Pharrell Williams is best known as a music producer and member of The Neptunes and N.E.R.D., but he is also – along with Nigo from Bape – the co-founder of the made-in-Japan fashion brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream. Pharrell has built many close relationships in Japan over the last decade via his music and fashion connections. He also often expresses his personal interest in and respect for Japanese culture.
So when the devastating earthquake hit Japan in March of this year, Pharrell was profoundly concerned for the country. He was also interested in how Japanese artists, designers, musicians, and other creative people would react to such a tragedy. To try to answer that question, he hosts a new documentary film called “Tokyo Rising”.
“Tokyo Rising” doesn’t dwell on the damage that the 110311 earthquake and tsunami did to the country. There are plenty of sources of information on that part of the tragedy. Instead, this movie seeks answers to the question “how will Tokyo be different in the wake of the disaster?” How will Japanese art, fashion, and other popular culture be re-born in a post-earthquake post-Fukushima world? Various people in the film have different thoughts on the issue, but everyone is optimistic that even something this horrible can lead to positive societal changes in the long run.
The cinematography in “Tokyo Rising” is beautiful, showing Tokyo in all of its glory. From skyscrapers to night clubs to underground boutiques to literally-underground drainage systems under the city, the movie covers a lot of ground. “Tokyo Rising” features interviews with quite a few people from the Tokyo fashion scene (Sebastian from 6%DOKIDOKI, Verbal & Yoon from Ambush, a tour of the Koenji Kita-Kore Building), but it also features Japanese musicians (Trippple Nippples), artists (Chim Pom), curators, magazine editors, anti-nuclear activists, and others.
Created in collaboration with footwear brand Palladium Boots, the full “Tokyo Rising” documentary is approximately 30 minutes long. The film can be viewed for free online without any advertisements or other promotional intrusions (other than the occasional camera angle of Pharrell’s shoes while he walks/bikes around Tokyo), which is a really cool move by Palladium Boots.
If you’re interested in watching “Tokyo Rising”, but aren’t quite sure if you want to invest the full 30 minutes, we recommend that you check out part four first. It’s the segment that features Sebastian from 6%DOKIDOKI and others talking about why Harajuku is what it is. It also features a tour of the Kita Kore Building in Koenji by Yoon. Honestly, if you love Tokyo, you should watch the entire film. We’ve posted all five parts below, but you can also check out the entire film in high resolution at the Palladium Boots website (link at the bottom of this article). Once you’ve seen it, definitely let us know what you think in the comments. Enjoy “Tokyo Rising”…
Tokyo Rising Movie – Part 4 – With 6%DOKIDOKI, BAPE & Kita Kore
Tokyo Rising Movie – Part 1
Tokyo Rising Movie – Part 2
Tokyo Rising Movie – Part 3
Tokyo Rising Movie – Part 5
Watch “Tokyo Rising” in full resolution at the Palladium Boots Website.