Tag Archives: 东京

Tokyo Storefront

Polish-born and Japan-based artist Mateusz Urbanowicz is the talented illustrator and painter behind Bicycle Boy, a series we’ve previously featured on Neocha. Known for his vivid usage of watercolors and eye for detail, Urbanowicz has worked as the background artist for many anime TV shows and movies over the years, including the critically acclaimed Your Name. This year, Urbanowicz expressed hopes of shifting more of his attention towards personal projects. This reprioritization has led to a continuation of the ten-part Tokyo Storefront series that he released last year. The extension to the series comes in the form of a bilingual book that includes the original ten illustrations along with 40 new drawings.

艺术家Mateusz Urbanowicz生于波兰,目前居住在日本。他也是我们先前报道的另一个水彩画系列《自行车男孩》Bicycle Boy)的作者。才华横溢的他以细腻精致且清新生动的画风而闻名,更曾为许多动漫和电影创作背景插画,包括广受好评的电影《你的名字》(Your Name)。今年,Mateusz表达了他专注创作自己的艺术作品的希望。他将去年已有10张作品的《东京店面》(Tokyo Storefront)系列进行了增补,并将以双语书的形式面向大众,其中将包括最初的10幅插图以及40幅新创作的作品。

“When I moved to Tokyo more than three years ago, I was really surprised that on my walks I encountered so many shops still in business inside really old buildings. Differently to Kobe, where the earthquake wiped out a lot of these old downtown houses and shops, in Tokyo they still survive,” Urbanowicz recalls, and inspired by their beauty, Tokyo Storefront is his attempt to document these charming buildings.


The majority of the storefronts featured in the book comes from Urbanowicz’s exploration of Tokyo. However, his approach is more than a mere recreation of his observations. In the illustration above, Urbanowicz shares that the signage was already torn down when he showed up in his location hunt. Disappointed, he took a few photos of the shop in its current state and went home to scour the internet for old images of the store. In his final illustration, the original signage has been restored in its retro glory, and as a master of details, a small chair he observed in one of the old photos was also included.


Commenting on the series, Urbanowicz shares, “I didn’t want to copy all the retro guides that already exist for Tokyo. Because of that we, of course, had to go again to those places, take more photos, and look more closely at the details of the shops. But that also gave us a chance to talk with the owners to learn more about the interesting history behind each of the shops.”


In the upcoming book, Urbanowicz not only explores Tokyo shop facades but will also include historical details presented in both English and Japanese as well as sketches of shop interiors.

Tokyo Storefronts – The Artworks of Mateusz Urbanowicz is now available for pre-order on Amazon.


目前,《东京店面——Mateusz Urbanowicz绘作》(Tokyo Storefronts – The Artworks of Mateusz Urbanowicz)系列已经可以在Amazon上预售


Contributor: Chen Yuan


供稿人: Chen Yuan

Flesh Love

Ichika & Arisa

Flesh Love is a photography project by Tokyo-based artist Photographer Hal. Over the years, Photographer Hal has explored the themes of love and attachment by taking photographs of couples in enclosed spaces across multiple projects. For the Flesh Love series, Photographer Hal began to vacuum seal couples together in plastic wrap as a way to examine modern relationships. Photographer Hal tells us more about the story behind his work below.

《Flesh Love》是由东京艺术家Photographer Hal创作的一个摄影项目。多年来,Photographer Hal曾在多个摄影项目中,用镜头捕捉情侣在封闭空间的照片,探讨爱情和迷恋的主题。在《Flesh Love》系列中,Photographer Hal将情侣装在一个巨型真空密封袋中,寓意对现代男女关系的一种审视。Photographer Hal向我们分享了更多关于这些作品背后的故事。

Yuya & Ritsuko
Kazan & Tomoe
Yohei & Yuri
Miho & Ritsu

“When you embrace your lover, sometimes you wish to melt right into them. To realize this wish, I’ve been photographing couples in small and cramped spaces like motels and bathtubs. As my work has become more and more intense, I’ve noticed that communication is indispensable.”


Sakamaki & Makino
Take & Mari
Michico & Yuhei
Yajyu & Kaorin

“I go to Kabukicho in Shinjuku, underground bars in Shibuya and many other places which are full of activity like luscious night time bee hives. When I see a couple of interest I will begin to negotiate. I’m sure that many people initially think of my proposal as unusual or even look through me like I am completely invisible, but I always push forward with my challenge to them. The models appear from all walks of life, and individually, have included musicians, dancers, strippers, laborers, restaurant and bar managers, photographers, businessmen and businesswomen, the unsettled and the unemployed, and so on.”


