Interview: MIOCHIN’s Kawaii Girl’s Guide to Tokyo
Many visiting Tokyo in the future will want to find the most kawaii spots imaginable, and we know just the girl to serve as a guide! In today’s special interview, we chatted with MIOCHIN to share her recommendations. If you haven’t seen her colorful pop pics on TikTok and Instagram, you’ll want to jump into the MIONOSEKAI!
Q. MIOCHIN, what store is a must-visit in Harajuku?
“That would be SUGAR HIGH at Harajuku Alta! You can find colorful sweets and cute goods from all over the world. I always stop by when I have time because they have popular snacks I’ve seen on TikTok, tons of jewelry, and things I can use every day♪
It’s also a really good spot for buying small souvenirs and gifts for people!★”
Q. What store in Tokyo really embodies your personal worldview?
“The minacute CONCEPT STORE at Ikebukuro Sunshine City. I’m actually the store’s producer!★
Not only did I design this shop, but I’m also selling cute accessories in collaboration with minacute!!”
“The store feels like a big toy box and it’s filled with so many items that kids would love. Not only that–you can find popular brands from around the world and tons of sparkle too★
We also hold workshops and events on weekends, so please come visit!♪★”
Q. What’s your go-to Kawaii Spot?
(The HARAJUKU Room)
“If you’re looking to surround yourself with everything cute, it’s all about MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS! Each room is perfect for snapping photos–I’ve visited so many times for parties and photo shoots★
There are four rooms: DOSKOI, HARAJUKU, ORIGAMI, and SAKURA, and each has a uniquely cute interior♪ If you’re planning on staying the night in Harajuku, be sure to check it out!”
Q. Where can the readers find cute clothes like the ones found in your wardrobe?
(Skirt, Jacket: grapefruitmoon)
“Check out grapefruitmoon, a vintage clothing store. They have so many neat items from the 60s to the 80s, and the designs and shapes are so unique. I’d recommend browsing their retro dresses and funky bottoms★Whether you’re into more monotone fashion or something more flashy and bright, you’ll find it!♪”
Q. Where do you buy your makeup?
“ANNA SUI. I just can’t get enough of the brand’s vision, and the cosmetics are really one-of-a-kind. Honestly, I buy most of them–I especially love the perfumes. I love the scents and the designs are just too damn cute! It’s my favorite collection.”
Q. To wrap things up, do you have a message to readers coming to Japan in the future?
“I’m so glad that so many people are interested in Japan. I post so many colorful things on social media and always want to share Japanese culture with the world!♪
There are so many interesting places that you can only find here, and fascinating activities that you have to visit to enjoy!
I hope you’ll come enjoy our food, fashion, and sightseeing spots. And don’t forget to shop for some kawaii goods!★
And I hope that once you do, you’ll love Japan even more!”
Active as an illustrator, TikToker, and streamer, MIOCHIN is known for her colorful pop world MIONOSEKAI. She has fans young and old from around the world and often broadcasts on YouTube and TikTok, recently attracting attention for her duet videos on the latter. Her original videos focus on everything from makeup and art to impressions.
KAWAII LAB. Report #16 ~One Year of FRUITS ZIPPER~
FRUITS ZIPPER, an up-and-coming idol group from ASOBISYSTEM’s KAWAII LAB project, has a simple concept: “From Harajuku to the World.” For the past year, the girls have been transmitting what they call ‘NEW KAWAII’ from Harajuku, an area known for fashion and individuality, to their growing fanbase.
Recently, we sat down with the members to chat about their first year as idols since debuting in April 2022.
ーWhat has the past year been like as members of FRUITS ZIPPER?
“The past year has been a year of love. I’ve learned so much about myself and see my own weaknesses more than I ever have before!
I’ve been able to encounter emotions I wasn’t even aware that I could, and I’ve even been able to recognize and verbalize a lot of new dreams and goals for the future!
Thank you so much!”
“The past year has been the most packed year of my life. There was something to do every single day–it was so hectic and so fun! I could only think about how thankful I was to be part of FRUITS ZIPPER. I’m sure that we’ve all become stronger over the past year, and I want to keep working hard and expanding our activities more in the coming years!”
“Every day seemed to fly by. I met and talked with so many people, and I was finally able to do the job I had always dreamed of doing.”
ーYou performed in Thailand this year, highlighting your slogan of ‘From Harajuku to the World.’ Can you tell us any fun stories from that time?
“I was so happy to see how many people knew about FRUITS ZIPPER–it was more than I could have ever imagined! So many fans told me how happy they were to meet me and it made me so thrilled!
There were some fans who came from Japan too, and they joined the Thai fans to become Team Yui! I really felt like we had shared Harajuku with the world at that moment. ♡
I hope that we’ll keep expanding this way and visiting fans around the world.
It was such a warm and special day.”
