Izumi OKABE

Degree in Painting from Tama Art University

President and Managing Director, Taikyokusha Co. Ltd.

President and Managing Director, Yellow Data Co. Ltd.

Board Representative, NPO Soul of Tohoku Foundation

Gooday Building 3F, Tomigaya 1-42-3, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 〒151-0063

tel. +81-3-5452-1187

fax. +81-3-5790-0622

E-mail. yd-office@yellow-data.com

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[Primary Business]

Commercial Environment Design and Branding

Product Branding

From an early age, I have been interested in Japanese traditions such as tea ceremonies and bonsai landscaping, and deeply appreciated the beauty of Japanese culture. I majored in Contemporary Art at University, but after graduation I once again focused on arts born of Japanese tradition, particularly handwork and space creation. I founded Yellow Data in 1998, as a design and planning company. I believe that the care I take, from my initial concept proposal to the final details, is all based on the underlying aesthetic sense of the Japanese people. Currently, I focus on activities like helping create ryokan that build Local Power, product design to evoke the history and tradition of businesses, and brand creation that revitalizes handwork, such as crafts, for the modern age, as well as helping to support the cuisine of Tohoku.

[Why Yellow Data?]

The name Yellow Data is meant to signify a traffic light, flashing a warning of the last point before the utter destruction of our nature, our culture and our souls, and was influenced by the name of the "Red List" of endangered animals and plants.

Creating New Values for Local Power

A topography born of nature, humanity, and history.

We use the name "Kyodoryoku," Local Power, to refer to promoting the connection of economy and culture to the next generation, creating new value for that topography. My job is to offer unified services from initial plan to final development and design across a wide variety of fields, from commercial environments to food to crafts, for a variety of regions. For each level of work, the added value for every region or business is based on a theme of their Local Power. For ryokan in particular commercial environment that brings a new sense of values to the region is key. When planning a ryokan, I offer a design concept that is based on surveys of the local natural and social environments, history, local ingredients and crafts, and especially a sense of era.

Our current age is one of confusion and change in values, and from any perspective, it’s clear this change will continue. Thus, I believe the Local Power way of thinking must become more common in general.

Japan’s Satoyama and Satoumi, the hills and seas that sustain Japan.

In this age of change, I hope we don't lose Japan's beautiful Satoyama and Satoumi, bountiful mountains and seas. Their warmth and splendor soothe and heal the soul. This belief only grew stronger after I visited Tohoku in support of recovery efforts after the earthquake in 2011. What I saw in Tohoku was Japan's original beauty.

No matter how technology advances, I want to value the relationship between nature and humanity, and the wonderful food and crafts born of the careful work of human hands. Caring for the Satoyama and Satoumi can be done by setting rules for the natural world. We must reexamine the way we look at living things, through what is known as Biological Diversity. If we build forests to offer habitat to wildlife, prevent disasters, and preserve clean water, then Satoyama and Satoumi will provide us with their fruits. I often work in Hokkaido, and there see great herds of deer alongside highways, when they should be living in untouched forests. The deer eat all the bark off the trees, and must come down to the towns for food. The same is true of bears. I think that by driving the Japanese wolf to extinction, we have taken a vital link out of the ecosystem, thus causing these problems. I feel that we need to once again value the diversity of life, where every habitat and every role is vital to the future of our Satoyama and Satoumi, and can offer hints to the next generation.

Craft Spaces are Rich Spaces

Each region of Japan has its own craft work. Through Local Power, those crafts can create vitality. A space filled with crafts is a rich one. History, tradition and art connect to create a story. The culture of bamboo work in Oita, Kyushu; the culture of lacquerware in Wajima, Ishikawa; the culture of urushi tapping in Iwate, in Tohoku; the culture of woodcarving in Hokkaido; so many regions have a craft tradition. I believe that creating spaces for these regional crafts will help them thrive. I also believe that this will greatly help in creating an identity for these areas.

