Interview with the teenage rap singer DAOKO who has an active music career in Shibuya.

09.October.2016 | FEATURES / MUSIC

DAOKO is a teenage rap singer who attracts mass support on social network sites by young people mainly in Shibuya, which is known as the center of Japanese pop culture. She has started becoming popular through collaboration work with m-flo, which is a famous Japanese band. She is providing musical pieces for the movie called “Kawaki,” and is in charge of the music together with TeddyLoid for Studio Color’s short film “ME!ME!ME!” directed by Hideaki Anno. She made her major debut in 2015 and started appearing in public at the end of that year. Her remarkable live concerts, which utilize lots of technology, are watched not only by people in Japan but also outside of the country with keen interest.  

 

She released a new single this September called “Moshimo Bokura Ga Game No Shyuyakude/Daisuki with TeddyLoid/BANG!” which includes four different songs. This single reflects her thought which appeared after her major debut that she wants to be closer with the audiences in front of her. Her music sound represents 2010’s SHIBUYA/TOKYO which is categorized as in between rapping and singing, and also in between hip-hop, electronic music and Japanese pop music.

 

How did you get interested in music?

My father listens to a variety of music. That’s how I first heard Ringo Shiina who made a big impact on me when I was little.  At that time, I think my father was more likely to listen to club music such as techno or house music though.

 

Your father has good taste.

Does he? I think he was probably what is now called subculture boys. I wouldn’t say my taste of music is totally the same as his, but his music had a big influence on me. Since then, I started watching NicoNico Douga. I found myself enjoying the fact that there are so many different channels, and I tried rap singing on the nico rap category. I was proactively willing to listen to many different types of music since I joined an independent record label, LOW HIGH WHO?, when I was in the first grade of my high school.

 “Shibuya” and Tokyo, known as the center of Japanese pop-culture, are used in DAOKO’s song’s lyrics. Do you think it’s important to your music that you grew up in this area?

I didn’t go to the Shibuya neighborhood often until I started working in music. Even though I’m from Tokyo, I think Shibuya is the area where many people with the latest fashion gather. Since I was a part of an independent record label, I had my first live concert at PARCO’s 2.5D studio in Shibuya; which has been closed for rebuilding since August. I started doing live concerts once or twice a month since then, and Shibuya started to influence me. I gradually started feeling like Shibuya is my home.

 

How did you come up with the unique flow that goes between rapping and singing?

I don’t know. The reason I started working in music was the video I posted on NicoNico Douga, and I learned how to rap by watching other people’s videos. That might be affecting that.

 

So the fact you started rapping before acquiring technical knowledge affects your music now?

That’s probably true. I like rap music. I started listening to “NITRO MICROPHONE UNDERGROUND,” “King Ghidorah,” and “Otokoaka GAMI” after being part of an independent label, but I don’t think people listen to these types of rap music in their daily lives. For example, hip-hop music is categorized as a type of pop music outside of Japan. There are some songs that don’t have a clear line between these two different genres of music. I often hear this type of music when I go out in town, so the fact that I don’t have any roots as a rapper enable me to create original rap which doesn’t fall into any established music category.

 

Triple A-side single called “Moshimo Bokura Ga Game No Shyuyakude/Daisuki with TeddyLoid/BANG!” will be released on September 14th. Is there anything that influenced your new songs?

I had 80s U.S. pop music in mind when I created “Moshimo Bokura Ga Game No Shyuyakude,” and Mr. Kojima: one of the ORESAMA’s band members, finished off my original pop music by interpreting it into modern ideas. This song consists of many different elements such as the introduction part that has electro-ish sound, and the rap part that has break-beat. “Daisuki” consists of the track which has modern bass sound created by TeddyLoid and melody which has a traditional folk song taste. I think this incongruity sound is new to everyone. I collaborated with TeddyLoid on “ME!ME!ME!” before, and I was hoping I would be able to work with him again. This song is used in the TV commercial for “HAL Specialized College of Technology and Design.” I thought hard about how I could impact the viewer during only a 15 second commercial and I ended up asking him to make an aggressive sound.

 

What about “BANG!”?