“This was my first time performing overseas and I was nervous about how the audience would react. We weren’t well-known in Thailand, after all–but when we started singing Watashino Ichiban Kawaiitokoro, everyone sang along!
The concert was so warm and the fans were so sweet, I immediately forgot that it was my first big overseas performance. I was full of adrenaline and it just turned out to be so much fun.
That concert is still my best memory. I can’t wait to go back to Thailand to perform again.
Since our motto is ‘From Harajuku to the World,’ I hope that we can keep expanding to other countries soon!”
ーDo you have any goals for the next year in terms of overseas activities?
“I want to do a European tour!
I’m still studying German, but I’d love to try out my communication skills! 🥺 (I guess I could do that here too, but…)”
“I want to be friends with more overseas fans! 💖
Honestly, I’d love to become like Kyary, an idol who is now recognized all over the world!”
ーGive a message to your fans both in Japan and abroad!
“In 2023, I hope that I can spend more time with fans from around the world in person! I want to become stronger and care for those important to me while growing my natural gifts!
I hope you’re all looking forwards to a powered-up FRUITS ZIPPER!
Let’s make 2023 a great one!” 🤍
“Even though we’ve only just debuted, we’ve already been so blessed, invited to perform in Thailand and to spend New Year’s Eve in Taiwan. How have we been abroad so many times already? I want to keep the momentum going, spread my wings and aim for an even bigger stage! To all the international fans, just wait! We’ll keep bringing Harajuku to the rest of the world!”
KAWAII LAB. Report #14 ~Makeup Tips from your Favorite Idols!~
FRUITS ZIPPER, a new idol group from ASOBISYSTEM, has a simple concept: “From Harajuku to the World.” Ready to transmit what they call ‘NEW KAWAII’ from Harajuku, an area known for fashion and individuality, to their soon-to-be global fanbase, the group consists of seven members: Amane Tsukiashi, Suzuka Chinzei, Yui Sakurai, Luna Nakagawa, Mana Manaka, Karen Matsumoto, and Noel Hayase.
A while back in Report #12, we chatted with Karen Matsumoto, Yui Sakurai, and Luna Nakagawa about their makeup routine and tips. This time, we’re asking Noel Hayase, Suzuka Chinzei, Mana Manaka, and Amane Tsukiashi to share their thoughts on makeup!
Tell us about your favorite lipsticks and what makes them special!
When I do my own makeup, I use b idol’s Glossy Lip No. 08 and then layer PERIPERA’s G Tint No. 06 on the inside. I’ve tried so many b idol lipsticks and I finally found one that matches my skin color perfectly. The tinted one was a gift but I love applying it on the inside of my lips–it gives this neat blood-colored look. It also doesn’t fade which is awesome.
I like THREE Lyrical Lipstick Bloom 11 RUN FREE.
The texture is soft, the color doesn’t fade, and the color is really cute. When I found it, I was so thrilled–it was the exact color I was looking for. Seriously, it’s the best lipstick! It’s honestly all I use in fall and winter♡
Jill Stuart’s lip oil!
We call the people who support us Soragumi, and some of them gave us these gifts along with letters and flowers after our first solo concert. We were so happy☁️
I love the colors and the cloth wrapping, but I feel like it would be such a waste if I ran out so I only carry them as good luck charms. (Laugh)
DIOR ADDICT 524 DIORETTE
DIOR ADDICT Maximizer 103 Pure Gold (This one was a gift🙇♂️)
04 rom&nd Dewiful Water Tint
I have so many favorite lipsticks, but lately I’ve been into layering this shimmery gold maximizer with brown, orange, red, and darker lip shades. It’s really cute!🤍
What do you use for your foundation?
I don’t put a lot on my skin, but I do apply a makeup primer called UV Idea XL Protection Tone-Up by La Roche-Posay first. After that, I use Dior Skin Forever Skin Correct Concealer to hide dark circles and redness. That’s all!
I moisturize with VT’s CICA cream. Depending on the weather, I’ll apply Chant a Charm sunscreen followed by The Skin Minimalist by Decorte. I put on powder last. I use CANMAKE’s Secret Beauty Powder or Elegance’s La Poudre Haute Nuance. No foundation for me!
These were also gifts, but I use Lunasol sunscreen, Dior primer, and foundation!
The bottle is really beautiful, with the engraving…❤️
I ran out of powder when I was in Thailand recently, so I’m just using what I bought locally!
I don’t know if it’s because it’s makeup from a really hot country, but it goes on so smoothly that it doesn’t feel sticky at all, even with a mask on. I’ve been using it even after I got back to Japan!
CHANEL Base Hydra Luminere
(I might upgrade.)
CHANEL Fluid Foundation de CHANEL B10
Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer 0N
SUQQU Oil Rich Glow Loose Powder
clé de peau BEAUTÉ LE REHAUSSEUR D’ÉCLAT 105 (This was a gift! 🙇♂️)
What do you typically do when it comes to skincare?