Rem & Marina
Zinzin & Norico
Ami & Kojiro
Mana & Koji

“This time, I reached the point of photographing couples in vacuum-sealed packs in a set that I’ve constructed in my own kitchen. The lights are in the ceiling, so I just flip one switch and have everything ready. I have a few different colored paper backgrounds, which I leave rolled up in the corner. After the couple gets in the vacuum pack, I suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner until there’s none left. This gives me ten seconds to take the shot. In this extremely limited time I can’t release the shutter more than twice. I’ve been in there myself, and the fear I felt was overwhelming.”


Makoto & Shinji
Sachiko & Atsushi
Lim & Kyohei
PinQ & Pomco

“As the shooting continues over multiple takes, the pressure of the vacuum seal grows stronger. At the same time, the two bodies start to communicate, and whether through unevenness of limbs or the curve of joints they begin to draw a shape of what they want to express. The two lovers draw closer until they finally transform into a single being. Looking at these vacuum-sealed packs of love, we can imagine a more peaceful world. For me, the vacuum pack is only a means: the important thing is connecting to someone.”


Chihiro & Takeshi
Mihaya & Takao
Yoshi & Naomi
Alice & Kazuya

Website: photographerhal.com


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao



供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

Puzzleman Leung

Despite frequent appearances on notable photography and art websites, little is actually known about Puzzleman Leung. In that regard, the Puzzleman moniker seems like a perfect fit, appropriately encapsulating the photographer’s mysterious nature. While the photographer’s Facebook and Instagram feature a girl’s portrait, it’s actually rather difficult to even ascertain Puzzleman’s gender. On websites that feature Puzzleman’s work, the pronouns of “he” and “she” are often interchangeable. Even on Puzzleman’s “About Me” page, little information is offered beyond age and geography, with one line stating “Born in Macao and living in Taipei.” But Puzzleman’s latest photo series doesn’t take place in either of those cities. Titled Tokyo Tokymeky, the new project sees Puzzleman roam through Tokyo with frequent collaborator and model Bee Ke, snapping juxtaposing images of her and the surrounding environment. With the recent release of this photo series, we were fortunate enough to catch up with this enigmatic photographer for a quick chat. In our conversation, it was easy to see that Puzzleman’s quirky images are simply an extension of the photographer’s own personality. Scroll down to check out more photos from the new photo series and read the highlights from our interview.

摄影师Puzzleman Lueng,正如Ta的名字一般,像一幅散落四处的拼图碎片般带有些神秘色彩。Ta的作品经常出现在各大摄影艺术网站,然而对于摄影师本人,你能从互联网上获得的资料甚少,只知道Ta是一位来自澳门,但居住在台北的摄影师。你甚至很难推测出Ta的性别,TaInstagram脸书账号被清一色的魔幻少女照片占领;而翻看各网站的报道,也会看到竟然有用“He”也有用“She”的称谓来形容这位神秘人士。最近,我们很开心联系到这位拼图男人本人,Ta刚带着自己的御用模特Bee Ke漫游东京,完成了这辑最新摄影作品《Tokyo Tokymeky》。和Puzzleman交流的过程中,发现Ta的文字和影像一样有趣,下面我们一起跟着Puzzleman的镜头去东京逛一圈,和拼凑一下这次聊天中Ta留给我们的拼图线索吧。

Not Interested

“Since I was little, I haven’t been interested in photography. I find that people who dabble with photography needs to spend a lot of money on equipment – I think it’s stupid. I feel nothing when I see these commercial shots or landscape shots of sunsets.”


“All photography for me is just the action of pressing a button when I find something interesting.”






“When I’m creating an image, I feel like a sculptor. I’m turning my subject or my thoughts into my envisioned image.”


“The subject I photograph the most is my girlfriend. When we work together, we find ways to push each other, to prepare for a shoot. I like this process of mutual agitation.”






I like spontaneous shoots, but I also like planning. I feel that the most interesting images happen somewhere in between the two, so I suppose those would be the ‘accidents.’ Sometimes when I nail a shot and it turns out just exactly as I envisioned it, I find it unbelievably boring. I’m always looking forward to making these ‘accidents’ whenever I’m shooting. I’m pretty infatuated with this idea of accidental shots, and I’m pretty stubborn, so I’ll do anything to try and make them happen.”




“To me, Tokyo is a wonderful place, an amazing city filled beautiful sights and colors. I’ve always been quite infatuated with this place. But on the other hand, I feel that I try to distance myself between Tokyo’s inhabitants. I’m afraid of offending them, so I’ve always been terrified of any interactions with them. It’s pretty contradictory, loving a city but being afraid of its inhabitants. I’m always left scratching my head when I think about this. I suppose it’s because I don’t know them so I don’t fully understand them. The best thing for me to do is to probably go and learn Japanese.”



