Kazuhiko Hashiguchi

| Oct 23, 2007

Kazuhiko Hashiguchi

JUDIT KAWAGUCHI Kazuhiko Hashiguchi, aged 37, is the multilingual owner of 4U Ginza, a tiny hole in the wall smack in the middle of Tokyo’s famously expensive Ginza district that is probably Japan’s cheapest and fastest hanko (personal seal) and meishi (business card) shop. ...

Keiko Sumi

| Oct 9, 2007

Keiko Sumi

JUDIT KAWAGUCHI Keiko Sumi, 57, is the 10th-generation owner of Komaruya, a Kyoto-based company that produces traditional and modern handheld fans. Komaruya’s fans were selected by Dentsu, Japan’s largest advertising company, to represent the best in Japanese craftsmanship at the 2005 Aichi World Expo. ...

Nobuaki Kakuda

| Sep 25, 2007

Nobuaki Kakuda

by Judit Kawaguchi

Nobuaki Kakuda, 46, is a karate fighter with the Seido Kaikan organization and the executive producer of K1, the Japanese sport that matches up practitioners of a variety of martial arts, such as karate, kickboxing, kung fu, tae kwan do and boxing. One of ...

Toru Otsuka

| Sep 11, 2007

Toru Otsuka

by Judit Kawaguchi

Toru Otsuka, 67, is the president of Live Coffee, a coffee importer and roaster known for selling the best beans for the least dough. Otsuka is a treasure hunter: he handpicks only the highest quality from small growers around the globe, and considers his ...

Shori and Kazumi Tanaka

| Aug 28, 2007

Shori and Kazumi Tanaka

by Judit Kawaguchi

Shori and Kazumi Tanaka might be the most well-known couple on the nightclub scene in Tokyo’s famed Ginza district. Each night for the last 51 years, 73-year-old Shori rushed from club to club to entertain as a bilingual singer while Kazumi, 54, was sitting ...

Sumiko Sakamoto

| Aug 14, 2007

Sumiko Sakamoto

by Judit Kawaguchi

Sumiko Sakamoto, 70, is a singer and award-winning actress whose heartfelt performances have made her a favorite of the late film director Shohei Imamura. Imamura cast her in three of his films, among them “The Ballad of Narayama,” winner of the 1983 Palm d’Or ...

Hiroko Tsunoda-Shimizu

| Jul 24, 2007

Hiroko Tsunoda-Shimizu

by Judit Kawaguchi

Hiroko Tsunoda-Shimizu, age 46, is director of the Department of Radiology at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo, where she works with a team of 15 other doctors and 50 radiology technologists diagnosing and trying to eradicate various types of diseases. Tsunoda-Shimizu has been ...

Nobuo Hara

| Jul 10, 2007

Nobuo Hara

by Judit Kawaguchi

Nobuo Hara, 80, is the leader of Nobuo Hara and His Sharps and Flats, a 17-member big band formed in 1951 that helped to make jazz popular in Japan after World War II. Their sweet rhythms, which took the country by storm, have not ...

Minoru Inaba

| Jun 26, 2007

Minoru Inaba

by Judit Kawaguchi

Minoru Inaba, 63, is the director of the Meijijingu Shiseikan Dojo, a martial arts facility located in Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. He is a master of budo, an ancient Japanese fighting style that taught samurai to be versatile and supposedly invincible. Learning budo requires ...

Horiyoshi III

| Jun 12, 2007

Horiyoshi III

by Judit Kawaguchi

Horiyoshi III is revered by tattoo enthusiasts as possibly the world’s greatest horishi, or full-body tattoo artist. (Horimono are tattoos done purely for fun, while irezumi are tattoos that mark criminals.) Friendly and too cool for words, the 61-year-old loves digging his needle into ...

Haruko Iino

| May 22, 2007

Haruko Iino

by Judit Kawaguchi

Haruko “Big Momma” Iino, an independent public relations consultant, became one of Japan’s first female advertising account executives back in the 1980s. Even before working at advertising agencies Chuo Senko and Dentsu Eye, the now 63-year-old Iino had understood the potential of the luxury ...

Naoki Sakai

| May 8, 2007

Naoki Sakai

by Judit Kawaguchi

Naoki Sakai, 60, is a designer whose revolutionary ideas have made him an industry powerhouse. After designing Nissan’s Be-1, the vehicle that in the late 1980s started the round-and-cute car boom, Sakai came up with concepts for three more popular cars from Nissan — ...