First, I use &honey cleansing balm to remove my makeup. When I heard that you could cleanse and wash your face at the same time, I gave it a try and it was amazing, so I’m never going back. After my bath and before putting on my makeup, I use a complete skin care set like La Roche-Posay’s skincare set, which includes mist lotion, toner, and skin cream. It’s not cheap, but since I started using it my skin feels so incredible. Remember to always buy products depending on what kind of skin you have!
Before makeup in the morning, I always cleanse with Bioderma. If I don’t feel moisturized enough, I apply a lotion emulsion. After cleansing at night, I use Bioderma again and then a toner emulsion. Sometimes I like doing face masks, and when I do, I use Mediplorer’s CO2 Sheet Mask. It was recommended to me by someone with really beautiful skin and it’s amazing. I also use a Cell Cure. It’s crazy after how much dirt it removes. (Laugh)
I use lotion, then a face mask, then a serum!
When I used the MediHeal mask that Luna recommended, I was so surprised at how good it was that I started buying and trying tons of different masks.
I’m trying different things to see what fits and what doesn’t, and lately I’ve been buying a lot of Korean masks.
I haven’t been doing much skincare, but I have been moisturizing a lot lately since my skin gets super dry. On some days I’ll do a face mask and use steam. On the day before an important photo shoot, I use my favorite CellCure 4t Plus.
Oh no! You’re running late! You only have time to apply one product! What part of your face will you focus on and why?
I’d only do eye makeup. In this day and age, everyone wears masks, so when you meet someone, you always make eye contact, right? Besides, if it’s just eye makeup, I can get by without base makeup, and I can do the rest of my makeup whenever. (Laugh)
I just need sunscreen!
Sunscreen is life. It’s so important!
Starting when I was in junior high, my parents told me to wear sunscreen, so I can’t imagine not doing it now. No matter how busy I am, I put on sunscreen, even while walking to the station.
I was on the track team in junior high and I’d put some on every 30 minutes.
At the time I thought it was so annoying, but now I’m so glad my mom told me to do it.
(Strangely enough, my mom doesn’t wear sunscreen at all.)
On days when I actually have a whole day off or if I’m just at rehearsal, I don’t wear makeup. I hide behind a mask and a hat! (Laugh)
If I use anything at all, it’s sunscreen or foundation with sunscreen in it.
It covers my eyebrows and eyes so much that I can’t see at all, but I do want to prevent spots!!! (Laugh)
I always think that wearing eye makeup makes a huge difference.
I’d want to do my eyebrows too, but at least I can hide them with my bangs. Eyes it is!
Interview Series Vol.3: What Does ‘Kawaii’ Mean to You?
“Japan is such an interesting country, where so many cultures blend and evolve.”
Moshi Moshi Nippon is dedicated to sharing Japanese pop culture with audiences around the world. Recently, we launched a new interview series with foreign influencers active in Japan, and for the third edition, we’re chatting with Zhu Zhu! A popular influencer with over 2 million followers on Weibo, Zhu Zhu claims that since coming to Japan, her fashion has become ‘softer.’ We sat down to ask her what kind of Kawaii she’s found in Japan.
Q. Why did you first come to Japan?
“In 2013, I moved to Japan with my family because Beijing’s air pollution had become really bad. It’s already been nine years!”
Zhu Zhu when she first came to Japan
Q. When you first arrived in Japan, what surprised you?
“When I first came to Japan, what really surprised me was the wide use of the word ‘kawaii.’ It’s so interesting that literally anything can be called kawaii. Sure, it makes sense to call girls, animals, or clothes cute, but in Japan, people call things cute that people in other countries would never refer to in that way. I mean, I think calling things ‘cute’ when you mean ‘good’ is something really commonplace here. (laugh)”
Q. Tell us what you find the most Kawaii in Japan!
“There are so many cute things in Japan, but I think that the sweets take the cake. I was surprised by how small they are unlike in other countries. And there are so many kinds! Cakes, baked goods, wagashi, they’re all so incredibly kawaii!”
Q. How did your encounter with Kawaii culture in Japan change you?
“Since I first came into contact with the Japanese version of kawaii, I think my style has become softer. When I was overseas, I typically just worse really simple outfits and makeup, but now, I’m always conscious of looking girly and cute.”
Q.In Japan, what are you interested in right now? Where do you want to visit in the future?
“I recently read an article about Yufuin Floral Village, which is England-inspired. It looks so cute and I really want to go!”
Q. Do you have anything to say to our readers who want to visit Japan in the future?
“Japan is such an interesting country, where so many cultures blend and evolve. No matter how many times you visit, you can always find something new. Please visit!”
