Mention Masashi Kawamura to Tokyoites and they’ll tell you he’s a genius. The creative director of PARTY, a ‘creative lab’ that makes digital advertising, music videos and print campaigns, is only 35, but he’s been named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business.
“The idea was to experiment, to innovate the ways we communicate,” says Kawamura of the company he started with four other partners in 2012. “I’m a film director and a programmer at the same time. I have a background in advertising and, as much as I love that, we decided to do it in a more organic style with less people: a better model.”
Recent PARTY projects include a digital installation at the Tokyo Station Hotel for Louis Vuitton (the projections came to life when viewed through a mask), an exhibition at an art gallery in Ginza (for that, Kawamura designed a helmet that helped visitors become the ball in a virtual game) and a topsecret contract for Intel. In between, Kawamura worked on music videos. “The stuff we do tends to be really simple, says Kawamura. “You need to focus on the universal home truths.”
Kawamura is well travelled. He was born in Tokyo but spent his childhood in San Francisco. Now he spends half of his life in Tokyo and half at PARTY’s office in New York City. “I’m sort of a nomad. But Japan is where my family and friends are and it’s my identity,” he says. “There are two types of people here in Japan: the strict and very self-focused and then the crazies. There is a new breed of people that do their own crazy thing. It’s about absorbing that craziness.”
- A visit to the alleyways and shops of Akihabara, Tokyo’s electrical district.
- Dinner at Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku where the servers are robots.
- A wander around Tokyu Hands, a DIY department store.