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Partner Content

Tokyo’s youth on movement and inspiration in the city

Partner Content
GEL-Kenun Knit Unit

For young people, Japan’s epicenter inspires that moment when the mind and body click.

For every 100 people, there are 100 different everyday lives. Wherever you take yourself and whatever you do—whether it’s relaxing, exploring the city on your own, or chatting with friends about your dreams—it’s up to you to find inspiration in your world.

This same freedom of inspiration is what informs ASICS GEL-KENUN KNIT, a line designed for people who want to physically express themselves in fresh ways. We talked to young people out and about in Tokyo—from parkour enthusiasts to dancers to baton twirlers—about their mindset, inspirations, and how the mind and body influence one another. 

ALAN WEARS JACKET CMMN SWDN, PANTS P.A.M, TRAINERS ASICS, SOCKS STYLIST'S OWN.

Alan, 21model/student, @alanofficial.ig

Why are you in Tokyo? My university is in Tokyo. I'm studying statistics and programming right now. What do you do when you spend time with your friends? I chat with them over coffee. And I enjoy spending time with them doing various activities. What influence does physical expression have on your inner being? I ride a fixed-gear bike and skateboard as a means of transportation. I played soccer for ten years, but I realized that I wasn't good at team sports and that I was more of a carefree person that does things at my own pace. What's the biggest draw to doing physical activity? I love feeling the air on my skin. Who’s an expressive person you admire? The skater, Dylan Rieder. When do you feel like you're being creative? When I'm building a fixed-gear bike. What's your dream? To find a place where I always belong. What's something that can be done right now for a better future? Go with the flow.

ERIKA WEARS JACKET ASICS, SWEAT Black Eye Patch, PANTS UNUSED, TRAINERS ASICS.

Erika Hawk, 22model/fitness trainer, @lionlifts

Why are you in Tokyo? I began working here as a model, and two years ago, I became a trainer. What significance does Tokyo have for you? It’s a creative, busy town! What influence does Tokyo have on you? I’m inspired by the artists I meet when I’m doing my modeling jobs, and by the people that I meet at the gym every day. I moved to Japan when I was nineteen, and since that time, my way of thinking and [my] creativity has changed a lot. What’s the biggest draw to doing physical activity for you? I’m able to push myself past my limits. This is key in fitness; a change in mood is much more important than superficial looks. Conditioning your body gives you the ability to love yourself more.

ERU WEARS JACKET TIGHTS ASICS, SKIRT MURRAL, CAP STYLIST'S OWN. AYUMI WEARS COAT UNUSED, PANTS AND TRAINERS ASICS, T-SHIRTS STYLIST'S OWN.

Left: Eru Aoba, 22model/actress, @l_ aoba

What significance does Tokyo have for you? It’s a place where I can connect to the future through the actions that I take. What influence does physical expression have on your inner beingIt allows me to express something that I’m feeling without using words. Maintaining the status quo is the same thing as backsliding, so I want to constantly be evolving. And [physical activity] gives me the inspiration to do so. Who’s an expressive person that you admire? The dancer Koharu Sugawara was my inspiration to pursue my career. When do you feel like you're being creative? When zero becomes one. Is there a time when you’ve felt happiness while creating something collaboratively? I’ve talked about making something with my best friend for a long time—we finally decided to make jewelry together. What's something that can be done right now for a better future? Never think that you’re always right, and embody diverse opinions in yourself.

Right: Ayumi Teresa, 24model/actor, @ayumiteresa

Why are you in Tokyo? I moved to Tokyo to attend university. What significance does Tokyo have for you? It’s a cool and hip place that’s the best city in the world to live! What do you do when you spend time with your friends? We go out to eat tasty food and we go exercise together—dark room fitness! What’s the biggest draw to doing physical activity? It clears your mind and body. And you feel a sense of accomplishment. Who’s an expressive person that you admire? GENDAI! I’m constantly inspired by him. When do you feel like you're being creative? When I’m able to get my ideas out to the world through fashion, makeup, singing, and modeling. Is there a time when you’ve felt happiness while creating something collaboratively? I always keep in mind, in all my jobs that I do, that I’m creating something collaboratively. I also have fun producing and playing music alone, too. What’s your dream? I want to become a symbol of a strong Asian woman—a Japanese woman that inspires people internationally.

RINA WEARS GAWN PANTS PHEENY, TOP AND TRAINERS ASICS.