Zhu Zhu Profile
An influencer from China with 2 million followers on Weibo. Nicknamed “Big Cousin” on social media, she has been a favorite of many Japanese brands for years. Since moving to Japan, Zhu Zhu has actively shared fashion, beauty, travel, and food posts on social media. In addition to appearing on TV and in magazines, she has collaborated with a number of major Japanese apparel and cosmetics companies.
KAWAII LAB. Report #13: FRUITS ZIPPER ~From Harajuku to Thailand~
FRUITS ZIPPER, a new idol group from ASOBISYSTEM’s KAWAII LAB project, has a simple concept: “From Harajuku to the World.”
This summer, the group’s track Watashino Ichiban Kawaiitokoro took off on TikTok with the music video racking up over 500 million plays, propelling the girls into the idol spotlight. Along with regular monthly performances, tickets for the girl’s first solo concert in September and their second solo concert in November were sold out immediately. FRUITS ZIPPER is scheduled to go on tour in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka in February 2023, and even the fashion industry has become obsessed, with the group serving as the seasonal ambassadors for Samantha Vega starting in August 2022.
Only six months after its debut, the members of FRUITS ZIPPER are already taking their first steps outside of Harajuku. Their first overseas trip was to Thailand, called the land of smiles.
FRUITS ZIPPER performed as one of more than 50 artists representing Thailand and Japan at the THAI-JAPAN ICONIC MUSIC FEST 2022 from October 21 to October 23. The music festival was held to commemorate the 135th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Japan.
Four different stages were set up during the event, and FRUITS ZIPPER managed to attract fans not only from Japan, but from Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Myanmar, the Philippines, and other Asian countries. Many guests even knew the choreography to a number of FRUITS ZIPPER songs, including, of course, Watashino Ichiban Kawaiitokoro. The audience was thrilled when the members addressed them in Thai, and a collaboration interview video shot with local idols was also taken. It’s now available on FRUITS ZIPPER’s TikTok channel, so check it out!
We sat down with the seven members of FRUITS ZIPPER to hear about their best memories from Thailand!
-How did you feel about your first overseas trip to Thailand?
“It was our first time performing in Thailand. Not many people knew who we were and we were far away from home, but people welcomed us with open arms. So many people came to watch us, and I was happy to see the audience dancing along to the songs!”
“When I became an idol two years ago, Thai fans really supported me. Back then, I told them I’d love to come to see them, but I never got the chance.
I’m happy that I was about to finally achieve that goal, or my dream, I guess, of going to Thailand to meet all of those fans. There were so many more people waiting for me than I could have imagined, and even though we couldn’t communicate very well with the language barrier, we could easily communicate through music. I was so happy.”
“So many non-Japanese fans came out to support us! Even though they didn’t speak Japanese, they did their best to tell us they were rooting for us, and that they loved us. I was so happy, I can’t wait to go back!”
“This was my first visit to Thailand, and part of me felt a little uneasy since everything felt so different when compared to live shows in Japan. I was allowed to take pictures and to really use my voice, and the stage configuration was really confusing. But everyone in Thailand was super welcoming and kind, and I was so happy to see them trying to learn Japanese. They’d listen to me talk and nod, looking me in the eyes, even if they didn’t understand what I was saying. It was a wonderful trip that reminded me how excited I am to travel abroad. I hope I can see everyone in Thailand again, thank you so much!”
“Even though I’ve been an idol for a while, this was my first trip overseas. Going to Thailand had always been a dream of mine, but at the same time, I was nervous. I didn’t know what kind of fans I’d find there, or if there would be any fans at all. But the Thai people were so unbelievably kind.
During our performance, a girl held up a board that said ‘Lunapi’ and waved a purple penlight. She shouted that she was looking so forward to meeting me, and it made me so happy.
We started to share information with the Thai people after our performance was decided, but it seemed that they had known about us before that. I felt that so many people had been excited about coming to see us, and now I just want to go to Thailand again to see everyone a second time. Kob kun kaa!”
“This was the first time I had visited Thailand, and I thought it was so beautiful. Seeing ICONSIAM was unbelievable–the biggest building I’d ever seen! I was so happy to see the fans, and so many told me that they had been waiting to meet us. Thank you so much.”
“Before going to Thailand, I wondered how many local people knew about FRUITS ZIPPER and how many would actually come to see us. When we actually took the stage on the first day, there were so many Thai people, and Japanese people too! Since I was able to use my voice to the fullest in Thailand, I was thrilled when the audience could sing along with the ‘Ne, ne, ne’ part in Watashino Ichiban Kawaiitokoro! This live show was so unique to Thailand, and it felt so much freer than live shows are in Japan right now with all the restrictions. Since there was a language barrier, I wanted to put all of my feelings and emotions into my performance. I felt like I could communicate with the audience with my eyes, and those three days of performances were so unforgettable. We’ll be back and we’ll be even stronger, so wait for us until then! Kob kun kaa!”