Time Machine

“A great photo should be an image that inspires others or one so powerful that it refuses to leave the minds of viewers. The most important part is the inspiration. The definition of a great photo now and what can be considered as a great photo in the past have drastically changed. Fifty or sixty years from know, I wonder if photos from now would be as intriguing as the older, classic photos that we look at in awe today. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine so I could go into the future and find out.”



As we concluded our conversation, we asked if Puzzleman had any specific message that he wanted to communicate to viewers. Instead of answering, Puzzleman asked us: “What I want to know is, with the way that people mass consume photography nowadays, don’t they get tired of it? Have you thought of what happens if one day people get tired of photography?” If you have any thoughts to share on the matter, drop by any one of Puzzleman Leung’s social media pages and share your thoughts!


Facebook: ~/Plzmanleung
Instagram:  @puzzleung
Flickr: ~/puzzlemanleung


Contributor: Ye Zi

脸书: ~/Plzmanleung


供稿人:  Ye Zi

Cinematic Tokyo

Cinematic Tokyo is a series from Dutch photographer and cinematographer Stijn Hoekstra. After initially developing his photography style in his native home of Amsterdam, Hoekstra planned to bring his visual approach to photographing other cities. The Cinematic Tokyo series was made possible when Hoekstra was commissioned to shoot a documentary on a flower artist in Tokyo, giving him the opportunity to capture the streets during his free time. Hoekstra says, “Whenever I work in another country, I try to book some extra nights to do the thing I like most – photographing the city in my own way.”

《Cinematic Tokyo》(电影东京)是由荷兰摄影师和电影摄影指导Stijn Hoekstra创作的摄影作品系列。在家乡阿姆斯特丹期间,Hoekstra初步形成了自己的摄影风格,之后,他便计划利用自己的视觉创意在其它城市进行拍摄。《Cinematic Tokyo》系列是Hoekstra受委托前往东京为一名花艺师拍摄纪录片期间所创作的。一有空,他就会走上街道进行拍摄。Hoekstra说:“每次我去到另一个国家工作时,我都会多住几晚,去做自己想做的事情——用自己的方式拍摄这座城市。”

Hoekstra draws from his background as both a photographer and a cinematographer to bring his audience a unique perspective on visual storytelling. He says, “I always try to take a cinematic approach in my photography. Every picture is shot with a wide angle lens, and I’m always looking for different perspectives.” Through particular attention to subject, lighting, and composition, each of Hoekstra’s images manages to tell a story in a single frame.


Color grading plays a major role in Hoekstra’s creative process and is essential in bringing out the cinematic quality of his images. According to him, “Color gives the photo the mood it deserves. It took a lot of time to develop this particular style, and it’s still developing.” Hoekstra continues his Cinematic city series in New York and Cuba.

调色(Color grading)是Hoekstra的创作过程中的重要部分,对于提升其照片的影像品质十分关键。他解释道:“色彩赋予照片相应的情绪。我花了很多时间来掌握这种特殊的风格,并且还在不断地学习。“接下来,Hoekstra将继续在纽约和古巴创作自己的《Cinematic》电影城市摄影系列。



Contributor: George Zhi Zhao



供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

Tokyo Roller-zoku Gangs

Tokyo Roller-zoku Gangs is a portrait series from American photographer Denny Renshaw. Created in Tokyo across five weeks in 2013 and 2015, the series was shot in parks, parties, bars, and music venues around the city. Renshaw tells us more about the series and the history behind the Roller-zoku subculture below.

2013年和2015年期间,美国摄影师Denny Renshaw前往东京,用五个星期的时间在公园、派对、酒吧和音乐场所拍摄下人像作品系列《Tokyo Roller-zoku Gangs》(Roller-zoku 指上世纪五六十年代东京的摇滚文化)。下面Renshaw 给我们介绍了这一人像作品系列,并讲述这种日本摇滚亚文化现象背后的一些故事。

“Among Japan’s many fashion tribes, one of the less explored is the Roller-zoku. For over 30 years the Roller-zoku have been borrowing greaser styles, gathering together for loud rock-and-roll music, and sporting leather, denim, and big greased up pompadours. Foreigners often associate them with the group of Roller-zoku seen in Yoyogi Park every Sunday, but this tribe can be found all over Tokyo. The Roller-zoku have grown from the roots of both 50’s and 60’s rock and roll and rockabilly because Japanese record labels did not differentiate between these musical categories at the time of their introduction.”

