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■ Featuring "Ice Cream," August 31 to September 29







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O: Because there was never such a thing in Japan. If there'd been something like John Lobb inside, I didn't need to go to United Kingdom across the borderlines. In Nippon, they were getting behind about shoe culture. Though it is so hard, I love to build something up in a barbaric land.


■ In UK, did you feel restricted tight by the system?

O: No, no. Their world is very narrow, however, since all artisans have day after day been together there for several decades. Then, they almost know what to do and who to collaborate with because they are very familiar each other. It was almost difficult for me to find something stimulating.


■ To be good and bad, there was a routine…

O: I agree.


■ Being back in Japan, what made you go in Setagaya, Tokyo?


O: I have lived with my parents and so had to choose the place as close to their house as possible. I have worked a lot every day and I need them to look after their grandchildren, you know.


■ In some conservative opinion, it makes your life stable to keep working in UK, although it is true that there is a joy when you build something new. Most Japanese don’t do so for uneasiness…

O: I love the uneasiness. I don’t find any pleasure in riskless life, see? We are alive, and must feel so tired of colorless years. So I want to do what nobody has done and desire to choose a roundabout way, off the shortcuts.


■ You are only led by your heartbeats, aren’t you?

O: Yes. It made me go to United Kingdom. Desires build up my roads. I made some failures, but I have done what I have wanted to do. At my early time, I strongly longed to be a shoe maker in Britain. I became there and five years later, I thought what I had gotten was less than I had expected somehow. Then, I looked for something to do next.


■ You got back in Nippon, and first you opened your shoe making school here…

O: That also meant trying my skill. I started for fundraising. I had about 30 students at the first time, and have about 70 now. There were some shoe making lessons in Nippon, but nothing let them study hand-sewn method steadily. English shoes were not popular inside at the time, and so I guess my style tickled their enthusiasm. When I came back, many times they said “O? Shoes are also made in England, not only Italy?”


■ You have got most about shoemaking. You didn't go and specialize in design amongst them?

O: Ah, I am proud of my designing sense. When I was a student, I won design prizes one after another like a pothunter. Then, I don’t have to try what I am proud of. What is more, I don’t feel interested anymore because design seldom goes a long way toward making you comfortable in shoes. Design is within the level world and shoes are three-dimensional...


■ In female shoes, I guess you are asked a lot about design…

O: When I make the shoes for women, I almost design for ladies with hallux valgus which makes your feet look ugly. In order not to make it worse, I devise and so it is pretty different from shoe designing.


■ I see! Now, you have managed a shoemaking school and shoe brands after getting back in Japan. Let me know what road your bespoke shoemaking spirit has gone on.



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