FRUITS ZIPPER is on course to become a smash hit not only in Japan, but around the world.
An Interview with Seidenba Saku: “Kawaii Is Something You Define Yourself.”
Moshi Moshi Nippon is dedicated to sharing Japanese pop culture with audiences around the world. Recently, we launched a new interview series with foreign influencers active in Japan, and for the second edition, we’re chatting with Seidenba Saku. The face of the music group DiAN, she’s a multi-talented pop artist, writer, and designer. We asked the Beijing and Tokyo-based artist about what she thinks about Kawaii culture in Japan.
Q. Why did you first come to Japan?
“When I was in middle school, my favorite English teacher taught me some Japanese. After that, I started to get into Japanese literature and manga, and I was really influenced by a Shuji Terayama play in high school. Japanese content started to become a part of my daily life, and I started to get curious about the country itself. I wanted to see the place where all of these amazing things were created with my own eyes. Now I’ve been in Japan for almost ten years!”
Q. When you first arrived in Japan, what surprised you?
“I thought that people who dressed really eccentrically would be difficult to
approach. I had no idea what kinds of lives they led, and I was nervous about
talking to them. After coming to Japan, I realized how nice they were!
They work so hard, I was incredibly impressed!”
Q. What do you think about Kawaii culture in Japan?
Q. How did your encounter with Kawaii culture in Japan change you?
“My first real exposure to Kawaii culture was in middle school. I bought a ton of Japanese magazines like KERA and Gothic&Lolita Bible, and reading those made me realize that I could be who I wanted to be and dress how I wanted to dress. I could express myself as much as I wanted to. Kawaii is something you define yourself.”
Q.In Japan, what are you interested in right now? Where do you want to visit in the future?
“A friend and coworker of mine in the art world recently told me that Toyama is the “Venice of Japan,” and that it’s totally different when compared to any other Japanese city. I’d like to visit, so I can see a totally unique side of Japan!”
Q.Do you have anything to say to our readers who want to visit Japan in the future?
“Trust your instincts and go find your own version of Kawaii!”
Born in Beijing, Seidenba Saku is the vocalist and art director of DiAN, a three-member music group with sound producer A-bee and composer immi. She is also a writer, designer, director, and graphic artist, having worked with a number of companies in the past. Based in both Beijing and Tokyo, she continues to attract attention from audiences and industries around the world.
Interview: Shakuhachi Player Yoshimi Tsujimoto Discusses Her Craft and the Upcoming Concert at Kumano-Nachi Taisha
Each year, an incredible event is held at Kumano-Nachi Taisha, a Shinto shrine and World Heritage Site located in the Kii Mountain Range of Wakayama Prefecture.
To kick off the ‘diamond celebration,’ a special concert will mark the 1,250th anniversary of the birth of Kobo Daishi, the Japanese Buddhist monk who founded the Shingon school of Buddhism. Yoshimi Tsujimoto, a shakuhachi player from Hashimoto, will perform in the concert scheduled to begin on October 22 at 13:30.
Moshi Moshi Nippon sat down with Yoshimi Tsujimoto to discuss her music and, most importantly, her interest in sharing the sound of the shakuhachi with the world.
−How did you become interested in the shakuhachi?
My father loved the shakuhachi, and because of that, I grew up surrounded by the sound of it. That’s how it all began!
−What attracts you to playing the shakuhachi?
I love the timbre of the shakuhachi.
Those who play the shakuhachi often say that a single note has the power to bring someone to enlightenment.
Curiously, individual differences in tone are more easily discernible with the shakuhachi than with other instruments. That means that a person can express themselves in more unique ways.
−You’ve performed in many different countries. Do you get different reactions to the shakuhachi in other countries when compared to Japanese audiences?
I have a vivid memory of a time I performed a classical shakuhachi piece solo. This particular type of classical music is called ‘wabi-sabi,’ and it isn’t very loud or lively.
In Japan, when I finish a performance, people usually clap. But when I performed in South America, as soon as the piece concluded, there was a standing ovation with people shouting “Bravo!” That would never happen in Japan, and it left such a lasting impression on me.
−Are there any countries that have left a lasting impression on you, or that you would like to visit in the future?
I have good memories of every country I’ve visited, but I think that Cuba left the biggest impression. I just made me think about how incredible music can be.
I’d love to visit Bulgaria, Morocco, Armenia, Uganda…it’s tough, because I want to visit every country I haven’t been to yet. (laughs)
−You’re from Hashimoto City, near Mount Koya. How did you feel when you heard that this concert would be held so close to your hometown?
What I felt was pure joy.
Personally, I’ve always loved Mount Koya, and I went there many times as a child. It’s such a pleasure to be able to perform there.
−Tell us some of your favorite memories involving Mount Koya.
