon Tokyo Banana Opens in JR Tokyo Station
Popular souvenir brand Tokyo Banana is celebrating 30 years! These tasty treats are a must-buy for those visiting Japan, and now, a familiar face will be popping up at a special area in the JR Tokyo Station Tokyo Banana shop: Doraemon Tokyo Banana Tokyo Station opens on August 6, 2021. Our favorite blue robot-cat just turned 50 in 2020, and this is the perfect way to celebrate!
Doraemon Tokyo Banana ‘Found it!’
The Doraemon Tokyo Banana is a fluffy, gluten-free sponge cake. Created to celebrate the original creation of these dreamy sweets, the special Doraemon Tokyo Banana Tokyo Station area is now open at JR Tokyo Station. Adorned with various super cute designs, you’ll also be able to find these treats at convenience stores across Japan!
Visitors will also be able to purchase a special gift box, complete with a gently smiling Doraemon design. The box contains eight Tokyo Banana sweets, and is perfect as a souvenir for family and friends–or even for yourself! The sweets within are decorated with random Doraemon designs, so you’ll have to open the box to find out which ones you got! This item is sure to bring joy to all Doraemon fans both young and old.
A two-pack Doraemon Tokyo Banana will also be available. Three different Take-copter varieties and three different Anywhere Door varieties will be on sale, each with uniquely adorable designs to make you want to collect them all. Be sure to check out this special area, and pick up some memorable gifts!
(Please note that the shop has certain quantities of each package, and not all packages may be available depending on the date.
This product is manufactured in the same facility as products containing wheat flour.)
Doraemon Tokyo Banana Tokyo Station
Store Info: JR Tokyo Station HANAGATAYA Tokyo Doraemon Tokyo Banana Tokyo Station
Address: JR Tokyo Station 1F Central Passage, under the Tokaido Line
Open: August 6, 2021
Hours: 6:30-21:30 (Business hours may vary.)
Official Site: https://www.tokyobanana.jp/