In spaces we live in, a wide variety of materials are used. The modern era has brought the use of a number of more efficient, durable materials, but I feel that materials that change naturally over time like wood, earthen walls, washi paper, stone, bamboo, cloth, glass, tatami, iron, or brass create feelings of affection and pleasure. And when those materials are worked with true craft skill, they create an even richer space. A traditional Japanese Sukiya-style building, one made by a true craftsman with the ability to find the perfect mating of materials, is exquisite. Although there is no space as restrictive as one made without vision, that hinders the appreciation of the craft used, I have taken to calling a Craft Space any space in which objects evoking craft skills and sense such as lacquerware, stucco, wrought iron and such fittings are used.

However, in a commercial environment where a large, unspecified number of users calls for durability and economy, the use of these crafts is difficult, and yet I want to do my best to find ways to integrate such craft components. Because above all, the incredible skill shown in Japanese crafts has the power to raise the level of our senses.

Designing Products to Shift Japan's Modern Food Culture

We offer services for product development from planning to package design and sales promotional tools.

In product development, we primarily focus on food-related goods. Japan has any number of local food cultures, represented by things born of the local climate and nature, like miso and soy sauce. And even now, village festivals to pray for good harvests and other folk arts are also deeply connected to nature, and are deeply valued as vital culture. The theme of my product development is evoking the traditional characteristics, skills, and culture of an area for the modern age. Food culture goes beyond the mere nutritional support of the body. Food helps create pleasure and joy in life. It helps add color to the seasons and events, and add highlights to life.

In addition, I offer product development in other areas, such as dishes, furniture, and cosmetics. For each area, I keep my product development rooted in the traditions, history and skills of the enterprise. And when it comes to product planning as a whole, I always strive to build added value and mindfulness. And finally, in every product plan I look to reflect the regional or corporate culture behind it.

Furyu Seikatsu, Better Living and Elegant Lifestyles for Japan

In 1990, I established the brand Furyu Seikatsu, or Elegant Lifestyle, based on the theme of a Better Living for Japan. The underlying idea was "hand work for every lifestyle in every region." I wanted to connect to the creation of value from earnest craft work.

I have always been enchanted with Japanese climate and cuisine and crafts, and so design spaces with such objects and craft work, and develop new things like foods. From the north to the south, I have done a great deal of work, but now I hope to view that work with a new sense of values.

January 2017, Izumi OKABE

Work History

Ryokans -Plans/Designs/Concept Work/BI Design/Furnishing supply-

  • 2016/8 Hokkaido Onuma - Onuma Tsuruga Auberge EPUY
  • 2015/5 Hokkaido Lake Akan - Akan Yuku no Sato TSURUGA BEKKAN Nanakamado
  • 2013/7 Hokkaido Niseko - Niseko Konbu Onsen Tsuruga Besso Moku no sho
  • 2012/8 Hokkaido Lake Akan - Lake Akan Tsuruga Wings
  • 2012/5 Oita Beppu - Take to Tsubaki no Oyado Hana Beppu
  • 2011/6 Hokkaido Lake Akan - Tsuruga Lake Akan Lodge TURANO
  • 2010/8 Hokkaido Jozankei - Jozankei Tsuruga Resort Spa MORI NO UTA
  • 2009/5 Hokkaido Lake Shikotsu - Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort Spa MIZU NO UTA
  • 2008/6 Hokkaido Lake Kussharo - SoRa Tsuruga Auberge in Lake Kussharo
  • 2007/6 Hokkaido Abashiri - HOKUTEN NO OKA Lake Abashiri Tsuruga Resort
  • 2006/6 Hokkaido Lake Akan - Akan Yuku no Sato TSURUGA RERA
  • 2004/12 Hokkaido Lake Akan - Akan Tsuruga Bessou HINANOZA

Space Design -Plans/Designs/Concept Work/Furnishing supply-

  • 2015/1 Hokkaido Teshikaga - Inner Child Cafe
  • 2014/8 Hokkaido Sapporo - TSURUGA BUFFET DINING SAPPORO
  • 2005/5 Kanagawa Yokohama Sogo - Yamatoya
  • 2002/12 Tokyo Ginza - Uchiyama
  • 2002/9 Tokyo Higashiazabu - Banreki Ryukodo

