A little story…
Once upon a time I was a high-achieving good girl with a big ambition to explore the world, studying at a super strict, traditional, girls-only private school in Japan.
Just like any teenage girl, I thought many of the school rules sucked, especially the dress code. If I had stuck to every single rule I would have resembled a nun in a long black gown, dragging a massive doctor’s medical bag. That is not a good look.
However, instead of rebelling conventionally I decided to take a radically new approach. I appointed myself as one of the head girls, conducted opinion polls, called for a student council assembly and challenged the school. My mission ended as a huge success story. Ten months later, the head teacher agreed to abolish many of the hideous rules!
It was around that time I figured out that many people would give me bad advice or negative comments, but that I didn’t have to listen to them. I don’t need other people to tell me what is best for me. I just need to ask myself exactly what I want to do. Anything is possible with a bit of creative thinking, strategy and determination.
My mum is a lawyer and my dad is a marketing director. Despite their core differences, they both placed a massive value on good manners, high quality products, creativity and individuality. On weekends, mum would be sewing colourful fabrics to make mother-daughter matching summer dresses while my dad might be wiring up a sleek music system.
Crafts and working with our hands came naturally to my family. My brother and I grew up illustrating manga characters or coding the very first version of the ‘Invader’ game on a computer which dad had built himself from scratch.
My quest to explore the world began a long time ago, starting with my imagination. As a little girl my thoughts would turn to faraway lands, where I saw paradise in misty green hills dotted with white sheep, a magnificent, moonlit palace in a lush oasis or a sleek spaceship crossing the dark universe. I was always fascinated by anything exotic or unknown.
In the summer of my second year at high school, after saving three years of Christmas money, I enrolled with a language school in Cambridge and spent the whole summer touring South England with like-minded teenagers from all over the world. I don’t recall much of what we studied. What I remember is the shocking sensation of salt and vinegar crisps in my mouth (which I’m now addicted to!) and the awe-struck feeling of being in a place of green hills dotted with white sheep that I had once dreamt of as my paradise. Eighteen months later, after completing high school in Japan, I landed in London to study for the long term.
During my time at art college in London, I shared an old house on Portobello Road. There, every corner had something to inspire me. I rummaged through all kinds of market stalls, from exotic fruits and new fashion to every variety of antique and collectible. With a natural eye for detail, colour, and composition, I taught myself photography, and it was not long before I was able to combine this with my love of exploring culture. I soon started to get commissions from fashion and music production companies.
In 1999, I earned a degree in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Upon graduating, I took up an internship in New York City, then the following year I divided my time between Tokyo, Paris and London.
My son arrived when I was 26 and at the same time my marriage broke down, I went through a long period of re-examining my identity, value and the definition of success. My attention had turned inwards. Instead of exploring the world relentlessly, I started looking at my native culture with a fresh eye. My ideal was to find the sweet spot between motherhood and a creative career. I searched for a role model, but could not find anyone to look up to. So I self-created the career and life I love! I hope that by promoting my work and spreading my philosophy and expertise, I can help bring colour and a sense of lightheartedness wherever I go. My work is for other people to enjoy – not just for me.
My travels have taken me around the world. At every destination I discovered that people were fascinated by Japanese culture and asked me countless questions. So I made a commitment to showing people the value and beauty of my native culture and making a real impact on the world.
In 2009, Giant Origami was born. The rest is what you see in my social media feed, blog and portfolio. I can honestly say it has been an amazing journey!
Thank you so much for reading my story and taking time to get to know me. I hope it gives you an idea of what inspires and drives me and that my work continues to inspire you in turn and fill your life with colour.