Japan Italy: Far East Film Festival 21 ~ Report

photo credits: fareastfilm.com

"We live on opposite sides of the world and we were afraid that our film would not be understood. But the world speaks a single language: that of love ... ».
We decided to start our article with this phrase by the actress Crisel Consunji after the triumph of the film Still Human at the Far East Film Festival 21. Because this sentence represents the truth, there is only one language that unites the whole world and it is that of love.

photo credits: gacktitalia.com

It is therefore certainly a common thought, that of not being understood, that the Eastern vision of cinema can somehow not be understood by the Western world. The Far East Film Festival has still given light to this world that while it seems so far away from us, it really isn’t and, on the contrary, the similarities are many.

The film Still Human, directed by Oliver Chan and the lead actor Wong, who had already been awarded the Golden Lifetime Career Award, won the Far East Film Festival 21 and the critics' award. In second place we find the Chinese black comedy Dying to survive by Wen Muye and in third place the Korean Extreme Job by Lee Byoung-Heon.


photo credits: scmp.com

Melancholic by emerging director Tanaka Seiji won the White Mulberry for first feature films while Fly me to the Saitama by the great director Takeuchi Hideki won the MYmovies award.


photo credits: mymovies.it


photo credits: mymovies.it

photo credits: aficfestival.it

The Far East Film Festival 21 ended with exorbitant numbers: 9 days of programming. 77 films, 3 world premieres, 14 debuts, 60,000 thousand spectators, over 20,000 participants in city events and 1600 accredited (journalists, teachers, students, ambassadors of other festivals), coming from over 20 countries: Italy, Holland, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, United States, France, Belgium, Switzerland, China, Canada, Spain, Hong Kong, Japan, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Norway, South Korea, Czech Republic, Brazil, Sweden and Serbia. Over 100 appointments including the Cosplay Contest, with over 20 thousand presences. We must not forget the very active Facebook community of the festival with 30 thousand fans involved.

photo credits: japanitalybridge.com

It was not only the Festival of the East but also of the whole world. Attendance came from anywhere.
Japan Italy Bridge attended as a media and we were able to witness an aggregation of people, including film buffs, experts, enthusiasts, journalists who were not afraid of the rain and the cold and enthusiastically participated in all the events and the projections.
A great enthusiasm that was also noticed in the talks held by the directors and actors, huge participation and curiosity to know how the works were born and how they came to life.

photo credits: japanitalybridge.com

As far as we are concerned, with GACKT ITALIA, one of our projects, we followed the creation, the rise and the great success of Fly me to the Saitama step by step, translating and sharing articles, interviews and videos for months now. It was, therefore, a great thrill to be able to see the film we talked about for so long here in Italy, to hear the audience's laughter and the silences in intense moments. It was a bit like seeing the complete evolution of a creature after having followed it since its birth. Great excitement also in the interview to Takeuchi Hideki, director of the movie, that we were able to realize who with humility, sympathy and professionalism shared with us his point of view enthusiastically.

photo credits: japanitalybridge.com

photo credits: japanitalybridge.com

This Festival is the demonstration that aggregation is possible, that one can live in serenity despite the different cultures. That sometimes a different thought can open the mind and make you discover new horizons and maybe become even more interesting than what you can have seen or heard so far. This festival had not only much to show, but also a lot to teach. We look forward to seeing you at the next edition, always in Udine, for the Far East Film Festival 22, from April 24th to May 2nd, 2020! Do not miss it, it will surely be an experience that will make you come back home enriched and why not ... even more in love with this world so distant and yet so close that is the Far East.


Bringing Japan to Italy: episode 04 – Takeuchi Hideki

On the occasion of the Far East Film Festival, we had the honor and pleasure of being able to interview Takeuchi Hideki, director of "Fly me to the Saitama" (翔んで埼玉 - Tonde Saitama), presented in Italy during the festival for its European premiere!

Takeuchi Hideki made his debut working for Fuji Television and in 1996 he directed the first of his series for this TV station. In 1998 he won the award for best director at the Television Drama Academy Awards for "Just a Little More, God" but the awards won didn't stop there.