I started feeling that I want to communicate with my audiences more after my major debut, so I added a part that everyone can clap to so they have a sense of unity. It is boring to put cheerful lyrics in this kind of music, so I purposely put dramatic lyrics of a girl’s perspective to make a contrast. I expressed feelings that every girl can relate to.

 

After showing your face in public last year, you have had more of a chance to express yourself in music videos. For example, I think the music clip for “BANG!” has Ringo Shiina’s influence.

 

I didn’t say I like Ringo Shiina at all, but the music video’s director, Yuichi Kodama, might consider her to be the root of my music career. I think singing through a loud speaker like Ringo Shiina sounds mysterious in this song. I wasn’t comfortable showing my face on music videos at first and I struggled like “I don’t know what to do,” but my feelings have certainly changed and I want to be face to face with my audience.  It was my music style to hide my face using special stage effects in my live concerts.  I had a clear screen put in front of me with objects motion graphics and lyrics on it, which caused the stage people to have to deal with me carefully.  With the wall I literally felt like there was a wall between me and the audience.

 

I understand.

I’ve already come up with some ideas for new songs, and I want my audiences to enjoy my live concerts even more. I think this positive atmosphere is reflected on this new single, and I would like everyone to enjoy watching me as before, and also enjoy experiencing my music at the same time.

———

 

Her music shows potential for being a new type of music full of attractiveness of Shibuya’s street culture that you can’t find outside of Japan. Why don’t you give it a try and experience this pop world? You’re going to get hooked on her music.

RELATED ENTRIES

  • DAOKO Releases New Song ‘Ocharaketayo’ Featuring Indonesian Hitmaker pxzvc

    26.March.2020 | MUSIC

    DAOKO released her last single Otogi no Machi in February this year and promoted it with a mini solo tour in Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo.

    Her new single and the second of 2020, Ocharaketayo, was released yesterday on March 25, and features Indonesian hitmaker pxzvc. It is a coming together of cultures to bring listeners next generation music.

    The song is a response to the speed of Tokyo’s urban development, and expresses her feeling of impatience, which cannot be put into words, at her own pace.

     

    This is a must-listen for fans of DAOKO, an artist who just keeps on expanding her scope of expression.

  • Interview: Airbnb Japan Managing Officer Hidetomo Nagata & Sanken Kogyo President Mori Iwata discuss raising Japan’s value through new and exciting creativity

    01.February.2020 | BUSINESS / FEATURES

    Japanese art and culture is recognised the world over, but recently, it feels like the pressure is being put on by countries like South Korea and China. But what you perhaps didn’t know is that the businesses that work to promote Japan’s culture to the worldーthrough that creativity and those servicesーare actually thriving. We had the opportunity to speak with a certain two individuals: Hidetomo Nagata, Managing Officer at Airbnb Japanーa company that increases the value of real estateーand Mori Iwata, the President of Sanken Kogyo, which creates value from zero.

    *This is a shortened version of the interview

    ——-I’d first like to ask you both to explain what it is that both of your companies do.

     

    Nagata: I work for the Japanese subsidiary of Airbnb. Airbnb was first established in 2008 as a platform for helping people to match various conditions for their trips. Services began with accommodation; today, we have over 7 million locations listed in 191 countries. Past statistics show that over 500 million people have stayed as guests, and our revenue from Hosts, who rent out their houses, exceeds 8.8 trillion yen. We are also expanding our services on the side to offer more things, like our Experience and Adventure services. It’s a comprehensive platform for travelling.

     

    Iwata: So you have not only accommodation, but experience-based services too?

     

    Nagata: We began the Experience service in 2016. To give an example of what it is, [we are partnered with] people who are skilled in things like traditional Japanese crafts, and they will give [travelling] foreign guests the chance to learn about those skills. 2020 is the year of the Olympics, so we are offering experiences in conjunction with Olympians too. You can learn about various rules from an Olympian, ask them about competing, experience their sport hands-on, and so on, in the hopes that people will come to enjoy those particular sports more. We’d also be overjoyed if the Olympians made use of these experiences as a second career.

