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Tokyo fashion after the earthquake and a long hot summer

Tokyo fashion after the earthquake and a long hot summer

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The March 11 earthquake which unleashed the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Fukushima certainly hit the economy in northeast Japan, Kanto region, and other surrounding areas.  Companies in other parts of Japan were badly hit because many production lines were based in northeast Japan and blackouts and power shortages created untold problems.

Of course during the devastating events of March 11 and the following days all emphasis was on the tragic death toll and trying to find people who were covered by the mass of debris. 

The radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant also created panic and many foreign nationals, companies, embassies, and so forth; relocated or left temporarily because of the fear factor and mass uncertainty which was generated by the nuclear issue.

Several months later and the nuclear crisis is still ongoing in Fukushima but at a much lower level because of containment policies. Therefore, the fear factor in Tokyo appears to be over and embassies which were closed have re-opened and normality is returning to most sectors.

Obviously, the situation in northeast Japan remains problematic because while the economic recovery is starting to impact on areas hit the most it will still take a long time to readjust.  Also, certain sectors, like the fisheries, remain to be hit hard and the nuclear issue in Fukushima will continue to hinder this sector and the same applies to areas surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

However, turning back to Tokyo then it is clear that this city is in full swing and the fashion sector is starting to pick up again. 

In late 2010 the economy of Japan was starting to show signs of a recovery and this was maintained in the first few months of 2011.  Therefore, strong sales in December, 2010, were announced at many luxury retailers throughout Tokyo and the fashion sector on a whole was optimistic about a positive 2011.

This was all cut short by the devastating events of March 11 but now optimism is returning to Tokyo and with the long hot summer on its way then a new vibrancy is also picking up. 

Companies like 6%DOKIDOKI took their fashion designs to North America and acted with compassion and care and Sebastian Masuda was the brainchild behind the Mighty Harajuku Project.  Therefore, 6%DOKIDOKI, and other fashion companies which supported the Mighty Harajuku Project; were raising funds for northeast Japan alongside helping local clients and showing an image of positivity despite the despair which was being felt at the time.

Today if you visit buzzing places in Tokyo like Ebisu, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shinjuku, and other trendy areas, then it is clear that fashion companies are attracting shoppers.

In Lumine in Ikebukuro on the west side you have fantastic displays of elegant and exquisite fashion companies.  Smacky Glam (SmackyGlam) and many other fashion boutiques have an array of luxury products whereby you have high quality fabrics alongside fantastic color schemes and designs.

Department stores which have been in the doldrums for a long time apart from the odd period have also announced strong April sales compared to the slump in March following the events of the March 11 earthquake.  Hankyu-Hanshin announced very positive sales and Daimaru-Matsuzakaya also stated that sales were up by just less than 3 per cent. 

Mitsukoshi-Isetan also stated that sales were slightly up and given the events of March 11 then for Mitsukoshi-Isetan this was remarkable. After all, Mitsukoshi-Isetan is more focused on the Tokyo region than Hankyu-Hanshin which is Kansai based.

However, department stores are still down when compared with results from last year but it is hoped that the summer period will see an upturn and given the events of this year then the figures could have been a lot worse.

Therefore, with the long hot summer on its way the fashion sector in Tokyo may see a rebound of fresh optimism because the doom and gloom of March and early April seems a long time ago. 

It is also hoped that tourists will start to flock to Tokyo and Japan once more because Tokyo is a Mecca for fashion and Osaka is also very vibrant.

The long hot summer is on its way and the feeling of hope and the freshness of new styles will hopefully lead to an upturn in sales.

http://tokyofashion.com/

http://www.dokidoki6.com/  (6%DOKIDOKI)

http://www.smackyglam.com/ (SmackyGlam)

http://www.lumine.ne.jp/ikebukuro/  (Lumine)

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Japan

 

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6%DOKIDOKI bringing a slice of Harajuku to North America

6%DOKIDOKI bringing a slice of Harajuku to North America

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Sebastian Masuda and 6%DOKIDOKI

The “Harajuku Kawaii Experience” recently visited North America after 6%DOKIDOKI showed the passion and creativity of Harajuku.  This followed on from last year when 6%DOKIDOKI visited America and Europe. 

