Photography Hordur Ingason

Tokyo's youth sound off on how they'll change the future

In these portraits Hordur Ingason​ captures a contemplative new generation of Tokyo youth.

by Tsukasa Tanimoto
|
Mar 30 2020, 3:59am

Photography Hordur Ingason

Although it doesn't feel like it lately, there is a future coming. With the world in flux perhaps now is the right time to contemplate how we’d like that future to look. Captured by fashion photographer Hordur Ingason, this series of portraits documents a new generation of Tokyo youth as they reflect on Japan and the role they’ll have in shaping its future.

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Nakano

Can you tell us what you do?
As of February I’m in my first year of high school. I post some of my illustrations and photos on social media as a hobby.

What concerns do you have about Japan today?
People living in Japan openly judge people by their appearances as though that was normal. It feels like many are bound by some constructed ideals against their will, for example: preconceptions on double eyelids and on being skinny. In an age, where people with more diverse opinions and backgrounds live together, I feel that Japanese people's opinions and attitudes really should grow up.

How do you think your generation will change Japan?
In an age of 'information overload' where you can consume content published by people of different types from all around the world, I find it very difficult to make the most of all the inspiration that social media provides us. In such a period of time, I think our generation will change the benchmark of what's 'an ideal lifestyle and appearance' to something that's more realistic and that respects our identities.

Do you think creativity and culture play a role in redefining the future of Japan?
Yes, I do strongly think so. As I've been enjoying drawing for a long time, I want to express my identity and my insecurities through my work. My dream would be to become an iconic person representing Japan by creating my own innovative style that incorporates Japanese culture.

Who are the creatives that influence you the most?
I've been very into goth and emo culture after being influenced by an American band called Motionless In White. I've recently also been into tattoo artists like Brando Chiesa and trap rappers who are close to the kawaii/anime culture like Deko and Hella Sketchy — I'm drawn to this trend of reinterpretation of Japanese culture happening abroad. I'm also influenced by artists symbolising the e-girls/e-boys culture from our decade such as Boyfriendz and Jazmin Bean.

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Yuto Akiyama

Can you us what you do?
I am a sales assistant at a select shop.

What concerns do you have about Japan today?
The fact that proper information isn't covered and shared makes me upset. Now that social media is widely used, we can hear everyone's voices around the world. In this context, there are often differences between what the media says and what local people say. In the near future, I want to live in a society where anyone can access information that tells the truth.

How do you think your generation will change Japan?
I think our generation is good at managing risk. Japanese people are rather shy, but I think we can become more proactive in helping each other.

Do you think creativity and culture play a role in redefining the future of Japan?
Having recently graduated from a fashion school, I want to contribute to the environmental cause by designing clothes using recycled materials that you don't get bored of.

Who are the creatives that influence you the most?
Hood By Air's Shayne Oliver. I've gained new perspectives on gender, underground culture, music thanks to him. He's apparently relaunching the brand so I'm very excited about that.

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Yusuke Takahashi

Can you tell us what you do?
I’m 21 years old and I’m attending a university in Tokyo. I work part-time at a clothing shop in Harajuku.

What concerns do you have about Japan today?
There's nothing I'm particularly angry about. Having said that, I think people aren't tolerant enough of people's individuality. People think you're weird when men wear womenswear, when you colour your hair, when you wear unusual make up or when you have a tattoo. Diversity is only tolerated in small parts of big cities. In fact, people seem to look at me with a slight disdain at university. On the flipside, I think that people do sympathise with foreigners, old people and people with disabilities.

How do you think your generation will change Japan?
As our population is getting older and is shrinking, I think new ways of thinking and diversity will increasingly be embraced — we will probably be the generation to drive this change. I think the way Japanese people perceive and think about fashion, culture will be heavily influenced by our generation. For better or worse, I think our generation is a key one that will leave its mark on Japanese culture.

Do you think creativity and culture play a role in redefining the future of Japan?
As I work at a clothing shop, I have the opportunity to be with staff and customers who both influence and get influenced by cultural things including fashion. I am constantly paying attention to their ways of thinking and actions and do my best to have some kind of output from it. One day, I want to make something out of it but that might take some time.

How does the way you dress reflect who you are?
Fashion is the only aspect where I can express myself without taking into account what other people might think. For other things, I tend to care about what others think about me so I think my fashion reflects the stress I feel out of that judgement from others.

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Haru Ogane

Can you tell us what you do?
I mainly do illustration but also work with photography and writing.

What concerns do you have about Japan today?
I feel that many people are living in fear of criticism from people they'll never get to see or meet.

How do you think your generation will change Japan?
I don't necessarily think the majority is always right. I believe our society will become a place where we can respect each other's values without being bound by our gender or our background. Instead of focusing on everyone's happiness as a whole, I believe we should and will aspire for individual happiness which will eventually lead to everyone feeling more happy.

Do you think creativity and culture play a role in redefining the future of Japan?
I don't really think so, but it might just be because I'm not really good at making work that has a really big purpose. Personally, I'll keep on focusing on themes that are close to me and that many can relate to.

Who are the creatives that influence you the most?
My mum kept the manga Ping Pong at home so I grew up with Taiyō Matsumoto. I'm hugely influenced by how he creates new worlds with his drawings, by his photograph and his writing. I think even my mindset is influenced by what I've felt reading his manga.

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Kazuki

Can you tell us what you do?
I play guitar in a Tokyo-based band called NERVOUSES and design clothes as part of a brand called Shredders Society. I also work at SHELTER, a live music venue in Shimokitazawa.

What concerns do you have about Japan today?
While the first thing that comes to mind is the issue surrounding pensions in Japan, what makes me the angriest is how we live in a society where most things are already predetermined. You go through compulsory education, and most people then go to high school. After that, you end up having a job either straight after high school or after going to uni. You then earn money, get married, have kids, work until you retire and spend the final years of your life. I don't think it's necessarily bad but I also think we're free to choose what we want to do as long as you make responsible decisions without disturbing your partner and friends.

There's just so many different types of people so I would like our society to be kinder to everyone.

How do you think your generation will change Japan?
There's a bit more flexibility nowadays than before so our generation seems to reflect more on how they want to live their lives. Out of desire to not want to have a typical job, more people will probably start businesses, others will look for ways to earn money from home.

Do you think creativity and culture play a role in redefining the future of Japan?
Of course, I do. I get so excited when my favourite band releases a new track or when my favourite fashion brand releases their new collection. I also want to keep on sharing my work and one day hopefully become someone as impactful as them.

Who are the creatives that influence you the most?
There's loads but within Japan, I can think of Kuboty who used to be part of Totalfat, Takeshi Hosomi from Ellegarden, K from Pay Money to My Pain.

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Misaki Yamane

Can you tell us what you do?
I’m a hairdresser.

Do you think creativity and culture play a role in redefining the future of Japan?
I’m not particularly doing anything myself but I of course support creatives who do.

Who are the creatives that influence you the most?
I listen to many different artists but I listen to Arashi the most. With regards to fashion, I find inspiration online on Instagram. I like following niche communities.

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Credits


Photography Hordur Ingason
Interviews and translation Tsukasa Tanimoto
Interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.

Tagged:
japan
Fashion
tokyo
Photography
Harajuku
Gen Z
i-D Asia