His movie debut came in 2009 with the dramatic two-part musical comedy Nodame Cantabile. Takeuchi Hideki continues to alternate between the big and small screen with Thermae Romae and two television series, passing with great ease from the historical drama to the brilliant comedy.

Thermae Romae has achieved such a resounding success in the Japanese box office that Takeuchi-san created the sequel, Thermae Romae II, released on April 26, 2014 and previewed after a week at the 16th Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy.

This year, the director returned to the Far East Film Festival with "Fly me to the Saitama", a brilliant and somewhat surreal comedy about the parochialism that exists between Saitama and Tokyo, starring singer and actor GACKT-san and actress Fumi Nikaido, supported by other famous names within the cast. Fly me to the Saitama, also won the MyMovies.com award for best film acclaimed by the public.

The one with Takeuchi-san was an interesting and entertaining interview that tells the backstage of the film, curiosities and perspectives for future collaboration between Italy and Japan. Enjoy the video and we are curious to know your feedback!


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Bringing Japan to Italy: episode 03 – RIADO space design

During the Milan Design Week we had the pleasure of attending a very special exhibition and also the pleasure of interviewing two Japanese artists present in the Lombard capital. We are talking about Sachiko Hiroiuchi, designer at RIADO space design, and Ayumi Shima, designer of fabrics directly from Japan.

Born in Fukui, Japan, Sachiko Hiroiuchi lives and works in Osaka where in her studio RIADO focuses on design for shops, restaurants, offices, apartments, and in the field of interior industrial design. Her activity is focused on the design of furniture, lighting and furnishing accessories.

As a designer, she works alongside a research activity on materials where she has a great sensitivity in the artistic field. And it is precisely here that she develops themes on the paper of the raw material such as "Kozo", "Mitsumata" and "Gampi" with themes focusing on traditional Japanese craftsmanship where each work is made with great care.

The textures you will see in the video are the work of Ayumi Shima, a Japanese artist and textile designer, born in Kyoto, Japan, where she lives and works.
Specialized in the field of textile design, she develops artistic themes with specific research in the artistic pictorial field. Her particular interest is the color related to the textile material and her works are characterized by variations in colors and transparencies related to the material.

In her artistic baggage, she does not forget her tradition and, attracted by older techniques such as the Japanese press, Ayumi works with great sensitivity with references to nature such as natural light, flowers, trees, the forest.

Sunbeams Leaves

With this exhibition "SUNBEAMS LEAVES" the authors Sachiko Horiuchi and Ayumi Shima propose an installation featuring paper and fabric interpreting the four seasons.
Creating a path that accompanies the visitor in exploring the transparencies created by the "ray of light" on materials, the protagonists of this exhibition are traditional Japanese paper and delicate colored fabrics. These materials dance together with the light that is filtered transmitting the color of the sky, water, earth, but also the color of the forest and nature where light is the main character.

The exhibition took place at AD GALLERY focusing on specific themes such as what light and color offer and was the result of a long research work by the artists.

Now we leave you to our video interview and we are curious about your feedback! Enjoy the show!


Japan Travel: Tokyo Rainbow Pride

Spring is here and the Golden Week celebration is upon Japan. This is a significant point in time for the people of Japan, but it is especially so for the LGBT community residing there because it is when this year’s edition of Tokyo Rainbow Pride (TRP2019) will be held as well!

Photo credit: tokyorainbowpride.com

Tokyo Rainbow Pride originated from the very first LGBT movement in Japan was held 25 years ago on 28 August 1994. Back then, around a thousand people gathered to march with the rainbow flag from Shinjuku Central Park to Shibuya’s Miyashita Park in the Tokyo Lesbian & Gay Parade. Since then, it has gone on for almost every year, eventually changing its name to Tokyo Rainbow Pride (TRP) in 2007.

With the theme of “I Have Pride”, this year’s TRP is slated to be the biggest of all, with a record number of 52 groups having pre-registered for the event. Furthermore, the main event, the colourfully flamboyant parade, is free for all to participate in this year. The parade will start at 2 p.m. on Sunday, 28 April, and it is a 3km march in the area of Harajuku and Shibuya, so if you’re going to be in Tokyo this weekend, do watch out for the crowds, or, better yet, show your support and join in!