6%DOKIDOKI is a very vibrant fashion company and if you want to understand the underbelly of Harajuku which makes this place tick; then this company is a must. 

The “kawaii culture” in Tokyo goes back several decades but of course you have many modifications and changes.  6%DOKIDOKI is part of the ongoing vibrancy of the “kawaii culture” and this company clearly thinks on its feet.

The creative nature of its fashion is truly unique and this applies to the amazing color schemes of their products and how they keep on moving forward and challenging new barriers.

However, 6%DOKIDOKI is not only a fashion company because their founder, Sebastian Masuda, and all people who are involved in this company; have a genuine interest in their client base and they care deeply about Harajuku.

The recent tour by 6%DOKIDOKI took them to America and Canada but after recent events in Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami; then this was more than just a fashion statement.

After all, many media outlets painted a distinctively gloomy picture of Tokyo and while shock and bewilderment did take hold on March 11 and the following weeks in Tokyo; it was also true that many people were pulling together in order to help northeast Japan where the real tragedy unfolded.

True to the vibrancy and genuine care of 6%DOKIDOKI the founder, Sebastian Masuda, came up with the MIGHTY HARAJUKU PROJECT.

In my article called Mighty Harajuku Project: fashion sector responds to the devastating earthquake, I stated that “…the fashion conscious in Harajuku have organized the “Mighty Harajuku Project” which is aimed at generating capital in order to help the people of Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and other areas hit by the recent tragedy which engulfed the north-eastern Tohoku region.” 

“The “Mighty Harajuku Project” is the brainchild of Sebastian Masuda who is the founder of 6%Dokidoki.  Sebastian Masuda cares deeply about Harajuku and 6%Dokidoki provides an abundance of brightly colored accessories and like Harajuku itself the company is vibrant and individualistic.”

Therefore, while 6%DOKIDOKI is primarily a fashion company with zest, individuality, creativity and a genuine buzz about the products created.  This company is also concerned about the bigger picture during times of crisis and it is rare for a company to connect with its client base like they do in Harajuku.

6%DOKIDOKI, just like Tokyo, is vibrant and energetic and the latest tour clearly showed the pulling power of Harajuku and Tokyo itself.

This applies to the amazing fashion scene in Tokyo where the choice is fantastic and the quality on offer is of the highest.

Once more 6%DOKIDOKI is showing its international spirit and this company is revered by many individuals all over the world.

http://sebastianz.jugem.jp/?eid=508    (personal blog)

http://www.dokidoki6.com/   (Please visit this fashion website)

http://www.japanforum.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=2  (Harajuku fashion)

http://www.moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Japan

 

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Ryo Ishikawa & Hideki Matsuyama: shining spirit of youth amidst the earthquake

Ryo Ishikawa & Hideki Matsuyama: shining spirit of youth amidst the earthquake

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ryo Ishikawa 
Ryo Ishikawa

The greens of Augusta and the majestic beauty of the Masters tournament is the pinnacle of all golf tournaments.  Augusta simply means golf and just like Wimbledon in tennis, you will not find a more prestigious golf tournament to win. 

However, for golf players from Japan the 2011 Masters tournament is a roller coaster of emotions and for all the wrong reasons.  In the days ahead, if they do well, then the passion of the Masters will stir within their veins and for brief moments all things will be golf. 

Yet within the deep soul of the players from Japan is the knowledge that more than 20,000 citizens have been swept away by the violent tsunami which was unleashed by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake. 

Despite all the bleak news of dead bodies being found daily, power shortages, no running water, refugee style camps, and other horrendous news which is reported alongside the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant; the youth of Japan is shining within Ryo Ishikawa and Hideki Matsuyama.

Ryo Ishikawa is nineteen years old and the Bashful Prince (Hanikami Oji) is already a household name in Japan and his fame is spreading to other nations. Hideki Matsuyama, who is not so famous, is eighteen years old and his talent is gradually being seen by more individuals after each new tournament because it is clear that he is gifted, just like Ryo Ishikawa.