     

    Iwata: My company makes prototypes. While I say prototypes, it actually constitutes a variety of things, for example, office automation equipment, cars, medical equipment, stationery, toys, and so on. We make a wide range of different prototypes. Stationery, for example, is something we all use daily, isn’t it? But what we make is the prototype. So it doesn’t get released into the world, but is instead used as the basis for it to then be mass-produced. Our prototype products don’t stay around, but it’s very rewarding.

    ——-Tell me about your strengths that make you competitive to other companies.

     

    Nagata: Airbnb’s vision is ‘Belong Anywhere,’ meaning that no matter where you travel, you too will feel like you are living in that place. We learn about a region, have locals tell us about places to eat, and so on. We value the things we learn through our hosts. This has created a new lifestyle for people, as well as a community. We have a lot of hosts who have said to us that their lives have changed after starting with Airbnb. By opening their doors, and communicating with the people of the world, their worlds expand, they acquire knowledge, and they gain more income. For me, that’s a valuable thing.

     

    Iwata: We’re a really small company in our warehouse. In the past, there were lots of small companies, but they have since been weeded out and disappeared. The businesses I bump into on my way to work are all huge, but our strength lies in the fact that the warehouse, office and business are all in the same place. There aren’t many companies out there on this scope with all of these things firmly in place. The speed at which we do things can’t be done at a major company either. I can work right there and then during a meeting or appointment. We don’t have strengths and weaknesses; we can make anything. That, and our shop staff who interact with customers are first-class. Our perspective is that we can absolutely make what they’re after, and at a reasonable price, so I think they’ll choose us. We can do anythingーmetal, resin, plastic. I’ll go ahead and say that we’re probably the only ones who have come as far as we have.

    ——-Sanken Kogyo opened a subsidiary overseas too, didn’t you?

     

    Iwata: I mentioned earlier how I went to America. Well, I set up a subsidiary in Chicago last year. We are the third prototype company in Japan to have done so. We don’t have employees there yet, but I’m excited!

     

    ——-On the other hand, Airbnb is a service that began outside of Japan. Do you ever pour all of your energy into Japan?

     

    Nagata: Homeshares and homestays aren’t common but more and more people are wanting to give it a go. For us to be able to think about things like homeshares and for it to become a normal choice for people, we’re creating new services and designs related to accommodation, not just internally, but with our seventeen Airbnb Partners too.

    The hotel MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS in Harajuku was renovated from a 50-year-old or so building. By carrying out renovations, they are able to create rooms with a strong design aspectーrooms that are expensive to rent out. They combine accommodation with Japanese culture, so I believe they’ll be able to embrace homeshares.

     

    ——-The two of you give rise to value with your businesses, but what does value mean exactly for you personally?

     

    Nagata: I think value is relative. It determines a person’s subjectivity, and it can end up changing how you look at something or your way of thinking. I believe Airbnb is bringing about a new sense of value when it comes to real estate. If we’re talking leasing property, then how new building is and how close it is to the station are conditions with value. On the other hand, if it’s hotel accommodation, a building that’s 100-years-old is itself a valuable condition, and reviews that highlight it as a good aspect increase trust, even if the location isn’t ideal. Even if the price range increases, users will still stay there. I believe that the way in which you draw value from the same piece of real estate can change depending on how you think about it.

     

    Nagata: How about you, Mr. Iwata? Listening to your story, I see the speed of your interactions and communication bring value for you.

     

    Iwata: You hit the nail on the head. The speed of our staff is tied to customers’ trust. When we’re making a deal, our estimations gradually end up going in a different direction <laughs>. We have times when things don’t go well in the end, like when we’re taking in various opinions while cobbling together a prototype. But I know those times, so I’ll do things like go and work on something else at the same time instead. If our estimations go well in the end it’s good, so our staff’s qualities, like their quick-wittedness, ties customers to us. It’s the same thing as the machines we use being for building prototypes. I think in the end, communication between people is the newest way to create value. Especially since the industry in Japan has no life in itat the minute.. I want them to get in the spirit more.

    ——-Sanken Kogyo opened a subsidiary overseas too, didn’t you?

