Two years ago I didn't know a thing about creativity in Japan. Asian advertising was something I'd watch on YouTube to be left wondering what randomness I just witnessed. This all changed on a Sunday afternoon in Stockholm when I stumbled across an online lecture from Naoki Ito in November 2009.
At that time I was studying at Hyper Island and considered myself up to date with all things interactive online. Yet I realized that I never saw the work from this video before and it struck me that there's much more to Japan than I thought. This lecture planted a seed in my head to explore Japan to get a perspective of creative advertising beyond the western part of the world. Months later Naoki Ito became the Executive Creative Director of Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo and I was lucky enough to be invited to their Tokyo office for an internship with my creative partner. During this internship and the following employment I had the chance to work daily with Naoki and learned a great deal from him. Communication wasn't always easy but he helped shaping a perspective on what makes Japanese creativity different from the rest of the world:
While Japans culture has a big desire for the always new and quirky their art in all forms is very conceptual and has many layers of meaning. Their everyday is cluttered with commercial messages and it's the toughest place on earth to stand out. That's why communication has to be as different as possible from usual advertising and at the same time it has to be meaningful and be able to become part of culture and influence it. This makes Japan a country where the bar for great creative work is higher than anywhere else.
I imagine that's one of the reasons why five of the most talented Japanese creatives joined forces to start up PARTY, a creative lab. The lineup: Naoki Ito, Morihiro Harano, Qanta Shimizu, Hiroki Nakamura and Masashi Kawamura. In just a few months they created work like the Toyota Backseat Driver and two music videos for androp: Bright Siren and Bell. It's an impressive indication for the things to come and I believe their approach to technology, collaboration and storytelling will lead to a new breed of creative work that will show the world the true potential of Japanese creativity.