However, both players are showing a different gift amongst the pain, anguish, and sorrow which can be felt throughout Japan but especially in northeastern Japan where the tragedy struck. 

This applies to their humanity, comments, and actions, which are much wiser than their years would indicate. Ryo Ishikawa and Hideki Matsuyama are showing the tenacious spirit of Japanese youth and this bodes well for the future of Japan.

Yes, it is too simplistic to judge two individuals and claim that they represent all the youth of Japan. However, many young Japanese people are volunteering or helping in other ways. This applies to local youths who have survived the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan and to trendy youngsters who are involved in the “Mighty Harajuku Project” in fashion conscious Harajuku in Tokyo.

Therefore, to find the Hanikami Oji to be so compassionate and understanding is a bright sign that the youth of Japan is going in the right direction and with players like Ryo Ishikawa they can show “the soft power” of Japan. 

Ryo Ishikawa stated that “People are lining up for food and water, three or four hours, just to make a neat line” and “As I watch these things and listen to the media report on the endurance of the Japanese people, how calm they are, I am very proud to be Japanese.”

These words were expressed through an interpreter and the seriousness of how he feels can be viewed by his actions, behavior, and comments.  True to his nature, Ryo Ishikawa announced that he would donate all his 2011 money that he earns, alongside extra money for each birdie he scores, to relief agencies that are on the frontline and helping so many people.

It is wrong to focus on the amount that this will be because it clearly will be very high.  More important is the compassion he shows, searching within his soul, showing solidarity with people who have lost so much, and showing the people of Japan and the world that the youth of Japan is “responsible, tenacious, and sincere.”

Ryo Ishikawa is a representation of the tens of thousands of young volunteers and young people who are donating to the disadvantaged and helping in “Japan’s hour of need.”   

Another young golf player from Japan, Hideki Matsuyama, who is the amateur champion of Japan, is also showing a spirit of resilience and tenacity beyond his years.

Hideki Matsuyama knows full well the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami because he attends a university in Sendai and this city within Miyagi prefecture was badly hit and the tsunami killed many thousands of people in Miyagi. 

He, like other teenagers in Sendai, searched the devastated city for friends and news about family members.  Currently, it appears that not all have been found and Hideki Matsuyama stated that “I couldn’t believe this was the city where I live………..It was devastated. Just beyond imagination.”

Hideki Matsuyama stated “I’m here for the people who made me who I am” and Ryo Ishikawa stated “I am very proud to be Japanese” after highlighting the endurance of Japanese people who are waiting in line for hours and waiting patiently and enduring their hardship.

These two young teenage golf players clearly understand the pain and sorrow which is being felt in many communities in northeastern Japan and clearly this pain is felt by many people throughout Japan.

They are also showing the tenacious spirit of youth and their words and actions augur well for the future of Japan.

This applies to their dedication, tenaciousness, and knowing how blessed they are and their actions show once more, that in the darkness of tragedy comes fresh hope despite pain, sorrow, and anguish.

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

http://ryo.panasonic.co.jp/eng/index.html (Website about Ryo Ishikawa)

PS – Hideki Matsuyma at 18 years of age made the cut at the Masters Tournament – he currently studies in a city which was hit by the earthquake and tsunami – but showed the tenacious spirit of youth and made the Masters cut.

Ryo Ishikawa is also in a good position but yet to start day two.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Japan

 

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Mighty Harajuku Project: fashion sector responds to the devastating earthquake

Mighty Harajuku Project: fashion sector responds to the devastating earthquake

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times  

Harajuku 
Harajuku

The usual image of all major cities in the centre will see major dividing lines and Tokyo is no different. Therefore, in Tokyo you will have places like Edogawabashi where you have stunning parks and Chinzan-so is a place where the Japanese garden comes alive and old statues to the various Shinto gods can be found.