I go to Mount Koya at least three or four times a year. It’s not a particular memory per se, but every time I go, I love to eat vegetarian food, explore, and buy wheat buns and sesame tofu as gifts to take home.
−Are there any local foods or places that you’d recommend?
The fruit is delicious in Wakayama, and my hometown is famous for persimmons.They are so yummy, and I just want everyone to try them!
Mount Koya and Kumano Kodo are both World Heritage sites, and they are both absolutely breathtaking. Other than those, I’d recommend Adventure World! It has adorable pandas roaming around freely and the most wonderful dolphin shows. Everyone from around the country should visit!
−Finally, do you have a message for Moshi Moshi Nippon readers?
Japan is filled with incredible places and culture. The shakuhachi, a beloved traditional Japanese instrument, is one piece of that culture.
I want audiences around the world to hear the sound of the shakuhachi and to make it more familiar. If you have a chance to hear it, I hope you will.
Be sure to follow Yoshimi Tsujimoto’s activities going forward as she shares the beauty and culture of shakuhachi with the world.
Concert at World Heritage Site Kumano-Nachi Taisha (Wakayama)
Date: October 22, 2022 at 13:30
Venue: Danjo-garan Buddhist Temple
Interview: What Type of ‘Kawaii’ Did This Popular Foreign Influencer Find in Japan?
“Kawaii is marshmallow-flavored medicine for the soul.”
Moshi Moshi Nippon is dedicated to sharing Japanese pop culture with audiences around the world, and today, we’re featuring a foreign influencer living and working in Japan! This time, we interviewed Etsuna, a popular influencer from China, discussing how Yume Kawaii fashion brings her comfort and the many types of ‘kawaii’ she’s found during her time in Japan.
Q. What brought you to Japan?
“After graduating with a major in animation, I was working at a university in Shanghai as a teacher, but I decided to enroll in Tama Art University’s graduate program to study for my master’s degree. That’s when I came to Japan, and I’ve been here for 15 years!”
Q. When you first came to Japan, what surprised you? Was anything different than what you had imagined?
“Everyone wore such bold makeup, and that really surprised me! When I first came to Japan 15 years ago, I think the gyaru trend was still big, and a lot of girls had that strong Harajuku style and big personalities. Heavy eye makeup and blush was the big thing. I thought everyone was getting ready to film for a TV show.”
Q. What do you think of when you heard the word ‘kawaii’ in Japan?
“MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS, character cafes, and Yume Kawaii fashion…they are all so unique and so adorable! Those things are what I think of when I hear the word ‘kawaii.’”
Q. Did finding Japanese kawaii culture change you in any way?
“Before I experienced kawaii culture, I was a teacher, so I wore a lot of black, white, and gray every day. But after encountering kawaii style for the first time, I started experimenting with different kawaii subcultures, like the Mori Girl trend back in the mid-2000s. Eventually, I fell in love with Yume Kawaii (Dreamy Kawaii) fashion, which is filled with pastels and a fantasy-like aesthetic. I’ve been dressing in that particular style for about ten years now. To me, kawaii is like marshmallow-flavored medicine for the soul. It’s very healing.”
Q. When it comes to Japan, what interests you now? Where would you like to visit in the future?
“Today, it feels like Japanese fashion is becoming more and more simple, and the Harajuku kawaii trend is starting to disappear. Is that because people don’t like standing out in that over-the-top way? Do they feel embarrassed if they dress differently than most people? I’ve met a lot of people who love Yume Kawaii fashion, but they might not have the courage to wear it themselves. That’s why I’m currently researching how to bring Yume Kawaii to AR. If I can bring it to the virtual world in a way that blends with the real world, I can create a brand-new experience for everyone. Using mobile AR technology, people will be able to transform their everyday clothes into something with more Yume Kawaii style!”
Etsuna’s Original Yume Kawaii AR Filter
Q. Please give a few words to those living abroad who are interested in visiting Japan!
If you really want to experience Japanese kawaii culture, stay at MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS in Harajuku! There are so many fashionable people in Tokyo too, and if you hang out near Harajuku Laforet on the weekend, you’ll see people taking plenty of pictures. Come have a special trip to Japan and surround yourself with all things kawaii! Have fun!”
Born in China, Etsuna is a graduate of Tama Art University in Tokyo. In addition to sharing kawaii culture on her social media accounts, she founded her independent brand ‘Etsuna otsukA’ in 2011, which has been featured in a number of magazines. Her Weibo video channel TokyoGoGo, featuring uploads edited by Etsuna herself, has become incredibly popular. She is currently active as a designer and TV personality, mainly in Japan and China.