Photo credit: mainichi.jp

After the Parade concludes, the Pride Parade After-Party/Pride Carnival will begin, lasting through the night at Aisotope Lounge in Shinjuku Nichome, Tokyo’s own gay district. This is, however, not the end of the festivities.

The full run of TRP2019 starts on 27 April and lasts all the way until 6 May, ending with the Pride Recovery Party at TRUNK(HOTEL). It is without a doubt that there will be many more activities which celebrate love being held during this entire week. The full list of events can be found here: tokyorainbowpride.com/week/

Companies like PlayStation, AIG, Visitaly, SEGA, Spotify, BuzzFeed Japan and many others are supporting the event as sponsors and partners as well and looking at how much the event has grown over the years, it can be said that support for the LGBT community and sexual minorities in Tokyo, at least, is growing. And that, for sure, is a heartening thing to see in today’s world.

For more information, visit Tokyo Rainbow Pride’s official website tokyorainbowpride.com

 

Photo credit: tokyorainbowpride.com


Japan Italy: Far East Film Festival

There is a very special event from April 26 to May 4, we are talking about the Far East Film Festival, an event dedicated to Asian cinema that will fill the city of Udine and the Teatro Nuovo "Giovanni da Udine".

At its twenty-first edition, the Far East Film Festival 2019 once again follows the Silk Road. Opening on April 26 with a world premiere will be Birthday, directly from Korea. The story is about the sinking of the Sewol ferry which marked a "before" and an "after" in the history of South Korea. The film tells the pain of two parents who lost their son and a nation that lost more than 300. It tells the present that, despite everything, becomes tomorrow. Always. With Birthday the FEFF pays tribute to that enormous wound (human, political, social) so difficult to heal.

Someone who remembers the very first FEFF is surely one of the super guests of this year, who in 1999 accompanied the legendary Beast Cops by Gordon Chan-Dante Lam to Udine and returned here to accompany two films: My Name Ain't Suzie di Angie Chan, with its the now distant debut title (1985), and the magnificent Still Human by Oliver Siu Kuen Chan. We are, of course, talking about Anthony Wong, the star and legend from Hong Kong, who will collect the Golden Mulberry for his career joining the names of other giants such as Jackie Chan, Joe Hisaishi and Brigitte Lin in the Udine hall of fame.

For an extraordinary Hong Kong icon, an extraordinary Chinese icon: the beautiful Yao Chen, diva (the media like to compare her to Angelina Jolie) and legend (80 million followers), great actress and tireless activist, who will take the stage at FEFF to present the social thriller Lost, Found by Lue Yue (produced by Feng Xiaogang). A vivid reflection on civil rights and the condition of women in contemporary China that finds in Yao Chen the "politically" perfect protagonist. Time Magazine has included her among the 100 most influential people in the world.

With 76 titles on the program (51 in competition) from 12 countries, a retrospective, a monograph, a tribute to the new independent Korean cinema, 2 “strange couples”, a world-premier restoration and more than 100 thematic events organized in the heart of Udine, the Far East Film Festival is the perfect setting for a new connection between Asia and Europe and more specifically, Italy.

A real "island of cinema" where cinema is not only celebrated - 3 world premieres, 12 international, 18 European - but it is also declined to the future. This 2019 marks the choice of 15 projects chosen for Focus Asia, the Festival market, and 10 for Ties That Bind, the international Asia/Europe workshop. Over 200 industry professionals are expected in Udine, from 36 countries, and there is an important innovation to highlight: the Co-Production Day, set for May 1st. A large working table that will gather European and Asian filmmakers and producers, to analyze and develop the Italy/China co-production agreement of 2018.

Today's films and the ones of “tomorrow”, movies that speak the language of current affairs, often directly from the news, starting with the collective story Ten Years (after Hong Kong, the narrative axis moves to Japan and Thailand) and with 14 first works included in the line-up. Films that sometimes investigate the same theme from completely different angles, like the three wonderful senile ballads Only The Cat Knows by Syoutarou Kobayasi, Romang by Lee Chang-Geun, Heaven's Waiting by Dan Villegas: a Japanese, a Korean, a Filipino. How does the perception of reality change from country to country?

