Tag Archives: 日本

Ghost Town Ni Naru

French-Canadian photographer Jasmin Gendron began learning his way around photography from the dark rooms of his local high school. As of 2010, he began to shoot predominantly in digital, whilst occasionally shooting 35mm film for personal projects.

法裔加拿大摄影师Jasmin Gendron开始接触摄影是在家乡高中学校的暗房里。在 2010 年之后,他多数用数码相机拍摄,不过有时在创作个人作品的时候也会用到35毫米胶片相机。

“I try to use street photography to immortalize energy and emotions from magnificent, human and sometimes comical scenes, with a poetic, subtle and unobtrusive approach.” Jasmin describes himself as an autodidact, with the inspiration behind his photography style stemming from Japanese culture. He spent a full year immersing himself into Japan and actively absorbing his new surroundings. “I like how the environment impacts human actions and decision in peoples’ everyday lives.”


Jasmin’s photo series Ghost Town Ni Naru was captured over a two-year period in his wife’s hometown of Nikko in Japan’s Tochigi prefecture. Jasmin had been subconsciously observing the city for the past decade, and describes it as his perception of a “grotesque scene,” in the sense that Nikko was slowly becoming a ghost town. This project is an active reminder that no place is unchanging and the sense of loss is acutely expressed throughout each image.

Jasmin的摄影作品系列《Ghost Town Ni Naru》是他在妻子的故乡——栃木县日光市生活的两年期间所捕捉的影像。Jasmin一直下意识地在观察这个城市在过去的十年的发展,研究日光市是如何渐渐变成今日的一座鬼城,而他称这种变化为一种“奇景”。视觉上,这系列作品提醒着人们,没有一个地方是永恒不变的。他的照片中总透露着一种失落的情绪。

Whilst Nikko may be well known for its beautiful traditional shrines and temples, this project seeks to present an aspect of Japanese culture that does not conform to the stereotypical idea of Japan. “This is a sad series. I tried to capture how it must feel for my wife, for her family members and friends, when they take a deeper look at the places where most of their memories come from.”




Contributor: Whitney Ng

Instagram: @jasgendron


供稿人: Whitney Ng

Finding Inspiration in Uncertainty

Yuma Yoshimura is a Japanese artist, painter, and muralist who creates psychedelic, monochromatic works that reflect the uncertainty and chaos of human existence. In 2004, he completed his education at Tama Art University where he studied painting and printmaking. Currently based in Tokyo, his work has been well-received internationally, having been exhibited in South Africa, Spain, Russia, and more.

Yuma Yoshimura是一名日本的艺术家、画家和壁画家,其创作的单色作品充满迷幻的风格,表达出人类生存的混乱与不确定性。他曾在多摩美术大学学习绘画和版画创作,2004年毕业之后,他生活在日本东京。他的作品曾在南非、西班牙、俄罗斯等国家发表。

The primary themes of Yuma Yoshimura’s work lie in the uncertainty and chaos that people experience in daily life, or in concepts of duality and opposition such as “darkness and light.” For him, these are universal conditions that all people face as they grow from childhood to adulthood. To believe in the unchanging in the face of the ever-changing, and to express this dynamic visually is a reflection of the artist’s own resistance to unrelenting change.

Yuma Yoshimura的作品主题主要围绕人们在日常生活中经历的不确定性和混乱,或是二元性和对立概念,如“黑暗与光明”。对他来说,这是所有人从孩童到成年人的成长过程中都必定面临的普遍状况。在千变万化中相信永恒不变,以视觉作品来表现变化的动态,反映出这名艺术家自己对于无情变化的抵抗。

For Yuma Yoshimura’s creations, he primarily works with acrylic paint, spray paint, markers, aluminum and wooden panels. For mural-sized works, he’ll only use monochromatic acrylic paint and spray paint – his decision is largely based on the physical characteristics of the wall, which include its size and the surrounding environment.