Special ‘Roots of Kawaii’ Exhibition Marking Rune Naito’s 90th Birthday to Open in October
A special exhibition commemorating the 90th birthday of Rune Naito will be held at the Hanshin department store in Osaka from October 19 until October 31. Titled ‘Roots of Kawaii,’ the event will look back at the life of the esteemed artist, illustrator, writer, and designer. Known for his illustrations of large-headed baby-faced girls, he first became interested in art after discovering the works of Jun’ichi Nakahara, joining Nakahara’s company after graduating high school. In 1959, Naito got his big break, designing the cover of the girls’ magazine Junior Soleil. Following this, Naito would become active as an illustrator for a number of magazines, and from the 1960s on, he began other activities, even producing a line of commercial goods from glassware to stickers.
The exhibition’s theme is ‘Life’s fantastic dreams,’ and over 300 items will be on display, including rare original drawings, goods, personal sketches, and more. The event will be held in celebration of Rune Naito’s birthday on November 20, and will also feature a special shop. Admission is ¥1,000 for adults, ¥700 for high school and college students, and free for junior high school students and younger. Discounts are available by preordering tickets. For details and tickets, check out the official website.
Rune Naito’s 90th Birthday Exhibition
Running: October 19 – October 31, 2022
Venue: Hanshin Department Store, Umeda Main Store 8F
(1-13-13 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka)
Felissimo’s KAWAII COMPANY to Sell Colorful Miwa Soumen Noodles for a Limited Time
27.June.2022 | FOOD
In late 2020, Felissimo teamed up with the ‘King of Kawaii’ Sebastian Masuda to create KAWAII COMPANY, a project selling adorable original items. The company is now teaming up with Ikeri, a long-running Miwa Soumen shop in Nara, to create some colorful noodles to enjoy this summer. Five colors will be available, and these noodles can be purchased online until September 30, 2022.
The Kawaii Soumen box includes five scents and flavors of noodle–purple sweet potato, plum, Kabosu, Blue Beefsteak Plant, and plain. The adorable box is also reusable!
Ikeri has been selling soumen in Nara for over 170 years. This new collaboration aims to introduce more ‘kawaii’ into traditional pieces of Japanese culture. Ikeri’s thin soumen noodles are made by hand one by one and shine like jewels when boiled.
Customers are welcome to try different arrangements with these gorgeous noodles. These are the perfect summer gift for adults who love tasty food, tradition, and appearance! The wooden box is handmade by craftsmen in Nara Prefecture.
How would you like to not only eat these tasty noodles but post them all over social media?
KAWAII LAB. Report #1: IDOLATER Welcomes Two New Members
KAWAII LAB. is a project spearheaded by ASOBISYSTEM with the aim of introducing the world to popular Japanese idol culture. The idol group IDOLATER was born from this idea, and in April, the girls welcomed two new members, transforming it into a fresh new 5-member group. Announced at the group’s solo concert ‘New IDOLATER’ on April 24, Fuuka Oishi and Ririka Satsuki joined the lineup consisting of Ayu Okuda, Kurumi Tsukishiro, and Yukino Fushiki.
A typical idol group is peppy and filled with energy, but IDOLATER is doing things a little differently. What is their appeal? How do they want to shake things up?
A Group Formed by Finalists from ASOBISYSTEM’s First National Audition
IDOLATER debuted in April 2019. In the spring of 2018, ASOBISYSTEM, the management company behind Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and a number of other popular talents, announced its first large-scale nationwide audition, ASOBISYSTEM THE AUDITION 2018. IDOLATER’s history began with five audition finalists–Fushiki, Okuda, Tsukishiro, and two others. The catchphrase for the audition was fitting for the group: “Seeking the next generation of talents to shape Japanese pop culture and share it with the world.”
IDOLATER Welcomes Solo Singer Ririka Satsuki & Model Fuuka Oishi
Following the departure of two members and intense restrictions imposed on the group’s activities due to the pandemic, IDOLATER continued to operate with only three members. Although they didn’t manage to get a ton of media coverage or appeal in large-scale events, the group continued to pull in new fans and gain recognition in the idol community. After a while, Fuuka Oishi and Ririka Satsuki joined the group, giving a much-needed boost to IDOLATER’s activities and energy.
Ririka Satsuki is a solo artist based in Fukuoka with an incredible husky voice. Fuuka Oishi has previously worked as a model and is popular with creators for her sweet yet listless atmosphere. Despite their incredible confidence, this is the first time either has worked as an idol!
IDOLATER and the Concept of ‘Idols’
The word ‘idol’ can conjure plenty of images to mind, but what does the word mean to the members of IDOLATER?
The group’s music blends together elements of city pop, future funk, and house, while still keeping true to traditional J-pop roots. The familiarity of their music makes it easy to approach, and Yukino Fushiki’s powerful voice alongside Ririka Satsuki’s melodies shower fans with some of the best vocals in the idol world.
The group’s choreography is provided by YU-KA, formerly of TEMPURA KIDZ. Her experience as both a dancer and an idol makes her an asset, and her refreshing moves are a highlight of each IDOLATER show.
