Ray Masaki, 32, is a Japanese American graphic designer who studied and worked in New York before moving to Tokyo in 2017. Last year, he self-published a book addressing the institutional biases within Japan's design industry entitled “Why is the salaryman carrying a surfboard?” He now runs his own studio, Ran.

1. Where did you grow up? I was born in New York and grew up between there and New Jersey.

2. How connected did you feel to Japan in those early years? I grew up in a pretty diverse area, but there weren’t many Japanese people there. My mom would speak Japanese to me and I’d usually respond in English, but my connection to Japanese culture was mostly through my grandparents sending me VHS tapes of “Digimon” and “Pokemon.” Through that I got into manga and anime.