Yuma Yoshimura的创作过程主要利用丙烯涂料、喷漆颜料、马克笔、铝和木板。至于壁画尺寸的大作品,他会根据墙体的物理特性、大小和所产生的空间效果,直接在墙壁上使用单色丙烯涂料和喷漆颜料进行创作。

Despite using a simple, monochromatic palette, Yuma Yoshimura is able to conceive a multitude of visual elements through complicated compositions that mirror his inner state. The visual elements seen in traditional tribal tattoos and ornaments also fuel the sparks of his imagination. This influence from these primitive arts reflect Yoshimura’s attempt to express his own unique, but universal, human experience.

虽然创作中只使用了一种色彩,但Yuma Yoshimura依然能够通过复杂的构图来表现出丰富多样的视觉元素,传达出他的内心状态。部落纹身和装饰品这些视觉元素激发了他的创作灵感。来自原始部落的艺术影响反映出Yoshimura尝试表达的一种独特又普遍的人性经历。

Website: yumanizumu.jp
Facebook: ~/yumanizumu


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao
Images Courtesy of Yuma Yoshimura

网站: yumanizumu.jp
脸书: ~/yumanizumu


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao
图片由Yuma Yoshimura提供

Japan, Pixelated

Since 2011, Japanese illustrator Toyoi Yuuta has been posting animated GIFs on his Tumblr under the moniker 1041uuu. Finding beauty in simplicity, he’s translated his vision of life in Japan into gorgeously animated pixel art. The highly approachable style of his pixel art has allowed his work to be widely praised and shared by netizens from all over the world. At the same time, Generation Xers, millennials, and gaming enthusiasts are able to more deeply appreciate the nostalgic qualities of his retro aesthetics.


Originally born in Fukushima, Toyoi is currently based out of Kyoto, preferring the quiet pace of life there compared to the sensory overload of Tokyo, where he had previously lived for six years. In those six years, Toyoi found solace and inspiration in different aspects of the Tokyo that many might not immediately associate with the city, such as its rivers. “I think I’ve been influenced by the unique rivers of all the cities I’ve lived in. In particular, Tokyo’s Sumida River had a profound impact on me,” he says. From a cityscape reflected on the rippling surface of a river to koi fish idly lazing beneath a lotus leaf-covered pond, water makes frequent appearances in Toyoi’s work and is often one of the most noticeable animated elements.


Another big influence for Toyoi is the popular arcade-style fighting game, The King of Fighters. The different two-dimensional background scenes in the game clearly lends inspiration for his animated GIFs. These in-game backgrounds range from forests with falling rain and leaves fluttering in the wind to industrial settings with machinery bellowing out clouds of steam. Some other scenes might depict more mundane moments of city life, such as lovers interacting in the background and blinking traffic lights. These little moments stuck in an infinite loop fascinated Toyoi. “To an art geek like me, these elements sparked something within me and I became interested in these realistic backdrops,” he says. Similar to the aesthetics of The King of Fighters and other retro fighting games, animating select details in a mostly still frame has become the trademark of Toyoi’s work.


For many artists, figuring out how to make sustainable income while pursuing their creative vision can be problematic, and Toyoi isn’t an exception. He revealed that his initial decision to create pixel art was in part due to to the restrictive nature of the tools he had access to. “I was poor and unemployed. I didn’t have a pen tablet and only had a PC track pad. But to create pixel art, I don’t need a high-resolution computer or much special knowledge and training,” he recalled. Despite garnering high praise for his GIFs, the popularity of his work still hasn’t translated into any money-making opportunities. “I still don’t have any money at the moment, so I’m trying to sell some of my artwork now,” Toyoi candidly admitted. “I’m looking into selling silkscreen prints in the near future.”


Introverted by nature, Toyoi tells us that people aren’t of much interest to him. Instead, his interests lie in the intangible, such as the feelings and smells of a place, holding the belief that these are the elements that truly make up the essence of a city. “The world is filled with rules that aren’t explicitly written out, and it feels like I’m not very good at reading them, because I don’t understand these unspoken codes. I find society to be a scary place,” he says. Toyoi’s work is a tranquil respite from the whirlwind of unpredictability, volatility, and anxiety that plague our modern lives. His gift lies in the way that he’s able to invoke a blissful sense of tranquility by simply presenting the nuanced beauties of life that many overlook, rendering these ordinary moments into gorgeous works of art.


