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DC

GOT A BOX FULL OF CUTE DCs FOR SHOOTING TODAY
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JUN WATANABE

Jun Watanabe is the art director for the virtual city zozotwon, an online city that somewhat replicates the Harajuku area with the top brands and clothing stores selling through their website. As of 2010, the company is worth 620 million Euro, having a monopoly on the e-commerce streetwear market.
Jun Watanabe is also an independent designer who makes toys, apparel designs, characters, and of course sneakers for companies such as Pro-keds, UBIQ and MAD FOOT! His designs are deliriously pop, colorful and cute.


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RUYZ

RYUZ is a sneaker brand that uses vehemently Japanese themes in their kicks. Drawing from traditional Japanese culture, and employing motifs such as Buddhist gods, and family crests, each pair of sneakers is laden with the brand’s love of Japanese culture. We talk to Tomoyuki Nishibe, the representative director of RYUZ.
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Hisashi Tenmyouya


Went on yet anther mission to the studio of Hisashi Tenmyouya. He is one of the rising stars of the contemporary art scene, and his work is a fantastic, hybrid mix of traditional Japanese art, and street culture- what he calls neo-nihonga.

His work is a fusion of traditional art, anime, subculture references, gangs, family crests, sports, graffiti, nature, sex, violence, and uikyo-e, all seamlessly blended together. The subjects he focuses on are a reflection of his disparate interests, and talking to him- this guy knows a lot!! Very intense conversation.
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Mita Sneakers


Famed for both his formidable collection of kicks, and his extensive knowledge on the industry, Kunii from Mita sneakers does not disappoint. His interview is enough to base a book on, and he does, indeed own 2000 pairs of sneakers, as well as a pair of pumas with his name embossed in them as a present from the company. Mita sneakers is one of the premiere places to buy kicks in Japan, starting off as a geta store. Kunii has witnessed every sneaker craze in Tokyo, and instigated many trends with his numerous collaborations.
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stars & stripes


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Daytime: continued our Converse love. Nighttime: Sisen is an industrial/ techno DJ who is famous in the underground for his completely flamboyant style, and is probably the most incredible looking guy at any club. His potentially fatal shoes just fit the sneaker category, -how he managed to ride his bike from one side of Shinjuku to another in them remains a mystery.
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Converse

We love the timelessness of  Converse sneakers, and we will express our love quite thoroughly in the custom kicks section of the book.
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Sneaker Wolf

We were pleasantly surprised to discover Sneaker Wolf (nice moniker!) who collaborates with various sneaker companies,- all his designs are infused with an inadvertently Japanese flavor, and are perfect for our book.  His Ueno inspired Nikes are engraved with laser cut sakura, and the New Balance collabos are influenced by manga such as Gundam.
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Tigarah


Tigarah is a baille funk emcee and producer that found out about the raw, sexy, beats of Brazil's favelas from her Brazilian political science class mates during her college days. Instead of the smut ridden lyrics of typical baille funk, Tigarah raps in both English in Japanese about society at large, and is larger than life, both on and off stage. One of the hottest talents in the underground club scene, we were lucky to shoot her before she heads out to the UK til the end of the year.
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Sige&Feebee

Sige and Feebee are two of the most talented people KicksJapan has as friends. Sige does cool, obviously street inspired paintings, and does commissions for a plethora of street, skate, surf and snowboard companies. Feebee's girls are chic, vehemently sexy, and influenced by ukiyo-e. We went and visited them in Yokohama and look forward to seeing their contributions to the book! x
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LU rainy shoot

Pole dancing is a huge craze in Japan, and Lu Nagata was the first person to start a school in Tokyo. Stunningly beautiful and talented, she performs regularly in clubs and events.
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DAINIPPON TYPE ORGANIZATION

Dainippon Type Organization are a duo of experimental graphic designers who make playful projects based on Japanese typography. Having done various commissions for Nike, we visited their office to see some of their work- clever, innovative and with a quintessentially Japanese flavor, the duo (Hidechika and Testuya Tsukada) also give hilarious interviews.

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Hifana

Shot breakbeat maestros Hifana (Juicy and Keizomachine) at their studio, which was also home to a bevy of scarab beetles which they are also breeding. They recently did a sneaker ad with Nike and WK Tokyo,check it out below.

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Dopesac

Dopesac is a graffiti veteran, and a real purist when it comes to staying true to the streets. Socially, and  politically conscious, he always gives hardcore interviews.
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Mizuno Kenichiro

Kenichiro Mizuno is a painter/ CG artist/VJ/ illustrator that does brilliant, although somewhat confusing, anime inspired works. His designs can also be seen on various apparel company's fabrics on their clothing and sneakers.
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Ryo the Skywalker


You wouldn't imagine it, but Japan has a hot dancehall/ reggae scene, and Osaka native musician/ producer Ryo the Skywalker  http://www.bushhunter.jp/ is one of the prominent figures helping to popularize this scene in Japan. We shot Ryo who was performing with Major Lazer to a packed, completely mental club, and backstage with Diplo. Fantastic performer, and incidentally very photogenic, Ryo has also done two collaborations with Nike (the Courthouse Low and High).
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Tokyo kicksdrifters