A former pattern maker for a Japanese fashion brand designed the group’s costumes.
If this sounds like the idol group for you, come and check out an IDOLATER event to see the girl’s incredible appeal for yourself.
On June 19, IDOLATER will hold their second regular performance, ‘Camel,’ at Ebisu CreATO. (The title of the show was chosen because it sounded fun, not for any other specific reason.)
Stay tuned for the next report, where we’ll delve a little deeper into the life of each member of IDOLATER!
From Harajuku to the world! Chasing the bright future of a rising star, FRUITS ZIPPER
FRUITS ZIPPER is a group quickly rising to stardom, debuted from “KAWAII LAB.” KAWAII LAB is a new project to introduce Japanese idol culture from “Harajuku”, a fashion town where various cultures and personalities gather, to the world. Members of the group include Amane Tsukihashi, Suzuka Chinzei, Yui Sakurai, Runa Nakagawa, Manaka Mana, Karen Matsumoto, and Noel Hayase.
Even before their debut, the group garnered attention for their breathtaking visuals. Their performances are so powerful, you would never expect such refined skill from such an adorable aesthetic, which is known to captivate the hearts of their fans. The group is produced by Misa Kimura, a model and TV personality who is also the general producer of “KAWAII LAB. She will utilize her experience and creativity as the leader of the idol group “Musubizm” to introduce idol culture to the world.
Expressing FRUITS ZIPPER’s world through collaborations with creators
Furthermore, even before their debut, the group drew a lot of attention because of their collaborations with many different renowned creators. Among the collaborations includes the artist photos created by video director/art director/3DCG artist YUKARI. She uses a cutting-edge trend of CG-moving techniques, in addition to still-images. The mysterious colors of bright light that embraces the girls are definitely eye-catching.
Catchy and cute choreography of FRUITS ZIPPER
Followed by the debut song “Kimino Akaruimiraiwo Oikakete,” a song with a positive message for the future, “Watashino Ichiban Kawaiitokoro,” with its cute choreography and lyrics, won the hearts of people and was selected as one of the “TikTok Hot Songs in Japan” and charted on the Billboard. More than 13,000 videos using ”Watashino Ichiban Kawaiitokoro” have been posted on TikTok with the hashtag “#わたしの一番かわいいところ (Watashino Ichiban Kawaiitokoro).” The long-awaited third single “Kanpeki Syugide☆”, which was released on May 20, is an energetic tune created by music producer Manaka Suzuki.
Performances that reach into people’s hearts and minds
A pop-culture event presented by Asobisystem “ASOBE!!,” was held at Spotify O-EAST on May 26th. In addition to FRUITS ZIPPER, fellow Asobisystem members Atarashii Gakko! and IDOLATER, who is also a member of “KAWAII LAB.”, performed at the event. Many other remarkable idol groups also took part in the event, enlivening the venue.
Alongside their regular performances, they are scheduled to participate in a number of events, including the “LEADING PALETTE! and “HYPE IDOL! vol. 20” at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall both June 12th. Make sure to come and see their live performance, it’s sure to steal your heart!
Additionally, KAWAII LAB. will be serialized on “Moshi Moshi Nippon,” a website that provides the latest news of Japan to the world. The articles will be published in hopes of sharing the charm of IDOLATER and FRUITS ZIPPER with people not only in Japan, but also around the world. Details will be announced soon. Stay tuned for more from KAWAII LAB.!
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS HARAJUKU Announces ‘My Ty Rooms Harajuku’ Collaboration
ASOBISYSTEM, a company aiming to broadcast Japanese pop culture from Harajuku to the rest of the world, has teamed up with Rokuyon Corporation for a special collaboration! Rokuyon manages unique private accommodations throughout Shibuya in Tokyo, and with help from Meteor APAC, the Japanese distributor of Ty’s beloved Beanie Baby stuffed animals, a new collaboration room will be available to book for a limited time only.
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS HARAJUKU, a home-sharing facility produced by ASOBISYSTEM, is offering a Ty-inspired room from April 23 until May 22, 2022. The room looks more like an art gallery than a guest house and was designed by Ty’s content director Harris.
Children can enjoy a number of Ty amenities, while adults will enjoy taking home a Ty A3-sized tote bag to remember their unique visit. Those taking the tote bag will be able to fill it with all the Ty stuffed animals they want for only ¥1,650 (Tax Included)!
A social networking campaign exclusively for guests will also be underway soon! Those posting with the hashtag #moshimoshirooms and #ty will receive one free Ty plush toy!
My Ty Rooms HARAJUKU
Available: April 23 – May 22, 2022
Address: MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS HARAJUKU (2-18-7 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
Access: 8-minute walk from Meijijingu-mae Harajuku Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line/Fukutoshin Line