A fascinating "game of differences" that does not end here and not only in the long-awaited Korean remake of Perfect Strangers (by Intimate Strangers by JQ Lee), thanks to which the FEFF 21 built on a special segment, The Odd Couples, edited by mister Roger Garcia. Four “strange couples” of cinema twins where the East is measured with its western “double” and vice versa (My Name Ain't Suzie by Angie Chan/The World of Suzie Wong by Richard Quine and City On Fire by Ringo Lam/Le Hyenas by Quentin Tarantino, a tribute from the Festival to the recently deceased dear Hong Kong friend.

If the contemporary Korean cinema selected by the Festival will range from the epic action (The Great Battle by Kim Kwang-Sik) to the police comedy (the irresistible Extreme Job by Lee Byeong-heon), passing by the most entertaining zombies of the year (The Odd Family by Lee Min-jae), even Japan, ready to enter the New Era - Reiwa -, will enjoy spacing between genres. From the unmissable documentary Kampai! Sake Sisters by Mirai Konishi, in Udine as a world premiere, up to the surprising Melancholic by Seiji Tanaka (one of the 14 debut features we have already talked about), passing by the European premiere of Fly me to the Saitama (Tonde Saitama) by Takeuchi Hideki a comedy film based on famous manga of the 80s with the same name written and illustrated by Mineo Maya, Every Day on Good Day by Tatsushi Omori that we can consider the last, beautiful, greeting of Kirin Kiki.

China will be represented, as always, by very strong titles (we mention Dying to Survive by Wen Muye, which puts the spotlight on the market for drugs for terminally ill patients, and The Rib by Zhang Wei, an unexpected family transgender-themed drama), while Hong Kong will field all the creative energy of the “old school” thrillers (Project Gutenberg by Felix Chong) as well as all the subversive force of the independent scene (Fruit Chan's Three Husbands), without forgetting the return of Herman Yau (A Home With a View).

And on the Southeast Asian front, where genre cinema dominates (in Udine, among the various titles, we will see the excellent Malaysian horror film Two Sisters), there will be two guests that the audience will particularly enjoy: Chito Rono and Joyce Bernal, dear and affectionate friends of the Festival.

A network of friends, old and new, literally scattered around the world, a magic circle that opens and closes year after year. It means getting away from your center, traveling, moving, exploring, raising the threshold of curiosity and then returning with something new inside your eyes. A precious different look, this is the Far East Film Festival 2019. We are waiting for you!

How to Participate?

You can watch the screenings by purchasing a ticket or by accreditation.

The accreditation is recommended to all those who have a professional or cultural interest in Asian cinema and wish to attend as many screenings as possible at an advantageous price.

Information

The screenings start at 9.00 am and end late at night. The program includes two screenings in the morning, two in the afternoon and two or three films at the end of the day, in the evening.
Entry is forbidden to children under 18, as films are not subject to Italian censorship visas.

Where to buy tickets

Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine & Cinema Centrale
Morning shows (weekdays): € 6.00 per film (or 10.00 for both films).
Morning shows (holidays): € 10.00 per film (or 15.00 for both films).
Afternoon performances (weekdays): € 6.00 per film (or 10.00 for both films).
Afternoon performances (holidays and pre-holidays): € 10.00 per film (or € 15.00 for both films).
Evening shows: € 10.00 per film (or € 15.00 for both films).
Night show: € 6.00.
A daily ticket will also be available at a cost of € 25.00 which allows you to attend all the shows on the day of issue.

Presale: at the Teatro Nuovo ticket office

Opening time:
Friday 26 April: from 11.00 am until the beginning of the last screening of the day
from Saturday 27th April: from 8.30 am until the beginning of the last screening of the day

The presale for the projections of the following days is suspended during the movie start times. For information (from 24 April): tel. 0432-248484


Bringing Japan to Italy: episode 02 – Masami Suda

Here we are with the second episode of our series Bringing Japan to Italy, where we interview people that help spreading Japanese culture in Italy and in the world.

