Kimo Friese

Kimo Friese

Tokyo Journal's Underground Culture Editor, Kimo Friese, was born in Hawaii, raised in Southern California, and has lived in various European countries. In 2012 he relocated from the Los Angeles area to Seattle, Washington, where he keeps his finger on the pulse of underground culture. Holding a Master's degree in Germanic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics from UCLA, Kimo speaks English, German, Dutch/Afrikaans, Russian, and French. He is experienced in creative writing, photography and film production. From the tip of his toes to his shirt collar, his body is a human tapestry of tattoo art and Kimo has rocked the Germanic underground world as vocalist and percussionist for the music group Autonome Radicalism Wrax.

Wednesday, 01 February 2017 22:34

Underground Music Spotlight

3 By Design

THE California quartet 3 By Design is a modern hard rock band that channels a variety of sounds such as Shinedown, Alter Bridge, Alice in Chains, Sevendust and The Black Crowes. Formed in late 2013 by vocalist Jon Goodhue, guitarist Kevin “KJ” Hicklin, bassist Frank Mullis and drummer Kent Diimmel, the band demonstrates tight technical musicianship on their EP Under the Surface and strikes an instant chord with audiences during full-throttle live performances. When asked what makes them click, all of the band members agreed that it is their chemistry, both on and off the stage, and wide array of musical influences. Check out their video for “Shatter” and their EP on their website: tj

Wednesday, 07 May 2014 00:00

Horiyoshi III

Horiyoshi III

Japan’s Legendary Tattoo Master

Interview by Kimo Friese and Horikichi

TJ: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
HORIYOSHI: My real name is Yoshihito Nakano. I was born on March 9, 1946 in Shimada, Shizuoka. I am the eldest son with a sister and brother.

TJ: Tell us a little about Irezumi, the traditional art form of Japanese tattooing.
HORIYOSHI: It depends what you mean by traditional? Tattoo tradition, Japanese tradition or Asian tradition? If you say Asian tradition, it was most affected by Confucianism. But if you are obedient to Confucianism, you can’t get tattooed because the belief states that you should not hurt your body. But since tattoo culture had already existed before the ancient Chinese ideas that transformed into Samurai philosophy in Japan, Confucianism couldn’t exclude tattoo culture. The concept of the tattoo can translate into strength, religion, or many other things. But in Japan, it basically represents courage or strength, like the Samurai’s fighting spirit. On the other hand, tattoos also have artistic aspects. Actually, it’s difficult to talk about Irezumi tattoo and tradition because the scope is too wide.

Wednesday, 02 October 2013 11:15

Japanese Fashion & Film in Seattle

Japanese Fashion, Film and Flora Flourish in Seattle

By Kimo Friese

SUMMER in Seattle, Washington is in full swing having kicked off with summer solstice events and continuing throughout the summer as long as the beautiful weather holds. Folk, rock and electronic musical events, outdoor film screenings, Shakespeare-in-the-park, and top attractions like Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Seattle Center (location of the world famous Space Needle) as well as various open-air artistic and cultural events in the city’s neighborhoods will thrive during the long summer days... and well into the nights.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013 09:06

In Memoriam: Nagisa Oshima

How a studio trained director quit the system to go independent and become one of the most influential filmmakers in Japanese history.

NAGISA Oshima, one of Japan’s most influential and controversial film directors, died January 15 in a hospital near Tokyo at the age of 80. Several years prior I attended a few screenings of his work at a Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s retrospective, the first showing of his films in North America in over two decades. It was during the “In the Realm of Oshima” retrospective that I discovered the genius of Ôshima, a genius to be honored with his passing.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 06:56


In Japan, tattoos have long been associated with yakuza gang members. Today, tattoos represent a form of self-expression that is here to stay.

Tattoo You

Tattooing through the Ages

For centuries, many cultures around the world have practiced the art of tattooing including tribal groups in Borneo, Cambodia, Europe, Japan, the Mentawai Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand, Nigeria, North America, the Philippines, South America, Taiwan, and Turkey. “Britons” translates as “people of the designs” and the British remain the most tattooed in Europe.

Tattoos no longer taboo?

The cultural status of tattooing has evolved from being considered an anti-social activity in the 1960s to a trendy fashion statement in the 1990s. No longer are tattoos limited to the bikers, gangsters, rock stars and the military. Today, movie stars, professional sports figures, fashion models and other public figures who play a significant role in setting cultural norms and behavioral patterns are sporting tattoos.

Friday, 11 May 2012 00:00


Tokyo’s Harajuku District, a fashion paradise where the catwalk got its claws, rivals L.A.’s Venice Beach for uniqueness. So why then does the Harajuku/Omotesando district trump what Venice Beach has to offer?

Harajuku Girls, you've got that wicked style

Street Fashion meets the Concrete Catwalk

A fashion center of the world, Tokyo’s Harajuku District has long been renowned for its unique street fashion. Ranging from Gothic Lolita to Visual Kei, Decora, Mori Girl (Forest Girl) and Dolly Kei, Harajuku has been a haven for pop culture trendsetters, helping to launch prominent designers and fashion ideas on the international scene. While not strictly fashion, cosplay (costume play) also emerged from the district to gain world attention. In her 2004 hit song “Harajuku Girls,” American singer Gwen Stefani helped popularize the concept of Harajuku in the Western world and described why she is such a huge fan: “You’re looking so distinctive like D.N.A., like nothing I’ve ever seen in the U.S.A.”


Staff Continued



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