Evisen is without a doubt the most renowned Japanese skateboard brand. Katsumi Minami founded it in 2011 together with art director Kazuhiro Hamaguchi. Their first video released in 2017 finally put them on the map for a worldwide audience, and you may also have heard of them recently when they teamed up with Jenkem for a collab including a vibrator- shaped cruiser. They had already released sushi wax and butterfly knife skate tools and are working on a ceramic beer mug bong. You can obviously see their desire for extraordinary products, but they’re way more than just a skateboard brand. Through Shinpei Ueno, there is a connection to Tightbooth Production (TBPR) from Osaka and the shop there called SHRED. They’re also releasing the ER magazine, and all of that is gathered under the parent company Kinari, which is also a distribution. Skate products, clothing, shop, distribution, print mag – a lot of stuff is going on in the Evisen circle. We want to give you a little insight.
We used to skate together when they visited Japan or we visited France. I knew the Magenta guys before I got on the team, we’ve been in contact for a long time. Uru [Uruma Masanori] from Kukunochi offered me a spot to ride for Magenta, and it all became reality. I thought it was a natural fit since we have a similar skate style and approach to skateboarding. Not many Japanese skaters are sponsored by a foreign skateboard company, so everyone was happy.
I’ve actually been with the Evisen team for a long time too. In fact, I was there when they were struggling to come up with their brand name in the first place. Shinpei is my childhood homie and we’ve worked together for a long time. I was riding for Magenta for a couple of years, but one day, I felt like riding for Evisen would be a natural thing for me. Of course I thought about it long and hard, but I got to the point where I’m proud to ride for the homies that I grew up with and represent a Japanese top brand to Japanese skaters.
Keep your weight low.
Wallie, Frontside Shove-it, Straight No Comply | Photo by Shinsaku Arakawa
I think most of the skaters are treating skateboarding as a sport. Parents with no skateboard experience teach kids how to ride a skateboard at the skatepark… Anyway, this is not how I grew up skateboarding.
Shinpei Ueno and Taiki Higashi.
If you are a foreigner, just say the following with a smile on your face, “Gomen nasai, watashi nihon hajimete desu,” which means, “Sorry, it’s my first time in Japan.” [laughs]
Basically, Evisen produces skateboards, TBPR is a video-based production, and both of the brands support each other.
I do video shooting and editing, and at the same time, I am a professional skater for the company Evisen. As for TBPR, I do all the video direction, apparel production, and video editing. I basically do everything I can.
"Everything is bigger and wider in Tokyo, but we have better skate spots here in Osaka."
I go to Tokyo pretty frequently for business, but I basically live in Osaka. Everything is bigger and wider in Tokyo, but we have better skate spots here in Osaka.
Beautiful Japanese architecture and the unique style of Japanese skaters.
Gou Miyagi – Overground Broadcasting, Junnosuke Yonesaka – Hi-Q, Seimi Miyahara – Lenz II
I lived at MACBA for too long and wanted a change. I’d been traveling a lot in Asia but never to Japan, so I really wanted to go and check it out. I was only really planning on staying for six months to a year, but one thing lead to the next, and I ended up getting stuck for almost eight years.
This is a difficult topic to try and sum up in a mini interview, but Asian cultures can be pretty polar to European cultures sometimes. The surface things can be made to seem the same but society, relationships, and ways of thinking work in very different ways here.
No street crime, banging sushi.
"Considering it’s almost impossible to skate in Tokyo due to overpopulation, security, police, lack of space, etc., skaters here are forced to be creative in tight spaces."
It’s a long learning process. [laughs]
Considering it’s almost impossible to skate in Tokyo due to overpopulation, security, police, lack of space, etc., skaters here are forced to be creative in tight spaces. Things always seem to flourish in hard environments.
Avoid eye contact and try to move on without actually having to engage in conversation with them. Security guards are fine, but the cops here can really waste your time if they get you.
First inspiration when I started skateboarding.
I don’t know. I don’t want to change skateboarding. My skating will not change.
Dope and complicated expression.
Love and DDIT.
It’s all about rhythm and tempo.
You have to know the essence of popping out. Knowing the timing of when you’re leaving the obstacle is the key. Going off to the side of the obstacle with a manual is the next step. When you completely understand the aspects of these two, you have a massive pop out under your feet!
"It’s all about rhythm and tempo."
I have always dreamed of and was jealous about skating in a big city like Tokyo or Osaka since I live on the countryside where there are very few spots to hit compared to those capital cities. It is also important to have cool bros in big cities.
Skateboarding is skateboarding. I would love to keep on skating and learning new tricks, battle spots as much as I can while I keep my own style. To evolve myself is my current goal.
The Evisen homies and the local homies.
Apologize. If it’s not working, run away.