After the huge success of the first episode dedicated to Alberto Moro, today we share with you our talk with Masami Suda, character designer of many animes such as Hokuto no Ken (Kenshiro), dr Slump & Arale, Yo-Kai Watch, Mach Go Go Go, Candy Candy, Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman F, Ai Shite Knight and many other works that have defined the childhood of hundreds of adults of today.

Enjoy the video and we are curious to read your comments!

 


Japan Italy Bridge interviews: KUDEN - Part 2

Here we are again with the second part of our interview with Takahiro Sato, CEO of Gerbera design Inc. and KUDEN. If you haven't read the first part yet, click here to read it! Without further ado, let's move on into the rest of what Takahiro Sato shared with us.

 

READ PART 1

ーー I believe that there are difficulties to overcome when it comes to growing a global presence. Can you tell us about them?

I feel that expanding the business while overcoming different cultures, customs, and interpretations is a very difficult challenge. During these few years, I’ve come to realise that there are 3 main points while I’ve been trying out different methods to actually expand my business overseas. These are what I focus on while working on my business:

1. A shared vision based on universal values
I think that what’s important to achieve international success in this era of information overload is to come out with a vision that is based on the brand’s world view, values, and its reason for being. This is vital for the brand to turn customers who share its values into its fans.

What’s crucial in this is to focus on ‘universal values’ which transcend differences that countries and cultures may have between each other. I feel that this is no longer an era where we should aim to become a big business that mass produces and aims to be loved by the masses. I believe that what’s essential to expanding my business overseas is to be something that will be loved by people who shares our values for a long time in the years to come.

2. Transparency
I think that consumers these days seek transparency. I’ve had long years of experience in the advertising and design for a games and toys maker, and I’ve felt the change in the role of advertising and design that came with the change in consumers.

To me, the original purpose of advertising and design was to be a ‘means of communication’ that informs consumers about the essence of target thing or service but in this era of high economic growth, consumption itself is king. In these past few years, the trend for advertising is to create what is considered as good, consumable advertising with fanciful packaging that has to be further emphasised with words and visuals on top of the original goods or services. However, I think it can be said that this has already become a dated way of thinking.

Is the price appropriate? Is the quality as advertised? Is this something I need? Is the way the product is presented or provided true? I believe that questions like these are what consumers in this era ask and this is what they have come to value and consider as important.

3. Providing an experience
This is an era when all information is readily available on the internet. It can be said that people living in this modern era are constantly showered with information which they get almost immediately, be rich content from videos and photos, or simulations in VR and AR. Simply coming into contact with a large amount of information can make a person feel as if they know everything, but that doesn’t satisfy a person’s innate desire to be emotionally moved by things.

There is a phrase in Zen ideology that says “spiritual enlightenment only comes through personal experience”. Here, I would like to quote Takuan Sōhō, a major figure in the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism who was featured in the manga Vagabond, written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue who is best known for the manga series Slam Dunk.

Takuan Sōhō spoke of the importance of personal experiences metaphorically, saying, “You won’t actually become wet even if you explain what water is, neither will you actually turn hot even if you explain what fire is. It is the same as being unable to properly understand what they are unless you touch real water or actual fire. It is the same as how talking about food will not make hunger go away”.

“Seeking experience is fundamental of humans”

Already, there is a trend where people are seeking real experiences. I feel that aside from information, people have begun to seek value and consumption of ‘experiences’. Going forward, I expect that things will be further bi-polarised and the affluent will increasingly seek not virtual reality but instead real life experiences, and it is with this desire in mind that I started my business.

All in all, these are the 3 points that I consider while growing our global presence.

 

ーー Do you personally think that Japan is attractive to Westerners?

I can’t give a sweeping statement, but in my opinion, it is a ‘yes’. It can be said that Japan is a country that Westerners who have an interest in or are in the profession of food, architecture, traditional crafts, and arts would want to visit at least once in their lives.

