Artists in Tokyo:

Artists in Tokyo - We talked to Japanese illustrator and mask maker Shishi Yamazaki about creativity

Shishi Yamazaki is a young artist from the suburbs of Tokyo who is making one face mask every single day. Since the year 2010. To many people she is also…
Artists in Tokyo

We talked to Japanese illustrator and mask maker Shishi Yamazaki about creativity

Shishi Yamazaki is a young artist from the suburbs of Tokyo who is making one face mask every single day. Since the year 2010. To many people she is also known as an animator. You won’t forget her catchy adorable face once you see it, with the dark hair and a mole above her red lips. Her actual name is Shiori.

The 22 year old lives in one of those typical japanese housing complexes which were built in the 1970s. Countless buildings which looks like simple white boxes standing in correct a line along a river. There are many kind of trees and plants all over the site, flowers are blooming, i look up, into in the clear, blue air.

There is a quite big shared park for little kids right in the middle, all the playground equipments are attractive and fun. I noticed that animal shaped stuff can be found quite often here, it’s because of keeping pets is not allowed here, it may sound funny, but it’s true and kind of sad. Shishi said “I used to play here every day with my sisters when I was little, but it’s been a long while since I’ve been here. It’s nice to walk around here again with you today.”

She’s showing me around the site for a while. Danchi is a Japanese word and literally means ‘group land’ for a large cluster of apartment buildings. During the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, the Japanese created many such low-rent apartment complexes in suburban areas to offset the housing demand of the then-increasing Japanese population. Fewer and fewer Japanese are living in Danchi now, because they prefer individual housings or condominiums today.

Since Shishi is an artist, her place is both for her, a studio and a home. It’s a 3-room-apartment. Two of them are western and one is Japanese tatami style. With a living dining kitchen, what means one main room for cooking, eating and relaxing. I would say it’s also a quite typical layout in Japan.

Actually it’s big enough for a single person though, her works and the tools have occupied most of the rooms. So honestly it’s hard to say that it’s a typical girl’s flat, but the passion of creation is the most important thing right now anyway. At the entrance, i’ll notice many of adorable small shoes of her favorite brand American Apparel. She tells me that she likes to dress in the same color from top to bottom lately.

“My family is living quite near by my flat, actually in the same district. But I moved out into my studio about a year ago. We lived in the small place just like this until then and there are five people in my family so… can you imagine it?” I easily understand how badly she wanted her own place as she gets older.

I see the picture of little Shishi and her sister hanging on a wall, it’s a sweet thing. Shishi visits her parent’s place every weekend but on weekdays she’s trying to cook by herself. When I visited her in the early morning for this coverage and making a few photos, she was just heading for work.

She’s a shop assistant at a lingerie shop as part time job, so was preparing her lunch box, called bento, by herself. She showed me the egg shaped container with yellow feet specially made for eggs and took a boiled egg from it. It’s always full of funny stuff, even in kitchen. Your single life in Japan will never get bored.

The most curious thing in her flat is, that she keeps good company in her new hot water supply system. One is besides the bathtub and another one is on the wall of the kitchen. So in a way she is not all alone. They speak to you when the water is automatically filled and it’s ready. Thumbs up for the extremely overly nice and kind system technology in Japan.

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