“在日本的各种时尚圈子中,Roller-zoku是其中比较鲜为人知的群体。30多年来,这些日本摇滚人一直在借鉴街头混混的造型风格, 他们聚集在一起听吵闹的摇滚音乐, 穿上皮夹克、牛仔服,向上梳起复古的‘庞毕度头’(pompadours)。外国人一般会首先想到的是每周日出现在代代木公园的Roller-zoku, 但其实他们遍布了东京的各个角落。Roller-zoku源自于50年代和60年代的摇滚乐和洛卡比里(Rockabilly)音乐, 因为在当时,日本的唱片公司把这些音乐混为一谈。”

“Japan experienced the popularity of these early rock-and-roll styles as did much of the world at that time, but it was the revival in the late 70’s that brought the fashions still associated with the Roller-zoku. Japanese bands like the Cools and Carol were at the forefront of this musical revival and began associating themselves with leather jackets, greased back hair, and motorcycles.”

”和当时世界其他地方一样,早期摇滚风格在日本经历了备受追捧的热潮,但直到70年代的复兴时期,才出现这种摇滚音乐的标志性时装风格。正是Cools and Carol 和其他引领着这种音乐复兴浪潮的日本乐队, 让皮夹克、‘庞毕度头’和摩托车与这种音乐文化关联起来。

“Unlike many other fashion tribes, these greasers are often all ages from the young to the old. An interesting aspect of this tribe is some members’ predilection for dancing, which can be seen being practiced in Tokyo parks on weekends. Much like early hip-hop was associated with breakdancing, Roller-zoku have their own brand of dancing, incorporating classic rock-and-roll dancing as well as intricate footwork, acrobatics, and theatricality.”

”不同于许多其它时尚圈子, 这些梳着‘庞毕度头’的摇滚人中既有年轻人也有年长者。关于这个群体,一个有趣的地方是一些成员特别喜欢跳舞。周末的时候,你会在东京的公园看到他们练习跳舞。就像霹雳舞是早期嘻哈音乐的标志性舞蹈一样,Roller-zoku 也有自己的特色舞蹈,他们在传统的摇滚舞蹈基础上,加入了复杂的步法, 动作和戏剧元素。“

Website: dennyrenshaw.com
Instagram: @dennyrenshaw


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao
Images Courtesy of Denny Renshaw



供稿人: George Zhi Zhao
图片由Denny Renshaw提供


Cody Ellingham is a designer and art director based in Tokyo, Japan. After moving to Tokyo in 2012, he became mesmerized by “the urban landscape and neon fantasies of the world’s first cyberpunk city.” His multimedia project DERIVE uses reflection and unique perspectives to explore his experience of the metropolis.

Cody Ellingham是居住在日本东京的设计师和艺术总监。 2012年搬到东京后,他被“世界第一个赛博朋克(cyberpunk)城市的霓虹灯夜景”迷住了。他的多媒体项目——《DERIVE》,使用反射和独特的视角探索着他在这个大都市的生活。

Website: cbje.jp
Facebook: ~/derive.tokyo
Instagram: @cbje_tokyo


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao

网站: cbje.jp
脸书: ~/derive.tokyo
Instagram: @cbje_tokyo


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao

Yoshito Hasaka’s Vision of Tokyo

Tokyo is often associated with the word “dense”, which isn’t surprising considering its status as one of the most populated metropolises in the world; the Japanese capital is a massive melting pot of subcultures and a place where one can find all the latest and hottest trends of Asia. Yoshito Hasaka is one of the millions living in the bustling city. Working as a full-time designer and iOS engineer, his free time is often spent exploring the nooks and crannies of this city with his camera. His Instagram account @_F7, where he presents a unique vision of the city through his signature wintry tones, is considered by many as one of the must-follow accounts in Tokyo.


Yoshito’s passion for photography began simply as a way for him to document his travels. But as a graphic designer, his attentiveness to aesthetics naturally made its way into his photography. Yoshito says he’s also fascinated with the ways that people interact with objects; he’s intrigued by the kinds of reactions or feelings a person might have towards something. This is why he wants to create images that will resonate with viewers. So from taking the actual picture to post-processing, Yoshito works meticulously to craft the perfect image. Recently, Neocha had a chance to speak to him about photography and his vision of Tokyo.



Neocha: What do you like to shoot the most in Tokyo?

Yoshito: I like things that were made by hand. I like seeing why they were made. I’m also a creator, so I feel that there’s always an intention and a meaning behind everything I create. I noticed this recently, but the things I’ve been trying to capture formed a kind of verification process for myself as a designer. There’s no way I can know if it’s correct or not, but when I organize things into a photograph, I’ll look at whatever is in front of my viewfinder and wonder why it was made this way. How did the person who made it want it to be? That’s my main theme, so that’s why a lot of the photos are taken from the front. Sometimes this means looking at the shape of a single building, and sometimes it might mean superimposing several elements, such as the way in which a crowd is walking through a street, the way in which the sun sets on the horizon, etc. I always try to give my own interpretation. It’s interesting for me, if I manage to capture the intentions of the creator with my camera, and if I can go beyond that, then I feel like the work really becomes my own. In Tokyo, there are a lot of different things that attract my interest. The city’s constantly being scrapped and rebuilt. So rather than having to go look for interesting things, interesting things have a tendency to appear in front of me.