Nikko, the place where I was born is also one of the bases of KUDEN, is a place with numerous local shrines being recognised as World Heritage Sites and three of our most significant buildings are Futarasan Shrine, Toshogu Shrine, and Rinnoji Temple. With a large land area of 51 hectares in assets and an additional 373 hectares of Buffer Zone. Nikko is a place where people’s faith comes together with the majesty of nature.

On Mt. Futarasan (Mt. Nantaisan) is Futarasan Shrine which was built to worship the various mountain gods, while Mt. Nikko Rinnoji Temple is a place that has more than 1200 years of history, and Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine itself is a magnificent masterpiece built by genius artists and architects of 17th century Edo.

Chuzenji Lake in Okunikko is a place where many embassy villas and houses belonging to different countries are located. People used to often gather in Nikko in the past for summits and yacht races, and it could be said that the nature of this locality has always been ‘international’. Even now, the Italian Embassy House Memorial Park, a wonderful building that symbolises the fusion of Italy and Japan, still remains. Perhaps one day, I’ll hold a KUDEN fashion show there.

Speaking of craftsmanship, when I first established KUDEN, I teamed up with artisans who are skilled in ‘Kumiko’, a technique used to create intricate, wooden, functional artwork, to design a project called ‘KUMIKO Laptop Board’. This was KUDEN’s very first product, but because it was something that had to be hand made, one by one, by elderly craftsmen, it was very time consuming to make and cost a lot to produce, resulting in it not selling well. However, this project resulted in me getting interviewed by various media outlets and even gaining attention on Reddit where people thought that the Japanese craftsmen’s handiwork was so fine and elaborate that it could have only been done with a laser cutter. They couldn’t believe that it was all made by hand. This led me to believe that if someone likes architecture and craftsmanship, they are also bound to be interested in this country called Japan.

I also believe that there are a lot of people who are familiar with Japanese games and animation. One other base of KUDEN’s is Tokyo’s Kichijoji. Here, the Ghibli Museum is located near to Inokashira Park. As someone who once created games and was in charge of game advertising in a game-making company, this is something that I feel deeply about. I do hope that people will come to Japan and get a taste of Japanese games, manga, animation, and other areas of local pop culture for themselves.

Another one of Japan’s charms is the rich variety of “food”. The skills exhibited by Japanese chefs with their sushi, tempura, and other cooking skills, along with the craftsmen who support them with the forging of cooking utensils for them like knives, are not to be missed. The people are kind. But I guess most of them can only speak Japanese. Despite that, I believe that if you muster up the courage to try and communicate with them, you’ll come to find that there are a lot of kind people around you.

Japan’s nature changes its expression from season to season. I do hope that you will try to visit us at least once.

 

ーー On the other hand, what do you think of Italy as a market?

Both Italy and Japan are countries who each have strong national brands. Japanese do have a preference for things “Made in Italy” too because the impression that we have of Italy is that things with such a label are those that are of as high quality as those labelled with “Made in Japan”. Personally, I feel that Italy and Japan actually have a lot in common. The people of both countries value craftsmanship, and love food and arts as well.

There was a period of time when I was unable to consider or call myself a 'designer', and during that time, I borrowed the word 'progettista' from Italian and gave myself that title. The Italian way of making things has always been one that felt appropriate to me.

I am presently designing leather sandals under the motif of Japanese style, and I could not be happier if I would be able to use ‘Made in Italy’ leather for this. I have a dream of one day opening up KUDEN haute couture boutique in Milan and have customers make clothes out of fabrics that they pick out. I would be truly honoured more and more people in fashionable Italy wore my clothes.

 

ーー Going back to KUDEN, what are your future plans and goals?

KUDEN aims to become a project that ties the employment of people with disabilities with artisan professions, like those in garment production or woodworking, through an “Apparel Brand + Employment of The Disabled” model. The final composition of the company will include the following components: KUDEN Apparel Brand, design office, garment and woodwork production, distribution hub to overseas, and company dormitory where people with disabilities can live in. To reach this future goal of ours, I am now focused on expanding KUDEN by TAKAHIRO SATO overseas.