Planning -Plans/Product Development/BI Design/Package Design/Sales Promotion Design-

  • 2015 Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture Taro-cho Fisher "Masaki Wakame" Branding (Kirin Kizuna Project)
  • 2014 Soul of Tohoku Iwate Prefecture Ofunato "New Tohoku" Guidance Model Project (Restoration Agency)
  • 2014 Soul of Tohoku Iwate Prefecture Ofunato Shopping Street Urban Development Project (METI)
  • 2014 Tsukiji Sea Compass Japan Branding
  • 2013 Iwate Prefecture Ofunato Sanriku Partners Association (Kirin Kizuna Project
  • 2013 Eitaro Sohonpo "Nihonbashi Eitaro" Branding
  • 2012 Isehan Fermented Benihana Cosmetics YUI
  • 2006 Eitaro Sohonpo "Ameya Eitaro" Branding
  • 2005 Eitaro Sohonpo Branding
  • 2004 Tokyo Station Yaesu Entrance Food Zone Development - Kurobei Yokocho/Kitchen Street
  • BI Design, Signs, Promotional Plans
  • 2003 Nikko Co., Ltd. I.O. Branding
  • 2002 Tokyo Marunouchi "Kurayamizaka Miyashita Marunouchi Branch"
  • 2002 Osaka Shinsaibashi "Hankyu Department Store Natural Restaurant Mama"
  • 2001 Tokyo Higashiazabu - "Italian Restaurant Chameleon"
  • 2000 Tokyo Oume "Ichukyo"
  • 2000  Tokyo Omotesando "Okamadomeshi Torafuku"
  • 1999 Tokyo Meguro "Jiyugaoka Grill"

Furyu Seikatsu Elegant Lifestyle Exhibitions

  • 1996/9 Shinjuku Isetan Department Store, First "Furyu Seikatsu" Exhibit
  • 1996/12 Yokohama Barney's New York
  • 1998/5 Gallery Hiroo "Furyu Seikatsu" Exhibition
  • 1999/5 Gallery Hiroo "Furyu Seikatsu" Exhibition
  • 2000/5 Exhibit at Daikan’yama Hillside Terrace Heiando Main Shop
  • 2001/12 Ginza Matsuya Exhibition
  • 2002/6 Shinjuku Isetan Exhibition
  • 2003/4 Oume Ichukyo
  • 2006/2 Tableware Tradeshow
  • 2006/4 Shinjuku Isetan Exhibition "Wa no Kokoro Ten"
  • 2006/11 Shinjuku Isetan Exhibition
  • 2007/3 Hotel and Restaurant Show
  • 2009/1 Shinjuku Isetan "Beauty and Health - Enjoy Cooking, Enjoy Eating Spring"
  • 2010/1 Shinjuku Isetan "Beauty and Health - Easy Ways to Soothe Body and Soul."

Work focused on Words and Pictures

  • 1995 NHK Special: The Story of Yun Dong-ju, a Poet for Korea "Sora to Kaze to Hoshi to Shi." Written Titles
  • 1996 NHK Saturday Special: Program to Mark the 100th Anniversary of Kenji Miyazawa's Birth "Miyazawa Kenji – Ginga no Tabibito." All Illustrations.
  • 1997 NHK News 7 O’clock "Ohayo Nihon." Written Titles
  • 1997 NHK Drama Shinginga "Cora! Nanbashotto 3." Title Screen
  • 1998 NHK New Year's Special Program "Ajia no Shishimai." Written Titles
  • 2000 NHK News: News 10. Logos, Title Illustrations
  • 2001 NHK Special: "Nihonjin Harukana Tabi." Written Titles

Work for Overseas Audiences

  • 2013/11 "Wisdom of Japanese Cuisine 'Fermentation'" "Booklet Production (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)
  • 2012/11 "SOUL OF WASHOKU" Booklet Production (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, METI)
  • 2010/11 Speaker for C.I.A Worlds of Flavor
  • 2007/11 Speaker for C.I.A Worlds of Flavor
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