Neocha: 東京で撮影する被写体で最も好きなものとは何でしょう?

Yoshito: 人の手によって作られたものが好きなんです。それがなぜそのように作られているのか。自分も作り手ですし、ものを創るひとつひとつのことには、必ず意図と理由があると思っています。最近気づいたのですが、ぼくがキャプチャーしているモノ・コトは、デザイナーとしてのその確認作業だったのです。正しいかどうかは知るべくもないわけですが、イメージとして収めるときに、自分のファインダーの前にあるものはなぜそう作られているのか。作った人はどう作りたかったのか。といったことが最初のテーマです(そのため、正面から撮ることが多いのです)。それはひとつの建物そのものの形であるときもあれば、多くの人がその道を歩く様子や、太陽が沈んでいく様など、複数の事象が重なって見える景色であったりします。そういう自分なりの解釈を常にするようにしていて、それが作った人が作る前に描いていたイメージを当てることができていたらとても面白いですし、さらにそれを超えることができたなら本当の意味で私のオリジナルになると思っています。東京にはそういう興味をひくものが本当にたくさんあります。どんどんスクラップ&ビルドされていますし、撮りに行くよりも出現する数の方が多いのではないでしょうか。

Neocha: What are some of your favorite spots in the city?

Yoshito: I like areas or events where lots of people gather. I like to think about why they gather there. I’m attracted by both indoor and outdoor locations; I want to see what it is about them that draws people there. I like capturing these places in a photograph and interpret it through my own means, and attempt to synchronize my thoughts with the person who created the place. Inevitably, I end up shooting at a lot of famous places. In Tokyo, I like any kind of tourist area, as well as busy areas where many people gather or go to work.

Neocha: 東京で最もお気に入りのスポットをいくつか教えていただけますか?


Neocha: How often do you shoot nowadays?

Yoshito: Whenever I’m out and about in Tokyo, I’ll have my camera. I’ve been on Instagram for five years now though, so it’s harder to find new things to shoot in this city. I’ll post images taken at different famous locations, but I’ll also see other people shoot and post the same vantage. But I feel like it’s different every time I’m out. The weather, lighting, and people are never the same – other unforeseen factors might also affect how the image turns out. I don’t go out every day and night anymore, but it’s always fun to look for fresh angles and think about how to best frame the shot.

Neocha: 最近はどのくらいの頻度で撮影していますか?


Neocha: How did you develop your personal style?

Yoshito: I get many comments from people like: “your photos are really Tron-ish,” or like “So Blade Runner!” Many people also tell me the colors in my photos are unique. I actually like Hollywood movies a lot, but they don’t influence me too much. From the point of view of a graphic designer, I like to envision my photos in the same way as a black-and-white photograph. I see them as “just a blue photo”, or “just a green and orange picture”, and so on. I would like the viewer to see it this way too. I reduce the color saturation on my photos for a reason. It’s part of the content – a way to focus on the story. To me, using different colors is like speaking with many unique voices, and I’m very happy with this approach.

Neocha: 独自のスタイルをどのように発展させたのでしょう?

Yoshitoよく、「Tronっぽい」とか「Blade Runnerだ」とか言われます。そして、画像の色使いがユニークだと言ってくれる方がいます。もちろん ハリウッド映画は好きですが、そこにどっぷり浸かろうと思っているわけではありません。グラフィックデザイナーとして、モノクロ写真と同じように、ただ「この青の写真」とか、「このグリーンとオレンジのイメージ」とシンプルに認識したいし、見る人にもそう認識していただきたいのです。写真の彩度を下げていくことが多いですが、私の場合はそれは伝えたい内容であったり、ストーリーにより焦点を当てるための手法なのです。ユニークと捉えられている声が多いことは、とてもうれしく思います。

Neocha: What new subject matters or locations do you have plans of shooting in the future?

Yoshito: This year alone, I’ve seen many crazy photos taken of the famous Shibuya street crossing in Shinjuku. Many of the shots had angles I’d never seen before. I was really interested in shooting the crossing in a fresh way, but I never ended up with anything I liked. Experimenting with new things is always interesting and I hope to experiment more and more. Besides that, I’d also want to go to more new places. I’ve seen a few new locations on the internet and on social media that I’d like to visit. These places range from abandoned factories to architecture with impressive facades. It doesn’t matter to me if the location is more traditional or more futuristic. Sometimes when I come across a really great location online, it makes me want to get up and go shoot right away.