     

    Iwata: I mentioned earlier how I went to America. Well, I set up a subsidiary in Chicago last year. We are the third prototype company in Japan to have done so. We don’t have employees there yet, but I’m excited!

     

    ——-On the other hand, Airbnb is a service that began outside of Japan. Do you ever pour all of your energy into Japan?

     

    Nagata: Homeshares and homestays aren’t common but more and more people are wanting to give it a go. For us to be able to think about things like homeshares and for it to become a normal choice for people, we’re creating new services and designs related to accommodation, not just internally, but with our 128 Airbnb Partners too.

     

    The hotel MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS in Harajuku was renovated from a 50-year-old or so building. By carrying out renovations, they are able to create rooms with a strong design aspectーrooms that are expensive to rent out. They combine accommodation with Japanese culture, so I believe they’ll be able to embrace homeshares.

     

    ——-The two of you give rise to value with your businesses, but what does value mean exactly for you personally?

     

    Nagata: I think value is relative. It determines a person’s subjectivity, and it can end up changing how you look at something or your way of thinking. I believe Airbnb is bringing about a new sense of value when it comes to real estate. If we’re talking leasing property, then how new building is and how close it is to the station are conditions with value. On the other hand, if it’s hotel accommodation, a building that’s 100-years-old is itself a valuable condition, and reviews that highlight it as a good aspect increase trust. Even if the price range increases, users will still stay there. I believe that the way in which you draw value from the same piece of real estate can change depending on how you think about it.

     

    Nagata: How about you, Mr. Iwata? Listening to your story, I see the speed of your interactions and communication bring value for you.

     

    Iwata: You hit the nail on the head. The speed of our staff is tied to customers’ trust. When we’re making a deal, our estimations gradually end up going in a different direction <laughs>. We have times when things don’t go well in the end, like when we’re taking in various opinions while cobbling together a prototype. But I know those times, so I’ll do things like go and work on something else at the same time instead. If our estimations go well in the end it’s good, so our staff’s qualities, like their quick-wittedness, ties customers to us. It’s the same thing as the machines we use being for building prototypes. I think in the end, communication between people is the newest way to create value. Especially since the industry in Japan has no life in itat the minute.. I want them to get in the spirit more.

     

    ——-For my last question, please tell me about your visions for the future.

    Nagata: Personally, I want to expand the possibilities for new lifestyles, ways of living, and design, which we have done through shares. I was originally a politician before this, so I’m aware of the problems of how to move our society and regions forward. I think sharing is one of the ways to solve it. By sharing vacant houses around the country, we can give rise to nonresident populations, and if elderly people use these kinds of services, they’ll have a great time. I think we’re still lacking on the design side of things, so we will create by working with other businesses, and I hope we can pave the way for new lifestyles and ways of working.

     

    Iwata: Whether it’s in Japan, factories in China, or the US, I want to work hard to get our prototype workshop out there. I think the Japanese industry has plenty left to give, so I want to challenge myself to that. I want the world to see more of Japan’s industry!

     

    Nagata: Mr. Iwata, I can see you’re active in the work place and having a good time in your position. I think it’s a wonderful thing that you’re paving the way for new things in response to the crisis of your industry.

     

    Iwata: Thank you. I’m kind of embarrassed hearing that <laughs>. I’ve learned a lot listening to your story too.

    Sanken Kogyo, an exciting production business bringing about value and promoting Japanese craftsmanship to the world. Airbnb, a company raising the value of real estate, and expanding its travel services across the globe. From zero to one; from one to a hundred. I feel the infinite expansion of these two companies. In lieu of repeating the services that already exist, their work allows for constant challenge, and thus enables them to grow. I look forward to the future growth of these new creative industries and services, which will astonish the world.

     

    Interview & Text: Yuki Yokoo

    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • We Interviewed The Creators Behind Sanrio’s Popular Enjoy Idol Series

    20.January.2020 | FASHION / FEATURES

    Are you aware of Sanrio’s “Enjoy Idol Series”? For idol fans, it’s an essential part of your concert trip for the ultimate experience.