My beloved son is the reason why I am to be “a manager that highly values people”. As mentioned before, I have once ended up neglecting my health by working too hard and as a result folded my company. I was a no-good businessman who caused trouble for my staff and my customers and ended up being separated from my beloved family back then. Despite all of that, to support my son’s future, I restarted my journey as an entrepreneur and now I also continue on for the sake of the staff of Gerbera Design who lent me the strength to hold on to this dream.

As someone who has had such an experience, there are a few things that I keep in mind as I take on this challenge again.

The first point is the creation of an operating foundation that doesn’t rely on things like grants or handouts. The second point is to create a foundation that will not be influenced by the economies of the foreign currencies that we trade in.
These two points are measures that will aid enhance the going concern of the company. These came to mind because when I was with the major toy-making company, there was a time when I was involved with the employment of people with disabilities there, and I’ve gone through the painful experience of closing offices and dismissing people because of company policy changes. At the same time, considering Japan’s declining population numbers and the recessive economy, relying on Japan’s tax money and the domestic economy to run a business will probably bankrupt it too.

The third point is the desire to nurture not only disabled persons but also youths who wish to support them and such endeavours.
This is largely out of my personal ego. I cannot raise my adorable son with him close to me, but I dream of being able to work together with him in future. My son, Takeru is only 8. Even if I pass away, his life will go on. I do all this to minimise the possibility of the company collapsing or its direction changing after I pass, as my son can only receive support from someone or the country. As such, while I am still around, I’ll foot taxes for him and help the younger generation, and then entrust them with things after I am gone.

The fourth point is the desire to increase the number of work options for the disabled as much as possible so that they can do what they enjoy doing.
During my involvement in recruiting disabled persons, I had the opportunity to observe things and saw them baking bread, folding clothes in the backyard, cleaning up, and so on. I came to realise that there is work that they can do, and now, instead of having my son and other children like him only think about how cool designers, programmers, craftsmen, and other professionals are, I want to let them cherish their aspirations and give them the chance to be in any profession they want.

From primary industries like forestry and agriculture, craftsmanship and design, and finally to overseas sales. We are small, but we are in the midst of building a well-rounded business. In terms of craftsmanship, we have already introduced the employment of disabled persons to my friends who are artisans who are experiencing a lack of successors. KUDEN is expanding overseas to support this and I intend to persevere and spend the rest of my life working to create a place where my son and other children like him can work with joy.

 

ーー We do hope that you will be able to fulfil your dreams and achieve your goals too. Lastly, please leave a comment for our readers.

KUDEN has a dream. In the pursuit of the happiness of our staff, our customers, and our stakeholders, we continue to work on creating jobs by connecting disabled persons with craftsmen through design. We bring designs that can be loved for more than 10 years into the world to change it, and we work hard towards becoming a brand that will be loved for a hundred years. All the effort that we have put in resulted in our first line of clothes which we want modern day Samurai to wear.

To me, “wearing” clothes is like putting on a second skin to me. Clothes symbolise the era in which its wearer lives in and they are like an expression of a person “wearing” their values, desires, and hopes for the future.

In this era that we live in, things come and go very quickly. In my daily struggles as a businessman and a designer and a father as well, there are times when I succumb under the workload and the pressure and start to feel disheartened. There are also times when I lose sight of my path and my values too. Doesn’t everyone feel that way sometimes?

In such moments, wearing these clothes, we’ll straighten our backs and harbouring the spirit of the Samurai with dignified appearances, rise up motivated with the resolution to keep the faith and follow through with all our hearts. I wanted these clothes to be outfits that can express this version of you and me to the people around us, and thus I named them ‘Samurai’.

Be it in Japanese animation, manga, or historical films, I’m sure that everyone has seen them at least once before; Samurai who live life by staying firm to their convictions.

“I am just a strong, kind, and resolute Samurai. A modern-day Samurai.”
You will become a modern-day Samurai.

We present to you the Samurai Mode Jacket, a piece of clothing that expresses your self like a second skin, that can be worn casually on normal days or for formal occasions and even in important business settings. This was designed with the hope that it will be clothing that is desirable to people of all ages, genders, and nationalities around the world who want to live by standing fast to their values and beliefs, who are working hard for their loved ones in this busy, fast-paced world. I believe that when you wear it, you will be able to feel the power in the design of these clothes.