Neocha: 今後撮影を予定している新たな素材や場所とは何でしょうか?

Yoshito: 今年、今まで見たことのないアングルで渋谷や新宿の有名なストリートを撮影した、とても多くのすごい写真を見ました。普段自分が撮ってる場所を全くちがうアングルから捉えた写真を目の当たりにして、どうやって撮っているんだろうと興味を覚えましたが、まだそれを自分の手で撮影するには至っていません。非常に新鮮な表現手法で、トライしたいと思っています。そして、少し足を伸ばせばまだたくさんの行ったことがないスポットがあることを、インターネットやメディアを、インスタグラムを通して見ますし、そこへはカメラを持って行ってみたいと思っています。工場地帯もそうですし、クラシックなもの・未来的なものどちらもあるのですが、とても印象的な顔を持った建築物などです。

Instagram: @_F7
VSCO: ~/f7th


Contributor: Banny Wang

Instagram: @_F7
VSCO: ~/f7th


寄稿者: Banny Wang


 Today’s trend-setting, ultra-modern Tokyo leads the world in many regards. One look at the photos of Tokyo on VSCO Grid® reveal the sleek architecture and bustling shopping districts that characterize the Japanese city. Amidst the images of its fashion-forward youth and neon-lit nightlife, however, we see the cultural elements that distinguish Tokyo from its international counterparts.

現代の流行発信地である最先端の都市東京は、様々な観点で世界をリードしています。VSCO Grid®で東京の写真を一目見れば、日本を代表する都市の特徴であるなめらかに光り輝く建築や活気あふれるショッピング街の様子が手に取るようにわかります。流行に敏感な若者たちやネオンきらめくナイトライフといったイメージの中でも、東京には他の国際都市と一線を画す文化的な要素がうかがえます。

View the city’s busy streets, its distinctive cherry blossoms, or traditional Buddhist temples in the selection of photos below or by searching Tokyo on VSCO Grid®.

以下の写真セレクションで、またはVSCO Grid®で「東京」と検索して、東京の繁華街やこの地独特の桜の花、あるいは伝統的な仏閣をご覧ください。

This story is part of a content partnership and media exchange between Neocha and VSCO®. To see more of VSCO’s Asia content on Neocha, click here.

この企画は、NeochaとVSCO® のコンテンツパートナー提携およびメディア交換の一環です。NeochaでVSCO®のアジアのコンテンツをさらにご覧いただくには、ここをクリックしてください。

The Woman Who Fell to Earth



Corporate-owned musicians and songs dominate the airwaves in Japan. Someone like Venus Kawamura Yuki, an independent music producer and DJ, is a rare and special presence in the Japanese music scene. This Tokyo-born music muse was known as “the runaway” in Shibuya’s club scene almost two decades ago. Her parents divorced when she was three and her father took her in; but he believed that raising a child was not “a man’s job” and sent her off to live with her aunt.


Venus’ aunt was a single woman working in the dressmaking business. She introduced Venus to her favorite fashion model, Sayoko Yamaguchi, as well as some of her favorite bands, like Yellow Magic Orchestra and Plastics. Venus was immediately hooked and got sucked into the world of fashion and electronic music. Eventually Venus’ father remarried, and she was sent back to live with her father and stepmother – but after moving back, she ended up not getting along with her stepmother. Venus ran away from home at the age of 18. Wandering through the nightscape of Tokyo, she would end up in clubs and often found herself dancing the night away. “Music really got me through these hard times,” Venus said.


It was also around this time when she got the name that has stuck with her to this day. “I was in the powder room at one of these clubs. I was about to leave and someone called out to me, ‘You’re Venus!’ It was a total stranger. A beautiful foreigner.” That story immediately spread amongst her peers, and it became her nickname. “I’m not fond of it to this day, but it is the name I go by.”


Having become a regular in the local club scene, the people she hung out with started to take notice of her good taste of music and her ability to captivate people’s attention. This led to her becoming a music promoter. “I didn’t speak a word of English, but I learned by myself and started to bring techno and dance music artists from all around the world to Japan,” she says. This career path developed into other opportunities for her, and Venus eventually became a DJ, then a music producer, then a singer and writer. Venus now writes columns, novels, and lyrics for Japanese anime series theme songs, such as Naruto and Bakuman. Venus also hosts her own weekly internet radio program on block.fm.