    Uchiwa Fan Case (10 Varieties): ¥880 (After Tax)

    A cute case to protect your precious uchiwa fan from damage. You can even stick it on your wall!

    Concert Confetti Storage Keyring (10 Varieties): ¥550 Each (After Tax)

    Want to keep living the memory of confetti bursting out from the sky at that concert? Store one in this keyring!

     

    Idol uchiwa fans. If you’re in Japan, you’ll have definitely seen these around – a round fan bearing a large picture of an artist or idol in the centre. From cute Sanrio-themed items to decorate your idol concert merchandise to even a keyring that preserves concert confetti, Sanrio’s Enjoy Idol Series is full of must-have items for concert-going idol fans. However, there seems to be no other secondary use of these items that cater to the non-concert-goer. What a niche market.

    Fan Memory Notebook: ¥550 Each (After Tax)

    This is an easy way to keep your notes on activities you do to support your idols.

     

    Just how much do idol fans love these items? After conducting research among friends with over 10-years of experience as an obsessive idol fan, it seems that these are more popular than one may think. A quick visit to Sanrio’s official website revealed that the series is so popular that many items sell out quickly.

     

    Despite trying to reach out to what might seem a small, niche market, these items seem to be in high demand among idol fans. Just what kind of person came up with such an idea? Curious to find out, we met up with the Enjoy Idol Series project planners for an interview.

     

    Q1: It’s a pleasure to have this interview. We at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON love Sanrio so much that it’s not often we go long without releasing some kind of news about you. One of the most fascinating Sanrio merchandise series has to be the Enjoy Idol Series for its high demand in such a niche area. Our first question is: From what idea or initial thought was this series born?

     

    Project Planner: The Enjoy Idol Series is managed by me and one other person. Both of us are avid idol fans. We noticed not only lots of fans at concerts using Sanrio merchandise, but also many idol fans on social media using Sanrio characters as profile pictures and as stickers on their photos online. For quite a few years now there’s been a connection forming between idol fans and Sanrio characters in several ways.

     

    We also noticed that although merchandise aimed at idol fans is steadily increasing, there still wasn’t anything cute for them out there. That’s why we started designing this series. The other project leader and I often go to concerts and watch DVDs together. That’s when the ideas started flowing. Eventually, we were packing our project full of ideas and it was really fun. We thought of how we could combine Sanrio characters and idol fans to create something incredibly cute

     

    Q2: It’s wonderful to hear that you are both idol fans yourselves. When you first had these initial ideas running through your head, were you confident that your series would become popular among other idol fans?

     

    Planner: We were very excited to have created this cute Enjoy Idol series and we were certain that other fans would feel the same. And the reaction to it exceeded my expectations. Even people who don’t usually go to Sanrio shops buy something from the series because of their love of Sanrio which made us really happy to see.

     

    Q3: Having seen all the sold out products on your website, it’s clear that many people appreciate what you’ve done. How does it feel to see idol fans using merchandise that you designed?

     

    Project Planner: We’re just so grateful to see people using items from the Enjoy Idol Series to make the most of their concert experience. A lot of people buying products from the series buy specific items based on strongly associating their idol with a certain Sanrio character. We’ve now learned the reasons behind the choices fans make when purchasing from the series which has been a real eye-opener.

    Silver Decoration Case (7 Varieties): ¥660 (After Tax)

    A box to save your concert confetti

     

    Q4: After some research among a number of friends who are idol fans, it seems that your series is a big hit. Many are excited to see what you are going to knock up next. Do you have any new ideas you’re warming up to?

     

    Project Planner: I cannot reveal any specific details just yet. We are still in the process of creating our next items. You can expect them to maintain Sanrio’s cute style. As an idol fan myself, I am committed to making sure these items are of high functionality for our users.

     

    Q5: I’m sure that many people will be over the moon to hear that you are developing yet more cute items. Do you have any final words you would like to say to idol fans and Sanrio fans?

     

    Project Planner: I would like to thank you all for your continuous support for the Enjoy Idol Series. We are delighted to improve your lifestyle and we hope that these items help you make the most of your experience as an idol fan.