Rina Mizumura, 22contemporary dancer/choreographer, @___peepe___

Why are you in Tokyo? There are many opportunities to realize my dream here. I’m able to meet all different kinds of people, and this city has a way of creating new energy that inspires people in the most unexpected ways. What influence does Tokyo have on you? It gives me motivation and energy. The city is filled with people and the arts, so it’s an inspiration for coming up with new dance moves. What influence does physical expression have on your inner beingI understand myself, and that’s key to how I move my body. What’s the biggest draw to doing physical activity? The moment when mind and body become one. Who’s an expressive person that you admire? Koharu Sugawara. She’s someone that pushes the boundaries for dancers.  What is your dream? I want to connect with the world through dance.

KANTA WEARS ZIP HOODIE,T-SHIRTS AND TRAINERS ASICS PANTS NEON SIGN, VEST MODEL’S OWN. HIDENORI WEARS T-SHIRTS TIGHTS AND TRAINERS ASICS, JACKET SOE.

Left: Kanta Miyazaki, 21student/model, @kanta_miyazaki

What influence does physical expression have on your inner beingI’m studying architecture, so [physical expression] gives me the ability to discover things from a new perspective: Buildings are rigid, but the body is quite flexible. What’s the biggest draw to doing physical activity? It takes my mind off of things. I’ve been doing judo since I was in kindergarten and rugby since I was in second grade—[laughs] they both hurt. [Physical activity] has probably helped me become a nicer person since I can understand the pain of others. When do you feel like you're being creative? When I listen to music and I’m able to reflect on the emotional feeling that I used to get when I was young. What’s your dream? I want to enjoy life even when I get older. And I’m going to go to graduate school and become an architect. 

Right: Akinori Toita, 20, traceur, @akinori.toita

What influence does Tokyo have on you? Everywhere I go, I think, “I can jump from this height,” or “I’d be able to take off on this surface.” What do you do when you spend time with your friends? I’m usually practicing parkour with them. When do you feel like you're being creative? People have different ideas about this, but in parkour, essentially, there are no rules. So what’s most important for me is to do what I want to do—that’s where creativity resides. Is there a time when you’ve felt happiness while creating something collaboratively? When I’m making a movie. What’s your dream? I want to continue doing work related to parkour for the rest of my life, and to create more parkour training spaces around Japan. What's something that can be done right now for a better future? Don’t judge people on first impressions alone. And also, cherish each and every encounter that you have and listen to the opinions that people have.

SHIN WEARS JACKET doublet, TOP MURREL, TOP AND TRAINERS ASICS, PANTS UNUSED.

Shin, 22, model/baton twirler, @pickme_shin

Why are you in Tokyo? I was a part of the Takarazuka Revue until recently, so I am still commuting from Osaka. What influence does Tokyo have on you? It gives me a sense that I should give everything a try. What influence does physical expression have on your inner beingIt clears my mind of any uneasiness that I have and allows me to regain my composure and be myself again. Who’s an expressive person that you admire? The world champion of baton twirling, Chiho Honjo. She’s the reason why I got into baton twirling. When do you feel like you're being creative? It’s when my thoughts become unified with what I’m doing. What's something that can be done right now for a better future? Never stop expressing yourself. And don’t miss out on how others express themselves, too. Some things are expressed physically when there aren’t any words to express those sentiments. 

Top: Kyoki Furuya, 19model, @ keiju0118

Why are you in Tokyo? I’m a local. What influence does Tokyo have on you? There are a lot of people with personality here, so I’m stimulated by encounters with them. By interacting with diverse people, I’m able to become a deeper person. What do you do when you spend time with your friends? We don’t do much besides sit by the side of the river and enjoy the breeze. I often do this alone as well. What influence does physical expression have on your inner beingIt gives me motivation to focus on constantly expressing things physically. What’s the biggest draw to physical activity? Muscle aches! Who’s an expressive person that you admire? When I watch the Olympic figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu perform—even though I don’t have any knowledge of the sport—I’m blown away by his performances. When do you feel like you're creative? When I wake up in the morning. I believe it sets the tone for the rest of the day. Is there a time when you’ve felt happiness while creating something collaboratively? I haven’t experienced it yet. I’m still searching for it. What’s your dream? To leave a mark on this life. What's something that can be done right now for a better future? For people to care for one another.

KEIJYU WEARS HOODIE doublet, HALF ZIP TOP AND TRAINERS ASICS, PANTS TOKEN SURFBORDS

Photos by Kota-Shouji

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