Junko Koshino

Published in FASHION & DESIGN  
Junko Koshino Photo Courtesy of Junko Koshino, Inc.

Fashion Design by Junko Koshino

Tokyo's Fashion Queen and Tony Award-nominee Junko Koshino, renowned for her cutting edge clothes, costume and uniform designs, shares the latest in Tokyo's fashion scene.

IT was five years ago that I saw the Ryukyu Kaiensai Fireworks Festival, which celebrated its 11th anniversary in 2014. I was visiting Okinawa and heard that there was a fireworks festival at Gino Bay, Futenma. That was the beginning.

At the time, I wondered, “How wonderful would it be if fireworks came together opera?”

Things took an unexpected turn when the organizers asked me to design the fireworks. For a moment I was confused, but I impulsively decided to take on the challenge. For the 2010 theme song I chose Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” for which I have special affection because I once designed the costumes for a performance. But obviously it was the first time for me to communicate with a pyrotechnician. After much thought about how I should portray my image to him, I came up with the idea of using a piece of black paper to resemble the night sky and drawing a picture of the fireworks on this. I moved my pen quickly and smoothly, and then finished up the drawing in full swing. Once I handed the pictures to the pyrotechnician, there was no rehearsal. I had some concerns that day, but thanks to the latest technology the fireworks of the design that I had never seen were set off into the sky alongside the opera music. My concern proved unfounded.

I used the aria Un Bel Di (One Beautiful Day) to portray an intense image of Japan, and for the climax I expressed the intense bloody scene in which Madama Butterfly commits suicide. Amid the grand echoes of opera, people all around us were admiring the fireworks. I wanted to make something that made people’s hearts ache in an absent sort of way, leaving tears in their eyes. I was pleased to find that I had succeeded, leaving me relieved.

I chose “Carmen” for 2011, “Turandot” for 2012, “The Magic Flute” for 2013, and this year, 2014, I chose to express the dynamic golden sand storm in “Aida.”

In 2012, it was the 40th anniversary of Okinawa’s return as a prefecture of Japan, and so I chose the dragon, a symbol of Okinawa, as a motif. I filled the posters with images of many vigorous, rising dragons. On the day of the fireworks we had heavy rain, as if a dragon had actually brought it down! The idea that the dragon was charging around breaking rain clouds, as if it were alive, made our work seem spiritual and gave it tremendous impact. Those fireworks stand out especially in my mind.

Next year I would like to take on another challenge because, indeed, I have become infatuated with designing fireworks. tj

今年で11年目となる『沖縄琉球海炎祭』を私が初めて目にしたのは5年前。沖縄を訪れたとき、普天間の宜野湾で花火大会があると聞き見に行ったのがきっかけで した。



アリア『ある晴れた日に』にのせて日本のイメー ジを色濃く描き、最後のクライマックスは蝶々 さんの自害で真っ赤な血に染まる強烈なシーンを表現。オペラの大音響の中、どことなく切なさを感じる世界観の花火に、周りは皆涙しながら放心状態で見とれていて、やれば出来るものだなと我ながら感心すると同時に、ほっとしたものです。

2011年は『カルメン』、2012年は『トゥーランドット』、2013年は『魔笛』、今年2014年 はヴェルディの『アイーダ』をテーマにダイナミックな黄金の砂嵐を表現しました。



The complete article can be found in Issue #275 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.

Written By:

Junko Koshino

Junko Koshino is one of Japan’s most highly acclaimed fashion designers, best known for her wide array of designs. These include her Junko Koshino line, corporate and sports team uniform designs, and musi- cal performance costumes. She has also been involved in cultural exchanges through her fashion design activi- ties in the U.S., China, Vietnam, Cuba, Italy and France. Born in Osaka, Koshino won the prestigious So-en Award while studying in Bunka Fashion College’s design program. She was appointed by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport as the 2008 Yokoso! Japan Ambassador (now ‘Visit Japan Ambassador’).


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