     

    When you have something to adore, you lead a fulfilling life. I’ve heard the stories of friends who are idol fans and can feel their excitement towards the release of our new products. I’m so happy to think that these products are improving the quality of life for many idol fans.

    Diary Stickers (7 Varieties): ¥275 (After Tax)

     These stickers are full of words perfect for idol fans but of no use to those who are not idol fans!

     

    Just seeing some of the specific words and phrases written on the idol stickers shows just how much the project planners understand and feel close to other idol fans. It is enough to warm your heart.

     

    The two project planners put their love of idol fans at the centre of their design proposal, creating a merchandise series just for them. Each item connects idol fans through their mutual love. This eye-opening interview showed the true strength of shared passion when catering to a niche market.

     

    Despite not being an idol fan themselves, our interviewer could feel the love poured into each item in the series. What item will be released next? We’ll be just as excited as the idol fans are, waiting eagerly for its release.

     

    ⓒ’76, ’88, ’89, ’96, ’01, ’05, ’19 SANRIO. 著作(株)サンリオ

  • DAOKO Releases Music Video For New Song ‘Otogi no Machi’

    16.January.2020 | MUSIC

    Tokyo-bred singer and rapper DAOKO just dropped the music video for her new song Otogi no Machi which was released as a digital single just yesterday (January 15). Check it out below.

     

    DAOKO – “Otogi no Machi” MUSIC VIDEO

    In the video, DAOKO plays the role of an ‘OL’—a Japanese abbreviation for an office ladyーworking somewhere in the city. Tired from work, she drags her tired body through the night-wrapped downtown streets. Awaiting her at the club she arrives at is blaring music and bright lights. When she steps back outside, the worldーwhich before was black and white for herーnow has colour to it, expressing the fact that music can bring colour to our ordinary lives. The scenes and outfit were all conceived by DAOKO herself, making this DAOKO’s first entirely self-produced video.

     

    The music video also features many pieces of work from illustrator Hermippe, who worked on the CD cover for the digital single as well as the key visual for DAOKO’s “2020 Otogi no Mitoshi tour.”

    The song’s lyrics are fantasy-like as they mix together fiction and non-fiction, woven together effortlessly by DAOKO’s lyrical rap flow, and calling back to the music of her early days while evolving her sound at the same time. Together with Nariaki Obukuro, DAOKO has created a new and fitting style of club music for the Reiwa era.

  • Interview: Go! Go! Curry President Hirokazu Miyamori & Sakura President Toshiaki Yuasa Discuss Progressive Innovation and Generating Added Value

    28.November.2019 | BUSINESS / FEATURES

    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!

     

    Miyamori: Haha!

     

    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

    Photographer: pon

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • Watch the Teaser for DAOKO’s New Dragalia Lost Album

    02.October.2019 | ANIME&GAME / MUSIC

    Dragalia Lostis an action role-playing smartphone game developed by Cygames and published by Nintendo. It has been one year since the game launched last year on September 27, and to commemorate, young famous singer DAOKO is collaborating with the title to release an anniversary album on October 9 called DAOKO x Dragalia Lost.

     

    Check out the epic album teaser below released just moments ago.

     

    The teaser gives us a cheeky taste of many songs that are included on DAOKO’s new album and follows DAOKO’s journey with Dragalia Lost. The range of game scenes in the teaser is enough to make any Dragalia Lost fan lose themselves in excitement. 

    Don’t forget to check out the album when it is released!

  • DAOKO’s Song Used for Hit Film Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Check Out the Official Music Video.

    01.October.2019 | MOVIE / MUSIC

    Young singer and rapper DAOKO created the insert song “Hajimemashite no Kimochi ofor the hit film Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, which features Sho Hirano (from idol group King & Prince) and actress Kanna Hashimoto. Now, the music video for Hajimemashite no Kimochi o has been released.

     The music video paints a picture of romance that viewers can easily relate to in real life. Teens from across Japan have fallen in love with the video upon learning that the video even features their favourite illustrator fusedy. DAOKO’s lyrics spell out the story of the pure love of a young girl who easily blends into her surroundings. The music video has become a big hit.

