「時音」is an ongoing series since the launch of TOKION. We look to the future as we attend to the words of contemporary figures, who disseminate values that transcend time.
Following last year’s outbreak, the pandemic didn’t subside this year and the new year started with the second state of emergency issued in four prefectures including Tokyo. On the other hand, the vaccination against Covid-19 started and we started to hear some good news including a gradual decline in the number of newly infected people. However, we believe that the situation in 2022 is expected to remain highly uncertain due to factors including the new variant Omicron and the impact of inflation overseas.
In this turbulent time, we started the “The Sound of Now” series to look to present-day values, which could be cherished withstanding the test of time. In this series, we asked people who addressed these values to look back on their past activities and share their insights looking into the future.
What was missing in 2021? Amid widespread anxiety that never seems to end, we shall attend to “The Sound of Now” to uncover clues to improve our situation and be inspired.
Hiroshi Sugimoto, a contemporary artist, spent ten years envisioning the Enoura Observatory. The Observatory is a place to disseminate the essence of Japanese culture, a place to return to the origins of art and humankind, and a pinnacle of Sugimoto’s refined taste. In October 2020, he published Enoura Kitan (“Mysterious tales of Enoura”), which explains the reason he was drawn to Enoura. We interviewed Sugimoto, who had to extend his stay in Japan due to the pandemic, at his studio in Tokyo.
In February 2021,the film Under the Open Sky directed by Miwa Nishikawa was released nationwide in Japan. Based on a non-fiction novel Mibuncho by Ryuzo Saki, the film portrays a former yakuza’s return to society after leaving prison. The protagonist experiences the kindness and harshness of people, and the reality of living in a society that is hard for him to fit in. As the protagonist navigates between comfort and hardships, the film captures the warmth of the people. What kind of society do we see through the life of the protagonist?
In December 2020, Hikari Ota of Bakushō Mondai, published Geinin Jingo, a compilation of essays. In this book, he approached a wide range of topics with his unique perspective: “Drugs in the Entertainment Industry”, “Freedom of Expression”, “The Mass and Television”, “The Empress and Covid” and other timely topics. The book let the readers get a deeper look into Ota’s thoughts than they would on TV or radio. Based on his essays, we asked Ota about his thoughts on “what it means to be a comedian”, and his approach to comedy.
Yoshihiko Ueda is a photographer known for his work on numerous advertising photos, including Suntory, Shiseido, and TOYOTA. He released his first feature film, A Garden of Camellias in April 2021. As the film follows the change of four seasons, we feel the passage of time along with stunning images. By focusing on fragments of life and memories that we tend to overlook, the film reveals the truth about life hidden in our daily lives. What is the meaning of truth that Ueda wanted to convey in this film?
Yoon, the jewelry designer of AMBUSH®, collaborated with global companies including Dior Homme. She conveys her message and vision of the future from a sociological perspective with confidence. Why does her message resonate with people all over the world? As she looks back on Tokyo’s landscape and the transformation of communities since she moved to Japan from the U.S., Yoon expands on the need to have the capacity to think, which is vital for the future.
Ryo Asai published Seiyoku in 2021 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his career as a writer. In his debut novel, Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutteyo, Asai reveals the social hierarchy of school through the disappearance of its protagonist. In Nanimono, which won the Naoki Prize in 2013, he illustrates the shift in how people communicate on social media in the midst of job hunting. Known for expertly depicting the atmosphere of the times and the feelings of the people, how did Asai describe a sense of discomfort towards society in his latest book?
Tadanori Yokoo, a contemporary artist, held his largest exhibition to date, GENKYO YOKOO TADANORI at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. Yokoo continues to be an influential figure for artists around the globe for his nonconforming work without any specific style, his call to abandon overthinking, his ability to rid mundane desires, and letting his intuition guide the work. We asked him to reflect on his creative activities, including “WITH CORONA,” a series that he started by posting on his blog and Twitter.
Many people know Hisashi Eguchi as a manga artist, while some people know him as an illustrator who draws female characters that he refers to as Kanojo (She). His appeals are the outstanding illustrations, witty humor, unpredictable and thrill-inducing twists, and story settings. His readers are holding their breath thinking if the next episode will come out the following week or not. As we look at his illustrations and tweets during the pandemic, we try to get closer to the complex magnetism of Eguchi.
Born in Tokyo in July 2020. With the theme of “The message of Japanese cutting edge culture to the world," We have been working in music, art, photography, in addition to all genres of culture, including fashion, beauty, and food, the social stance to communicate with readers. And digital media, magazines and e-stores. We will transmit information from Tokyo, the center of Japanese culture to the world.