It generally takes Toyoi two days to complete a GIF. The preliminary planning stages are admittedly much more difficult, he says. It’s crucial for him to avoid repetition. “Sometimes choosing the idea can take up to two weeks. Even now, two months can go by without me drawing anything,” he says. “For example, if I have already drawn a picture of a businessman asleep in a in a bus, then I would not draw a picture of a student asleep on a train.  There is no essential difference in my mind between the sleeping businessman and the sleeping student, or a train and a bus.”


“For now, I’ll be content if my work allows people to better appreciate the world around them. Japan has many problems, such as the threat of earthquakes, nuclear power plant accidents, distrust of the government, overworked people suffering from work-related stresses, and so on.” As if to counterbalance these large scale, hard-to-solve problems that trouble his mind, Toyoi’s charming GIFs instead hone in on the simple beauties of everyday life in Japan. “Regardless of some of the country’s issues, I want people to visit Japan. I certainly recommend Kyoto.”


Tumblr: 1041uuu.tumblr.com
Instagram: @1041uuu


Contributor: David Yen

Tumblr: 1041uuu.tumblr.com
Instagram: @1041uuu


寄稿人: David Yen

Tokyo Compression

Tokyo Compression 12 (2010)

German-born artist and photographer Michael Wolf started his career as a photojournalist in 1994. After spending nearly a decade working in Hong Kong for the German magazine Stern, a lack of interest in many of his assignments and a lack of time for his personal projects led him to pursue fine art photography full-time in 2003. In 2004, he won first prize in the World Press Photo competition’s Contemporary Issues category for his compelling photo series China: Factory of the World where he captured workers in different types of factories. The award would be the first of many as his body of work continued to evolve and grow.

ドイツ出身アーチスト兼写真家のMichael Wolf は、1994年にフォトジャーナリストとしてそのキャリアを歩み始めました。香港に在住中の10年近くをドイツ系雑誌・Sternのジャーナリストとして過ごす間は、大半の職務に興味を見出せないまま、自分のやりたいプロジェクトが行えない日々を過ごす時期が続きました。そのような状況の中、2003年にプロの美術写真家に転向し、翌2004年には世界報道写真展の現代社会部門にて、様々な工場で働く労働者達の姿を捉えた作品集のChina: Factory of the World で初の賞を獲得しました。この賞はその後の作品の進化と成長や、多くの受賞作を生むきっかけになったのです。

Tokyo Compression 54 (2010)
Tokyo Compression 57 (2010)
Tokyo Compression 35 (2010)
Tokyo Compression 31 (2010)

In the years since, he’s become a significant name in the contemporary art scene, developing an exceptional body of work around life in the cities of China, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Chicago and Paris. His photographs are a profound embodiment of urban life, from Bastard Chairs and 100×100 to Transparent City and Real Fake Art among other numerous projects. Most of Wolf’s images display a unique internal look into peoples’ lives within both the suburbs and bustling centers of megacities. Through his photography, Wolf’s intent is to capture and present his vision of the dynamics of city life as well as his perspective on the turbulent nature of the urban environments. Tokyo Compression is one of those stark manifestations.

それ以来、当人は現代のアートシーンで重要な役割を担う存在となり、中国の他、香港、東京、シカゴ、パリなどの都市生活を描く素晴らしい作品を制作してきました。数多くの作品の中でも特にBastard Chairs100×100Transparent CityReal Fake Art は、都市生活の鋭い洞察が具体的に表されています。本人が想像するイメージの大半では、大都市の目まぐるしく動く中心部や、近郊の人々の生活を捉えた独特な眼差しが映し出されています。カメラのレンズを通して都市生活の原動力となるビジョン、そして都市という渦巻く環境を彼なりの視点で捉えて描こうとしたのです。その視点は、Tokyo Compressionプロジェクトに最もよく表されています。

Tokyo Compression 125 (2010)
Tokyo Compression 126 (2010)

First presented in 2010 as a book, Tokyo Compression is a photo series that consists of candid portraits of Japanese people inside the jam-packed Tokyo subway trains, a stream of nameless faces pressed up against a window wet with condensation. Creating a sense of hardship, the images depict an urban hell, a mental compression of sadness and despair, madness and anxiety.