     

    Hajimemashite no Kimochi o Official Music Video

    Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is a current high-tension hit film which has grasped a wide audience. Through her song, DAOKO has widely influenced the feelings involved in the world of the film. Please check it out. 

     

  • Dragalia Lost Anniversary Song by DAOKO Used in 1st Anniversary Commercial For Mobile Game

    28.September.2019 | ANIME&GAME / MUSIC

    The song a n n i v e r s a r y, written by DAOKO and TAKU INOUE for the one-year anniversary of Dragalia Lost, was used in a new commercial for the celebrations.

    DAOKO herself also appeared in the commercial alongside the characters in the game. Check it out below.

     

     

    An anniversary event titled “DRAGALIA LOST Celebration Party” will also be held at Shinkiba STUDIO COAST on January 8 next year where DAOKO will perform live alongside TAKU INOUE as the DJ.

    To attend this event, you must sign up via the application card included with copies of DAOKO’s upcoming album DAOKO x Dragalia Lost releasing on October 9.Winners will be chosen randomly to attend.

     

    ©Nintendo/Cygames

  • DAOKO x Dragalia Lost Album Cover Art Unveiled, Store Exclusive Bonuses Announced

    20.September.2019 | ANIME&GAME / MUSIC

    Dragalia Lost is an action RPG developed by Cygames and published by Nintendo for Android and iOS. To celebrate one year since the game’s release on September 27, 2018, it was revealed last month that DAOKO is teaming up with the game to release an anniversary album entitled DAOKO x Dragalia Lost on October 9.

     

    In the lead up to its release, the CD covers for the albums have just been unveiled.

    First Press Limited Edition

    The CD covers feature illustrations of the Dragalia Lost characters as well as DAOKO who has been drawn as if she was a character in the game.

    Regular Edition

    Tracks on the album include a n n i v e r s a r y, an song written for the 1 year anniversary written by DAOKO and TAKU INOUE, the game’s theme song Owaranai Sekai de produced by Takeshi Kobayashi, the Yasutaka Nakata-produced insert song Bokura no Network, a new song made in collaboration with Scha Dara Parr entitled Haisensupaisen, and more. The album also features many other artists and creators who were involved with the music production, such as Keiichi Ejima (Sakanaction), Yoh Kamiyama, Hideya Kojima (ORESAMA), Kikuo, Yunomi, and more.

    Ryuki’s Amulet

    First Press copies of both the Regular Edition and Limited Edition come with an application card for a chance to win in-game items, which have yet to be announced, and also come with the above-pictured Ryuki Amulet based on DAOKO’s song Owaranai Sekai de, and an item set that can be used in game.

    When bought at select stores, the CD’s are also coupled with other exclusives. Check below for more details.

     

    ©Nintendo/Cygames

  • DAOKO Announces Collaborative Album to Celebrate Dragalia Lost’s 1 Year Anniversary

    21.August.2019 | ANIME&GAME / MUSIC

    Dragalia Lost is an action RPG developed by Cygames and published by Nintendo for Android and iOS. To celebrate one year since the game’s release on September 27, 2018, it has been announced that DAOKO is teaming up with the game to released an anniversary album entitled DAOKO x Dragalia Lost on October 9.

    DAOKO is already known for her musical work with Dragalia lost, having written its main theme Owaranai Sekai de as well as featuring in the insert songs Bokura no Network in collaboration with Yasutaka Nakata―amongst others―all of which have received much love from players of the game and DAOKO fans alike. She is known for having been featured in many hit songs by big name artists and creators including Keiichi Ejima (Sakanaction), Yoh Kamiyama, Hideya Kojima (ORESAMA), Kikuo, Yunomi, and more.

    The new anniversary album will be released with limited edition and regular edition copies with 18 tracks. First press copies of the limited edition will also feature a second disc with 5 bonus songs with songs sung by characters from the game including Lucretia and Siren. They will also including a 60-page booklet featuring illustrations and arrive packaged in a slip case.