やがて、彼女は地元のクラブシーンの常連となり、彼女の仲間達は彼女の音楽センスの良さと人々を惹きつける才能に気づき始めた。それが、彼女を音楽プロモーターにさせた切っ掛けとなる。「英語は一言も喋れなかったけど、独学で覚えて、テクノやダンスミュージックのアーティストを世界中から日本へ招聘しました。」と、彼女は言う。この進路が別のチャンスへと発展し、ヴィーナスは、DJとなり、その後、音楽プロデューサー、さらにシンガーや作家となっていった。彼女は現在、コラム、小説などを執筆する他、『Naruto -ナルト-』や『バクマン。』といった日本のアニメ番組の主題歌の作詞も手がけている。また、block.fmにて自らのインターネットラジオ番組の司会も毎週務めている。

In 2010, she opened Shibuya Oiran, a DJ bar located in her beloved city of Shibuya. Her music platform Oiran Music later launched in 2014. “Meeting these female artists led to me starting Oiran Music,” she said of her serendipitous meeting of three female artists. One of them is Sakiko Osawa, who made her debut not from Japan, but from Amsterdam. The other two artists are Mako Principal and Namacolove. Mako Principal is a painter that has worked with famous Japanese artists like Makoto Aida and has exhibited work at renowned museums such as Mori Museum. Namacolove is a visual artist that was previously known for her fascination with sea cucumbers and uniquely illustrated characters.

2010年、彼女は自身がこよなく愛する街、渋谷にDJバー『しぶや花魁』を開店した。その後2014年には音楽プラットフォームOiran Musicを開設。「女性アーティスト達との出会いがOiran Musicを始めるきっかけとなりました」と、女性アーティスト達との出会いについて語る。その中の一人、Sakiko Osawa(サキコ・オオサワ)は日本でなくアムステルダムよりデビュー。もう一組のナマコプリは、マコ・プリンシパルとナマコラブという二人のアーティストによるユニットだ。マコ・プリンシパルは、会田誠などの有名アーティストとのコラボ経験を持つ画家で、これまで森美術館といった著名な美術館で展覧会を開催している。ナマコラブは、ナマコへの愛やユニークなイラストのキャラクターで知られたビジュアルアーティストである。

After meeting Namacolove and Mako Principal at Shibuya Oiran, Venus was instantly fascinated by their voices. She proposed the idea of making a song together, and thus the “artist idol unit” Namakopuri was born. Venus brought together these two artists, both of whom have no music backgrounds, and have been creating genre-bending music ever since. Their sound is an intriguing blend of trap music, techno music, and hyper kawaii pop vocals that’s bizarrely addictive. Only time will tell what other types of genre-defying sounds will come from these talented women in the future.


Website: ~/YukiKawamura
Soundcloud: ~/Namakopuri

ウェブサイト: ~/YukiKawamura
Soundcloud: ~/Namakopuri

Contributor, Photographer & Videographer: Yasuyuki Kubota

寄稿者、カメラマン&ビデオ撮影: Yasuyuki Kubota

The Work of Kouzou Sakai

With a bachelor’s degree in animal science and biotechnology, Kouzou Sakai isn’t a typical illustrator. He didn’t take the normal route of attending a fine art school, nor did he have the luxury of having connections in the publishing or advertising field. Now based in Tokyo, Japan and working as a freelancer, Kouzou has carved out his own career path as an artist. His distinctively recognizable body of work alternates between fairly minimalistic images featuring nondescript men in suits, to intricate illustrations of delightfully imaginary worlds filled with flying vehicles and various animals. Kouzou recently talked with us about the journey that brought him to where he is today, and his approach to creating the serene atmospheric settings seen in his work.

動物科学とバイオテクノロジーの学士号を持つKouzou Sakaiは標準的なイラストレーターではない。彼は、美術学校で学ぶといった通常の経歴を辿ることも、出版や広告分野との繋がりを持つという恩恵を受けることもなかった。現在、東京を拠点にフリーランサーとして活動する彼は、アーティストとしてのキャリアを自ら切り開いたのである。一目見てそれとわかる彼の作品コレクションには、特徴のないスーツ姿の男性が登場するかなりミニマリスティックな図柄がある一方で、空飛ぶ乗り物や様々な動物がひしめく楽しげな架空の世界を描いた複雑なイラストも見られる。彼は、現在の彼を作り上げた経歴、また、その作品に存在する穏やかな空気感を生み出すためのアプローチについて答えてくれた。

Neocha: How did you first become interested with illustration?

KouzouAs a child, I loved picture books showing different flora and fauna. I used to draw so many pictures of insects, birds, animals, fish, flowers, and so on. In my teenage years, I became passionate about sports and stopped drawing for a while. I’ve always liked animals, so I entered a university where I could study something related. During that time, I had the opportunity to use an Adobe application for a bit, even though it wasn’t part of my course. This set me off on the path of taking drawing seriously. Afterwards, a lot of complicated things happened, but then I made the decision to become an illustrator after graduation.