2010年にまず単行本として発表されたTokyo Compressionは、東京の地下鉄の満員電車内でお互いが押し合いながらも汗まみれとなり、窓に押し付けられて何とも言えない表情が映し出された、日本人のありのままの姿を集めた作品集です。人々の苦労を映し出すイメージは、都市の苦しみ、悲しみに溢れた精神的な圧迫感、そして絶望、狂気、不安な様子が表されています。

Tokyo Compression 18 (2010)
Tokyo Compression 75 (2010)

Wolf’s photography has shown the adaptability of human spirit against adversity in one of the most ultimate urban environments: the city’s underground. Capturing the everyday commuter life in Tokyo’s subway, Wolf has managed to present the physical and mental reduction of privacy and space in the daily routine, imbued with a feeling of dismal, overwhelming and total vulnerability to the city.


Tokyo Compression 55 (2010)
Tokyo Compression 77 (2010)
Tokyo Compression 80 (2010)
Tokyo Compression 52 (2010)

In 2009, Wolf’s Tokyo Compression series won first prize in the World Press Photo Award’s Daily Life category. Now interchangeably living and working in Hong Kong and Paris, Michael Wolf continues to pursue his personal projects where he explores and reveals an inward world of big cities through his lens.

このTokyo Compressionシリーズは、2009年世界報道写真展の日常生活部門で最優秀賞を獲得しました。現在当人は、香港とパリを仕事と生活の拠点として活動し、レンズを通して大都市の奥深くを追いかけて表現する、独自のプロジェクトを手掛け続けています。

Tokyo Compression 17 (2010)
Tokyo Compression 66 (2010)
Tokyo Compression 123 (2010)

Micheal Wolf’s solo exhibition Hong Kong – Informal Solutions is now on display at the M97 Gallery in Shanghai. The new exhibit features photographs, video loops, and artifacts collected from the back alleys of Hong Kong.

上海のM97画廊では個展のHong Kong – Informal Solutionsが開催されています。新作が披露されているこの展覧会では、写真、動画ループ、香港の裏通りで見つかった工芸品が展示されています。

Facebook: ~/michael-wolf


Contributor: Anastasia Masalova
Images Courtesy of Michael Wolf & M97 Shanghai

Facebook: ~/michael-wolf


寄稿人: Anastasia Masalova
Images Courtesy of Michael Wolf & M97 Shanghai

Art Island Naoshima

Setouchi Triennale takes place in spring, summer and autumn once every three years and lasts for 108 days. It is held on the 12 islands of the Seto Inland Sea, including Teshima, Megijima, Naoshima, and so on. With the largest number of installations and public works on display in Naoshima, this remote island is one of the most popular destinations during the Triennale.


Designed by the world-famous architect Tadao Ando, the Chichu Art Museum lives up to its name (chichu means “underground” in Japanese); a very large part of the museum’s compound is indeed concealed underground. Surprisingly, it manages still to use natural daylight as its main source of light. Through Ando’s masterful design, he has engaged in a conversation between architecture and nature. The museum is also exhibiting Time/Timeless/No Time from the iconic American minimalist artist Walter de Maria, Claude Monet’s large-scale oil painting Water Lily, as well as the American contemporary artist James Terrell’s Open Sky – an installation work using light as the medium. It is very rare to witness the work of impressionist, modern and contemporary art in one single museum. This alone would be reason enough to pay a visit.