Going forward, I intend to continue designing and producing clothes that bring joy to everyone with this conviction. We may be a small brand, but I will keep fighting with the Samurai spirit.

 


And that was our intimate interview with CEO Takahiro Sato! Having read it, how do you feel? What do you think? Do share your comments with us on our Facebook page!

Also, before you go, do know that the Samurai Mode Jacket mentioned in the interview is now available in their online store alongside their newly released Samurai Mode Shirt! They do also offer gorgeous vintage Kimono and Haori in their store, so do make sure you check it out! You never know what you may find!

- Contact -
E-mail: support@ku-den.jp

- Links -
Website: https://ku-den.jp/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kudenjp/
Instagram: KUDEN by TAKAHIRO SATO | haoru by KUDEN


Japan Italy: Nendo shop @ TENOHA Milano

It's quite well known in Milan, that the most frantic week of the year is about to start, the Salone del Mobile is finally here. The city is going to be transformed into the European capital of design from April 9th to 14th and in these days it won't be rare to attend various events dedicated to the world of interior design and architecture.

As you know, Japan Italy Bridge takes care of promoting all those companies and events that move between Italy and Japan and that help the spreading of the culture and connections between the two nations. today we are here to present you a wonderful initiative by TENOHA Milano.

Nendo x TENOHA

photo credit: Akihiro Yoshida

The Japanese-inspired concept store is, in fact, ready to welcome an exclusive installation by Nendo, a highly acclaimed Japanese Design studio led by architect Oki Sato, at the 2019 Fuorisalone. But not just this! This wonderful collaboration will be deepened in the &|SHOP area, where more than 100 objects designed by Nendo will be on sale.

photo credit: Masayuki Hayashi

In the & | SHOP space it will also be possible to win small designer objects with the famous Japanese game gacha gacha. Visitors will have the chance to win small sketches distributed by an automatic machine randomly. Ready to collect them all?

photo credit: Akihiro Yoshida

Nendo and TENOHA are linked together in the &|SHOP area, where every day, a rich selection of objects created by the Japanese studio will be on sale, starting from today, April 8th!

Among T-shirts, tote bags, limited editions, the very special Gloo glue and much more, it is possible to buy many objects of Japanese design and high quality, directly from TENOHA Milano.

Breeze of Light

The special project that Nendo, in participation with Daikin, will bring to TENOHA during the Milan Design Week is called "Breeze of Light".

The installation is inspired by one of the four natural elements, the air, which with its characteristics of imperceptibility and invisibility will act as a leitmotif for Nendo's fantastic work. Taking advantage of the peculiarities of lights and colors, it will be possible to witness a suggestive and concrete atmosphere.

nendo / Oki Sato

Born in Toronto, Canada, Oki Sato studied architecture at Waseda University in Tokyo and established his headquarters in the same city in 2002. The Nendo studio's portfolio ranges from product design, interior design, architecture, graphic design, and corporate branding.

To arrive in Milan, Nendo must wait until 2005, but it is precisely here that a rich period of enormous development begins for the company and the designer himself. A path that will lead him to be a lecturer at Waseda University in 20125, to be the youngest designer to win the "designer of the year" award from the magazines "Wallpaper" and "Elle Deco International Design Award", but not just this.

In 2013 he was chosen as the "guest of honor" at the Stockholm international furniture fair, the largest design exhibition in northern Europe, but also in Toronto during the "Interior Design Show". Two years later, in 2015, he had the opportunity to present "Colorful shadows" at the Japan pavilion during the Milan EXPO along with many other successes that continue to this day, including having won the "Designer of the Year 2019" by AW Architektur & amp; Wohnen magazine and the "Industrial Designer" at the Design Anthology Awards 2019.


The installation can be visited in the spaces of & | DISCOVER from Wednesday 10 to Sunday 14 April 2019, from 9 to 19, in via Vigevano 18 at TENOHA Milan. In the TENOHA Milano space & SHOP, it will be possible to buy all the brand new and exclusive design objects signed by Nendo starting from 8 April 2019, from 8.30 to 21. See you there!