Kouzou:幼い頃から動植物の図鑑が⼤好きで昆⾍、⿃、動物、⿂、花などの絵を頻繁に描いていました。 10代は、スポーツに熱中していたので絵を描くことからはしばらく離れました。そして私は⽣物が好きだったのでその分野の勉強ができる⼤学へ進学しました。授業ではありませんが、⼤学で少しAdobeのアプリケーションにふれる機会があり、それをきっかけに本格的に絵を描くように なりました。その後、複雑な事情が重なり、⼤学卒業後はイラストレーターへなりました。

Neocha: How did you make the jump from being a graduate with a degree in animal science and biotechnology to becoming a designer and illustrator? It seems like really different fields – what was the influencing factor?

Kouzou: There are several reasons why I changed my path and went into another field. One of them is that although I had originally entered university to research wild animals, I felt that transforming my interest into an actual job would be very difficult. So after graduating, I changed directions and began another kind of work that I also liked. Of course, I encountered a lot of difficulties, even after deciding to become an illustrator. Since I wasn’t a graduate coming from a fine arts university, I didn’t have any contacts in the publishing or advertising fields, and didn’t have any advice or assistance regarding my work. I guess the most difficult thing was that I didn’t have anyone to give me any advice – but with a lot of time and effort invested, I have arrived where I am today.

Neocha: 畜産学と生命工学の学位を持っているのにデザイナーと言うよりイラストレーターへ大きく転身したのはなぜですか・それは全く異なった分野のようですが、何が影響したのですか?

Kouzou異分野へ進路を変えたのはいくつか事情があります。その理由のひとつは、野⽣動物の研究のために⼤学に進んだものの、自分が興味を注いでいる分野を仕事に繋げるのは現実的にとても難しいと痛感しました。そして卒業後に進路を大きく変え、自分のもうひとつの好きことを仕事に選びました。 もちろんイラストレーターを目指してから困難が多かったです。私は美術系大学の出身ではないので、出版・広告業界にまったくコネクションを持っておらず、仕事や相談相⼿が皆無でした。 相談相⼿がいないのが⼀番つらかったかもしれません。年月を費やして少しずつ仕事いただけるようになり今に繋がっています。

NeochaHow would you describe the style of your artwork?

KouzouI have a few styles, but basically I begin by sketching my ideas out, and then later flesh them out using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I aim to create illustrations that the largest possible number of people can find common ground with. Admittedly though, it’s a difficult task. I feel I can never stop at simply being personally satisfied with my work.

Neocha: あなたの作品/スタイルについて説明してくださいませんか?

Kouzou: いくつかスタイルがあるのですが、基本的にはアイデアスケッチを手描きで行い、その後Adobe IllustratorPhotoshopを使⽤して制作します。大変難しいことですが、できるだけ多くの人に価値を共有してもらえるような画を目指しています。自己満足で終わらないように気をつけています。

NeochaYour illustrations are peaceful, while also containing elements of beauty, stillness, and nostalgic. Where do you get your inspirations from?

KouzouI think that it is simply the result of me subconsciously remembering and storing a wide variety of information from different media around me – whether it’s from movies, novels, or something else. Some artists that I particularly respect include René François, Ghislain Magritte, and Tove Marika Jansson.

Neocha: あなたのイラストは、美しさ、静けさと郷愁の要素が含まれていると同時に、平和的であると特徴を述べられています。何から発想を得ていますか?

Kouzou: 映画、小説など、身の回りの様々なものから無意識に自分の好きな情報を断片的に記憶へ蓄積していっている結果だと思います。尊敬しているアーティストは、René François Ghislain Magritte, Tove Marika Janssonです。

NeochaDo you feel like Tokyo has an influence on your work?

Kouzou: Unfortunately, I don’t go outside very much – so I really don’t feel I am particularly influenced by Tokyo. I don’t really like crowds. Although I live in Tokyo now, I was actually raised in a small countryside town, close to the ocean and the mountains. I think that that town had more influence on me than Tokyo does.

Neocha: 現在住んでいる東京は、あなたの作品に影響を与えていますか?


NeochaWhat do you intend to communicate through your art?

KouzouI honestly don’t have a very clear message. I don’t really like to explain my work. I am happy when people see my work and are able to interpret its meaning for themselves, freely.

Neocha: あなたの芸術作品を通じて何を伝えたいと思いますか?

Kouzou: 明確なメッセージはありません。作品を見た人がそれぞれにストーリーを自由に想像して愉しんでくれたら私はうれしいです。ですので、私は自分の作品を説明するのをあまり好きではありません。

Website: kouzou.org
: ~/kouzou
Facebook: ~/ksillustrations
Instagram: @kouzou_sakai_illustrations

: ~/kouzou
Facebook: ~/ksillustrations
Instagram: @kouzou_sakai_illustrations

Contributor: David Yen
mages Courtesy of Kouzou Sakai