Another must-see museum is the Lee Ufan Museum. Widely considered as the most well-established Korean contemporary artist, Lee Ufan was also one of the leading artists of the Japanese minimalism movement, which has had a significant influence in the world of contemporary art. The museum opened in 2010, and is now considered an architectural masterpiece and one of Tadao Ando’s most iconic creations. In this semi-underground building, the main visual design elements are the dots, lines, and surfaces; these elements, which are central in the works of both Tadao Ando and Lee Ufan, perfectly compliment each other in the space. Some of Lee Ufan’s large-scale installations and his early paintings are also on display in the museum.


After seeing the museum, visitors can also take a walk to the peaceful harbour of Naoshima where one can get an award-winning ice cream for only 550 yen and enjoy a beautiful sunset. Even though walking is a fairly feasible option for getting around, there are also busses running to most parts of the island. One bus is even decorated in Yayoi Kusama’s signature pumpkin patterns.


Also located on the island is the Art House Project, where artists have turned empty houses on the island into works of art. Visitors can easily access all of the revamped buildings by foot after getting off at one of many convenient bus stops. For the purpose of protecting the artworks, photography is forbidden in most of the houses. A local volunteer told me all the works showcased for the Art House Project will be kept permanently. Most of the residential housing on the island are built with wood, standing one next to the other in close proximity. All the windows and doors are smaller than normal, bringing a different yet interesting experience for city dwellers who visit. Even the houses themselves come in rather small sizes. The gardens and plants around the houses are beautifully and neatly arranged in a traditional Japanese style. Wandering around, you might also spot interesting details that reveal the tasteful eye of the house owners, such as a cute Tanuki sculpture or artwork made of recycling cans.


Besides all the interesting museums, the island itself also has a certain charm that it offers. The wooden walls and rusty metal factories add a natural texture to the island, giving it a sense of mysterious beauty that can only come with old age. Walking around, you’ll spot even more artwork, such as interesting silhouettes of people made with lines of wool, which are attached to walls throughout the area. They’re often quietly hidden away behind corners, waiting to surprise you when you turn around. It almost felt like these whimsical artworks were playing hide-and-seek with the tourists.


Not far from Miyanoura Port lies the famous polka-dot pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama. It sits quietly by the sea and the water’s blue hues seemed to make the pumpkin’s yellow brighter than ever. Yayoi Kusama’s merchandise can be purchased at the Benesse House Museum, which also showcases other very interesting artworks. From there, you can head to a café located on the mountaintop to relax with a nice cup of coffee. It is the perfect place to bask in the sunlight, while embracing the gentle wind coming in from the beach. The tranquil vibes of the island, the cutting-edge architecture of the art museums, and the traditional Japanese houses all co-exist harmoniously, perfectly demonstrating the unique nature of Naoshima.




Contributor & Photographer: George Liu Zhen
Additional Image Courtesy of Chi Chu Art Museum



寄稿者&カメラマン: George Liu Zhen
Additional Image Courtesy of 地中美術館

Bike Rides Around Kyoto

Visiting bike rental shops has become a favorite pastime of mine when traveling to new places. Bicycles can get you to your destination faster than on foot, but at the same time, they still allow you to stay engaged with your surroundings and take in the scenery at a relaxing pace. Add to the fact that it is also good exercise, which can help develop an appetite for some good local cuisine, it can be hard to resist wanting to take a bicycle around everywhere. With a variety of bike rental shops to choose from, riding around Kyoto couldn’t be any easier. Rentals are simple: after a quick deposit and signing just a few forms, you’re off – with the wind blowing through your hair.


There is definitely a more ancient feel to the city of Kyoto. The graceful poise and traditions of Japanese culture can be experienced on street corners and within the bustling alleyways. The manner in which a large number of people go about their daily lives seems to be a reflection of times long past, many centuries ago. As an observer, it is easy to be completely captivated by the abandonment of modernity in certain areas of the city. Gion, the famous entertainment and Geisha quarter, is a good example of this. Riding through the tiny alleyways and cobbled streets that wrap around teahouses and quaint shops unveils a different side of Japan. In this area, many tourists and visitors dress up in traditional kimonos and take to the streets. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a real geisha, or a miko making an errand run between teahouses.


