This POPEYE series is coming to an end this April, but for this special edition "My Archive," we asked Mr. Nakamura to bring some of his personal possessions with him today.
Today I brought two items, and the first one is this doll. There's a Chicago-based shoe manufacturer called "Florsheim" that has been around since the 1890s, but this doll was made as a novelty item of the brand. I held onto it thinking I'd like to feature it in the series one day.
This is made of wood right? That means that each individual doll was carved by hand.
That's right. The fashion and hairstyle of this doll is most likely an Ivy League style from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. Inspired by these styles, a brand called VAN was founded in Japan, and as they began to be featured in fashion magazines such as "Men's Club," the Japanese interpretation of the styles continued to evolve, eventually leading to the founding of POPEYE during the 1970s. Similarly, I think that what we are doing now is, in a way, reinterpreting American casual wear styles. I brought this doll as an underlying symbol in what we are attempting. The next item, I actually brought as a gift to Mr. Kinoshita. As a way of saying "thank you for all the hard work."
A Popeye doll? This is very cute.
I found this at an antique shop in Los Angeles around October of last year. By the way, why was the magazine named "POPEYE?"
The first issue of POPEYE was published in 1976, and a man named Yoshihisa Kinameri was the original editor-in-chief. Whenever Mr. Kinameri traveled to the United States for work and brought back goods related to the Popeye comic books for his son, he was ecstatic. His son became a huge fan and would often say "Popeye, Popeye."
Then, Mr. Kinameri thought that the name Popeye was made up of the words "Pop-eye," as in "keeping an eye on pop culture." I've heard that they even went to the United States to negotiate the use of the registered trademark.However, when the members of the editorial department at the time traveled to the United States to cover a story, they were often mistaken for a "comic book," and they struggled to explain that "they were actually a fashion and culture magazine targeting young Japanese readers." However, after repeated visits to the United States to cover stories, the name "POPEYE" gradually started to gain recognition over the years. In recent years, I've started to finally encounter people during my visits to the United States who tell me that they're fans of POPEYE magazine.
In that context, the road trip that Mr. Kinoshita, Mr. Nakamura and I took from Los Angeles to San Francisco as part of a story for the "POPEYE 40th anniversary issue" in 2016 was especially memorable for me. When we finally arrived in San Francisco, we parted ways with Mr. Nakamura, and Mr. Kinoshita and I stayed in the city. Several days, we traveled to Oakland to check out a big vintage flea market, and while we were there, a young African American man approached Mr. Kinoshita and asked him, "aren't you Mr. Kinoshita, the editor-in-chief of POPEYE magazine?" As they continued to talk, we found out that he was a graduate student studying architecture at UC Berkeley and that he was a huge fan of visvim. He even told us that he makes his own clothes.
Yes, that's right. It was especially surprising because we had just been on the road with Mr. Nakamura until a few days earlier.
He then asked us if we would take a look at the clothing that he made, so we walked to the parking lot where he showed them to us. What he showed us there was a handmade jacket dyed with a traditional mud-dyeing technique from Ghana. He told us that he was also studying a lot about other dyeing techniques.
Mud-dyeing techniques from Amami Oshima have also been incorporated by visvim, but I was amazed that I would encounter this kind of connection in a parking lot in Oakland of all places (laughs.)
That's right. Talking to him, I felt that he truly understood and respected the concept of Japanese manufacturing and about what visvim is trying to achieve through their products. I realized that those kinds of sensibilities are currently spreading across the world. As Mr. Nakamura mentioned earlier, Japanese fashion, which was developed after receiving inspiration from American casual styles, is now impacting manufacturing in the United States. I feel like the current situation is becoming very interesting due to this.
It makes me really happy that there are people like that out there. That's how ideas are passed around and eventually are developed into a culture. And we see how much of what we are doing now can impact the future. I'm very grateful for receiving the opportunity to hold an exhibition like this and share my various inspirations with everyone. Even if you're not a creator, it would be great if people came to see these items, felt some kind of connection to them, and used them as hints, or somehow influenced them in their selection of items that are used in their everyday lives.
edit&text: Kosuke Ide
photo: Katsuhide Morimoto
Former editor-in-chief of POPEYE magazine. Born in 1968. After serving as an associate editor and fashion chief for BRUTUS, he was appointed as the editor-in-chief of POPEYE in 2012. He stepped down from the position as of March 2018. In May 2018, he was appointed as an executive at Fast Retailing Co., Ltd.
Editor. Born in 1975. After serving as an associate editor for travel magazine PAPERSKY, he started conducting freelance work. He currently serves as an editor and writer for "Tsubasa no Oukoku" (Wingspan), the inflight magazine of ANA Group, as well as a collection of mooks, books and online publications. He was in charge of the editing for "My Archive" since its inception.