Alternatively, Harajuku is famous for fashion and even within Harajuku you will have notable brands and highly expensive fashion shops in the Omotesando Hills area.  However, you can also find many fashion outlets which cater for individualistic styles, which flow with current fashion trends amongst the younger generation, highly experimental, and you will find many smaller exquisite fashion shops throughout Harajuku and the Omotesando backstreets area.

It may appear that the streetwise fashion youngsters are very distant from the wider society where conformity often dominates. Or if you see an individualistic young lady or boy who are dressed in a very striking way then it may appear that these individuals are obsessed by fashion and that they have little in common with the usual salary man in Tokyo.

Also, the streets of fashion in Tokyo may appear to be miles away from the rural areas of Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi.  However, if you scratch under the surface then the vast majority of citizens in Tokyo, irrespective of age or fashion sense, are deeply shocked and saddened by the recent earthquake, tsunami, and the nuclear crisis hanging over Fukushima.

Therefore, the fashion conscious in Harajuku have organized the “Mighty Harajuku Project” which is aimed at generating capital in order to help the people of Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and other areas hit by the recent tragedy which engulfed the north-eastern Tohoku region.

The “Mighty Harajuku Project” is the brainchild of Sebastian Masuda who is the founder of 6%Dokidoki.  Sebastian Masuda cares deeply about Harajuku and 6%Dokidoki provides an abundance of brightly colored accessories and like Harajuku itself the company is vibrant and individualistic.

Sebastian Masuda was shocked by the events which engulfed the north-eastern-Tohoku region on March 11 and which continue to beset the region.  This applies to the huge loss of life, the ongoing homeless problem, whole communities being destroyed, thousands of bodies being washed up along the coast, and the ongoing nuclear cloud hanging over Fukushima and creating a major radiation problem.

In Harajuku the creativity of this place which Sebastian Masuda genuinely cares about also uniquely provides its own distinctive community.  Irrespective if this applies to locals, people who often visit Harajuku because of the buzz it creates or to workers who commute to Harajuku.

Therefore, Sebastian Masuda focused on all the positives and energy of Harajuku and came up with the “Mighty Harajuku Project.”  The purpose of this project is to help the disadvantaged who have suffered so much since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11; and to give encouragement and support to people who utilize the energy and environment of Harajuku because so many people are still bewildered by recent events.

At first the staff of 6%Dokidoki, customers and others all chipped in and gave donations but this was just the initial stage. After this, Sebastian Masuda wanted to provide a positivity about Harajuku despite the recent worries and concerns and then to let other areas throughout Tokyo and Japan know that Harajuku is baring up and focused on the future – despite understanding the dire nature of events in Fukushima, Iwate, and Miyagi and the radiation fear which is felt by many.

Also, Sebastian Masuda wanted to reach out to the youth of Tokyo and to assure the younger generation that Harajuku was a haven amidst all the chaos, sorrow, anguish, and sense of foreboding.

This image of positivity which is based on care and support was also important to show the world because Harajuku is famous for fashion and an economic recovery is needed in order to help people who have suffered so much.

The “Mighty Harajuku Project” also shows you the heart of the younger generation and that fashion companies have a serious side which desire to reach out in times of need. 

Therefore, this project is helping people who need assistance in order to overcome so much tragedy and at the same time it is creating positivity within Tokyo and Japan.

Also, it is important that the outside world knows that Japan is not only ticking but it is fighting back against adversity.  Recently, tourist numbers are down and some business companies have pulled out of Tokyo in the short-term. 

However, it is vital that the economy of Japan is supported and the energy of the “Mighty Harajuku Project” is a way of showing everybody that Tokyo is ticking and churning out fresh ideas.

At the same time, the people of Harajuku want to show their compassion and sense of solidarity because they know that you have so much pain and sorrow in places which were hit by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis.

                                                                                                                                                                       

n.com/mighty-harajuku-project/        

http://sebastianz.jugem.jp/?eid=508   (personal blog)

http://www.dokidoki6.com/   (Please visit this fashion website)

http://www.japanforum.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=2  (Harajuku fashion)

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://www.moderntokyotimes.com

 

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