A Day in Tokyo

Uniqlo U 2019 Fall & Winter collection
launching at the end of September

Illustrator Ayumi Ohashi produced cover art for the magazine
HEIBON PUNCH for years, from its inception in the 1960s.
This season’s Uniqlo U women’s collection,
modeled by six Asian women against the backdrop of Tokyo,
borrows ideas
from Ayumi’s depictions of
womanhood and from French New Wave cinema.

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Lang Lee 33, Musician, Essayist, Illustrator

Born in 1986 in Seoul, South Korea. A singer-songwriter, filmmaker, comic artist and essayist, Lee is a multidisciplinary artist. She started her career at age sixteen, working as an illustrator and comic artist. Later, she majored in film at the Korea National University of Arts. The songs she recorded as a kind of audio diary garnered attention, leading to her musical debut. When her song “Playing God,” from her eponymous second album, won “Best Folk Song” at the Korean Music Awards, Lee caused a sensation by auctioning off her trophy on the spot. Her essay collection Sad Cool People and her comic essay Now I’m in My Thirties, both of which have been translated into Japanese, depict the personal details of her life in a sincere, friendly style.

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Lang Lee 33, Musician, Essayist, Illustrator

Born in 1986 in Seoul, South Korea. A singer-songwriter, filmmaker, comic artist and essayist, Lee is a multidisciplinary artist. She started her career at age sixteen, working as an illustrator and comic artist. Later, she majored in film at the Korea National University of Arts. The songs she recorded as a kind of audio diary garnered attention, leading to her musical debut. When her song “Playing God,” from her eponymous second album, won “Best Folk Song” at the Korean Music Awards, Lee caused a sensation by auctioning off her trophy on the spot. Her essay collection Sad Cool People and her comic essay Now I’m in My Thirties, both of which have been translated into Japanese, depict the personal details of her life in a sincere, friendly style.

Nanako Hirose 32, Film Director

Born in 1987 in Kanagawa, Japan, Hirose graduated from the film program at Musashino Art University, before teaming up with the production company Bunbuku. After working as an assistant director under Hirokazu Kore-eda, in 2019 she released her debut film His Lost Name, the story of two men haunted by their pasts—a young fugitive, played by Yuya Yagira, and an aging carpenter, played by Kaoru Kobayashi. She is also the director of the drama series Junichi, starring Jun Shison and airing on Kansai TV. Her work is scheduled to be released on multiple streaming platforms. Cover & Open (Tsutsunde, Hiraite), her documentary about book cover designer Nobuyoshi Kikuchi, explores the roots of creativity by shadowing Kikuchi through every step of his process, from the layouts he designs by hand up to the final printed product. The film is slated to appear this fall at Theatre Image Forum and other venues throughout Japan.

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Saila Kunikida 24, Model

Born in 1994 in London. Raised in Paris. After graduating high school, Saila studied fashion history, design, and marketing at Studio Berçot, the esteemed French fashion school. Born from a Japanese mother and an Italian father, she is the great-great-granddaughter of the Meiji period novelist, poet, journalist and editor Doppo Kunikida. Seeking to connect with her roots, she came to Japan on her own in 2014 and found work as a model. In 2015, she drew attention as the face of the Isetan Mitsukoshi ad campaign “this is japan.” Hoping to convey the cultural sensitivity she gained growing up in Paris along with observations on life in Japan, Saila has become engaged with Sustainable Development Goals, specifically by writing about feminism and participating in talk shows on the subject, thus broadening the scope of her activities.

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Shizuka Ishibashi 25, Actress/Dancer

Born in 1994 in Tokyo, Shizuka started ballet at age four, going on to study ballet in Boston at age fifteen. Thereafter, she spent two years practicing ballet and modern dance in Calgary, before returning to Japan at nineteen. Active in the contemporary dance world, in 2015 she began working in theater. In 2016, Shizuka appeared in Inverted Scales (Gekirin), produced by NODA MAP, and in 2017, she had her first starring role in The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue, where she gracefully conveys the emptiness felt by young Tokyoites after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. And Your Bird Can Sing (2018) points to her potential as a singer. Her latest starring role is in Song of the Strawberries (Ichigo no Uta), a coming of age story created by screenwriter Yoshikazu Okada and Kazunobu Mineta, front man of the Ging Nang Boyz.

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Alice Takahashi 15, Kickboxer/Model

Born in 2003 in Tokyo, Alice is the daughter of a Japanese father and an Israeli mother. Her first taste of martial arts came early, when she visited the karate dojo where her father practiced. She started kickboxing at age four. Training at the Ihara Dojo, legendary in the world of Japanese kickboxing, Alice has become increasingly formidable since middle school. In March 2019, she made her professional debut at Magnum49, where she also won her first title. Meanwhile, in 2018 she entered Seventeen magazine’s casting call for models and was selected along with five others from a pool of over 3000 applicants. Since entering high school this past spring, she has spent five to six hours a day training for kickboxing, but on the weekends, she practices the walking techniques and poses used in modeling.

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Kanako Nishi 42, Novelist/Painter

Born in 1977 in Tehran, Iran, Kanako attended elementary school in Cairo, Egypt, came of age in Osaka, and now resides in Tokyo. She made her debut as a novelist in 2004 with Blue (Aoi). In 2007, she won the Sakunosuke Oda Prize for her novel Tower to Heaven (Tsutenkaku). In 2013, she received the Hayao Kawai Prize for her novel Funny Face (Fukuwarai). Her novel Saraba! won the Naoki Prize in 2015. In 2016, she was included in Best of Young Japanese Novelists, a special issue of GRANTA, a literary magazine published in thirteen languages, the most foreign editions in the world. Her paintings have been featured on the covers of most of her recent work. Kanako also drew the lush, colorful illustrations for the picture book The Wordless Postcard (Ji no Nai Hagaki), an adaptation by novelist Mitsuyo Kakuta of a famous story by the screenwriter, essayist and novelist Kuniko Mukoda.

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Photography by Masahiro Sambe, Styling by Yuriko E, Makeup by UDA,
Hair Making by Nori Takabayashi, Editing by Saya Kawada

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