It is roughly 12 kilometers from Gion to Arashiyama’s Sagano Bamboo Forest, depending on which exact area of the Gion district you’re riding out from and which route you take. Consisting of mostly flat roads, the journey isn’t overly strenuous. The Sagano Bamboo Forest is a magical place that has an ethereal quality to it, created by the filtered overhead sunlight that peeks through the towering bamboo. Walking further into the lush bamboo grove and past the Tenryū-ji temple entrance, you can find one of many spectacular views of the dense forest. Taking in the surroundings, it is easy to see why bamboo is so prevalent in Japanese mythology and legends. In traditional Japanese culture, bamboo is symbolic of strength and prosperity – and it is also widely used for construction, household goods, and textiles in Japan.


After treating yourself to a matcha-flavored soft serve, you will be ready to make your way to the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. It is just a 13 kilometer bike ride from Arashiyama to Fushimi Inari without any major inclines or declines. The relaxing ride will expose you to the raw parts of the city and the Japanese suburbs. After parking the bike at the shrine entrance, you can begin to make your way up the footpath, which is lined with bountiful carts of delectable street food. The shrine was dedicated to the god of rice and sake – and since the hike to the top takes around two hours, this might be a fitting location to replenish your energy by enjoying some local delicacies and taking a short rest.


The stunning shrine gardens and seemingly never-ending torii gates that repeat in alluring patterns overhead guide visitors up the mountain. The vibrant orange torii tunnel, made up of over 4,000 torii, is the perfect visual backdrop for the kimono-wearing locals and tourists who are making their trek up to the top of the peak. The shrine also features many foxes, which are considered to be messengers for the god of the grains, Inari Ōkami. Standing in the tranquility of the gardens and experiencing the sheer number of torii, you cannot help but be filled with a sense of awe and wonder. It was the perfect ending for my bike tour around Kyoto.


Contributor & Photographer: Mireille Paul

寄稿者&カメラマン: Mireille Paul

Manhole Covers in Japan

In the mid-1900s, Tokyo and other major Japanese cities started implementing new manhole covers. Using textured surfaces to increase traction for passing traffic on rainy days, the new designs were created with both safety and functionality in mind. Not long after the implementation of these new manhole lids, Yasutake Kameda, an official from the Ministry of Construction, was tasked with convincing other Japanese provinces to connect to the main sewage system, which was a costly operation. In order to win over the public, he had a brilliant plan. Yasutake approached all the various municipalities with a proposition that allowed them to design their own manhole covers. His success is evident; throughout the country, turning manhole covers into beautiful pieces of art has become a tradition that’s still alive and well today.


The entire country of Japan now boasts over 6,000 of these custom manhole lid designs. They can be spotted in large metropolises as well as various rural areas. On top of that, there are even multiple museums throughout the country dedicated to manhole covers; some companies have even organized specialized committees that researches and preserves these lids. This cultural phenomena has attracted a devout following, including S. Morita, a photographer who has become well known for finding and documenting these works of art.

日本の大都市だけでなく数々の農村地域には、現在6千個以上の特注マンホールデザインが見られます。さらに国内では、マンホールの蓋のみを集めた専門博物館が多数あるだけでなく、蓋を調査して保管する専門委員会を組織化した企業さえ存在します。この文化的現象は、このような芸術作品の発掘とドキュメント化で著名な写真家、S. Morita氏のような熱心な愛好家を魅了してきました。

In Morita’s photos, the multicolored manhole lids can be seen exploring a wide spectrum of subjects, with animal and plant life, cultural customs, and history being the most common themes. At times, the manhole covers are designed to commemorate certain events or dates. There are even manholes that feature characters from the famous Japanese anime Detective Conan. The designs on certain manhole covers also serve as identifiers for the jurisdiction responsible for maintenance. Others might place more emphasis on functionality and practicality, some feature directions, others might cover up subterranean fire hydrants, and some lids in residential areas even offer directions to nearby emergency shelters by using different colored arrows to indicate how far the shelter is. There are also taboos when it comes to manhole cover art, with an unspoken rule being to not feature portraits of people. Besides portraits, it’s also uncommon to see national shrines and temples on these lids.