     

    An anniversary event will also be held for Dragalia Lost which will feature a special live performance by DAOKO as well as various other things related to the game. Full details will be announced at a later date, but fans can sign up for a chance to attend the event by getting their hands on first press copies of either the limited or regular editions of the album which are coupled with an application ticket. When signing up, if you enter your game user ID you will receive an exclusive anniversary item to use in the game.

     

    ©Nintendo/Cygames

  • DAOKO Performs Insert Song For Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Live-Action Film

    06.August.2019 | ANIME&GAME / MOVIE / MUSIC

    DAOKO’s new song Hajimemashite no Kimochi o will be used as an insert song for the upcoming live-action adaptation of Aka Akasama’s hit manga series Kaguya-sama: Love Is War.

    The song captures the feelings and delicate heart of the titular character Kaguya Shinomiya, who is played by Kanna Hashimoto (Assassination Classroom, Gintama). DAOKO weaves together the polished and groovy nature of this dance track with her lyrical lyrics. The song also features music creator and singer-songwriter Yoh Kamiyama who is chiefly active on social media.

     

    You can hear a brief snippet of the track in the following promo video for the film.

     

    Miyuki Shirogane is played by Sho Hirano, a member of the idol group King & Prince. Like the manga and anime series, the story follows Shirogane and Kaguya who are the student council president and vice-president respectively and are both prestigious individuals both inside and outside of school. The two of them love each other but are too stubborn to confess that love as they believe whoever does first loses. The film will follow their antics to try and get the other to confess.

    Speaking about her tie-in with the film, DAOKO commented the following: ‘I wrote the lyrics for Hajimemashite no Kimochi o in the image of Kaguya’s feelings. I focused especially on the emotions she feels when in an intense heart-throbbing situation, like the episode with the firework festival scene. That scene leaves a huge impression in both the manga and film.’

     

    She continues: ‘I also pictured Kaguya’s feelings while I was singing and followed the lyrics as I sang them. I hope the song adds something to the Kaguya-sama: Love Is War franchise.’

     

    Kanna Hashimoto, who plays the lead heroine Kaguya, also spoke about the insert song, commenting: ‘Hajimemashite no Kimochi o is truly perfect for that one important episode which features the firework festival scene. I was happy to hear the words in the lyrics “a distance of several centimetres,” they’re spot-on when describing the distance between Kaguya and Shirogane. Together with DAOKO’s music it made the scene really beautiful and moving, so I can’t wait to see it on the big screen.’

     

    The film’s producer Takashi Hirano also commented: ‘”The sound of my heartbeat is so loud I can’t even heard the fireworks anymore.” This is a line from Kaguya in volume five of the manga. The  moment I saw that scene I had a strong desire to make a live-action film. Like the series’s subtitle says, the manga is a comedy about two geniuses in a war of love and intellect. That [particular] scene sends their fireworks of love skyrocketing in an instant.”

     

    Hirano continues: “I knew I absolutely wanted this song to play in the scene when we were in the screenwriting stages. I knew only DAOKO could express Kaguya’s feelings―strong-willed but delicate like a young girl―and also get through to the minds of young people. DAOKO agreed right away, and when the song played in the film, there were members of staff who were crying. I wonder if there’s ever been such a wonderful firework scene like this before. Thank you, DAOKO, for your magical music and voice!”

     

    Kaguya-sama: Love Is War will hit Japanese cinemas on September 6, 2019.

     

    Ⓒ2019 “Kaguya-sama: Love Is War” Film Production Committee

    ⒸAka Akasaka / Shueisha

  • DAOKO Announces Premium Live Show & All-Night Concert

    17.May.2019 | MUSIC

    DAOKO has announced two new concerts for this summer: DAOKO 2019 “Kizuki” LIVE – Enlightening my world will take place at Shibuya WWW X on July 18 and DAOKO presents “Charm Point” all-night Ver. at clubasia on August 10.

     

    The July show is a bigger and better edition of DAOKO’s premium mini concert that was held back in February as part of her “Enlightening my world.”

    The show in August is the second in her “Charm Point” event series, the first having been held in April last year at LIQUIDROOM in Ebisu. Several guests will be invited along for this all-night event.

     

    Pre-sale tickets for both these shows went on sale on May 17.

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