The next time you’re in Japan, take notice of the ground when you’re walking about. You just might find yourself standing on a piece of art!


: ~/mrsy


Contributor: Banny Wang
Images Courtesy of S. Morita

: ~/mrsy


寄稿者: Banny Wang
Images Courtesy of S. Morita

ONEQ’s Evocative Illustrations

ONEQ is a Japanese illustrator who’s most well known for her illustrations of vintage pin-up girls. Her drawings seamlessly blend Western and Eastern styles – think 1900s American poster art, with the curvy sexualized female form, mixed together with the flawless skin and delicate features of the females portrayed in Japanese mangas. ONEQ says she’s endlessly fascinated with women and the female body. This fascination is mirrored in all of her work, where she draws captivating images of voluptuous hourglass-shaped women, powerful and seductive. Her illustrations are proud celebrations of femininity and sexuality.


ONEQ was born, raised, and is currently based in Kumamoto, the capital of Kyushu island. As a completely self-taught artist, ONEQ’s love affair with illustration, like most illustrators, can be traced back to her childhood. Mangas were a big part of that childhood. Generally, Japanese manga is separated into different categories, some cater to a female audience and others cater to a male audience. Having an older brother allowed her the opportunity to be exposed to both worlds.


She cites three major influences that pushed her along the path to becoming an illustrator. The first is the famous manga artist Rumiko Takahashi, the illustrator behind Ranma 1/2 and InuYasha, who she says is her biggest influence. The second is Rockin’ Jelly Bean, a famous Japanese pop artist, whose use of colors captivated her and changed the way she looked at how colors could be used. The third is Simon Bisley, a British comic artist that portrays women in equal parts femininity and equal parts strength. All of these influences came together and evolved her artwork into what it is today.


Having just turned thirty-four earlier this year, ONEQ is working full time as a freelance artist, but just recently reallocated one day out of every week to work at her friend’s bar. Her motivations behind this aren’t financial. The bar is stimulating and the atmosphere inspires her art, she says. “Many unique and powerful ladies go there on weekends. Their energy is captivating.” Not a stranger to this lifestyle, she recalls being mixed up in Japan’s night life scene as a teenager. Often missing school, ONEQ would find herself spending time in the more dubious parts of town. Even though she prefers the slow-paced and quiet life in Kumamoto, she considers Japan’s night life to be another aspect of Japanese culture that has influenced her artwork and style. She says, “In that regard, I consider my past to be both good and bad.”


ONEQ’s creation process is a mix of both traditional and modern techniques. She first begins with rough sketches to flesh out the initial concept. Once the idea has been clearly thought out, she will then draw a refined version in monochrome by using mechanical pencils. If the image is intended to be a colored piece of work, it gets scanned and digitally colored in Photoshop. Her pieces that involve color could take upwards of two weeks to fully complete.


Besides only working on paper and computer screens, she has also completed numerous murals and is keen on creating even more in the near future. She says, “I want to create more murals. It would be great if I could create murals in different places all over the world. Shanghai is definitely on my list.” ONEQ elaborates by saying that she doesn’t approach her art with any intentions of being famous; her sense of artistic accomplishment comes from creating artwork that she personally finds meaningful. This sincerity that she approaches all her illustrations with is undoubtedly another aspect of what makes her artwork so alluring.


Website: kotemufu.exblog.jp
Behance: ~/oneq-japan
Facebook: ~/oneq.pinup
Instagram: @negiyakisoba


Contributor: David Yen

ウェブサイト: kotemufu.exblog.jp
Behance: ~/oneq-japan
Facebook: ~/oneq.pinup
Instagram: @negiyakisoba


寄稿者: David Yen

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。