Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I started in 1997 when I participated in the launch of Globe Garden in Mishuku, Tokyo to establish my own garden style. GREEN FINGERS was founded in 2002 and after several years in the industry, I opened GREEN FINGERS MARKET in New York City in 2013. Currently, I own 10 stores in Tokyo and New York.
I’ve also extended my portfolio and ventured into a wedding brand – FORQUE, on top of other various creative works I do for installations, spatial styling, and product development of various genres including plants. And since 2009, I’ve published five books including the series of DECO ROOM with PLANTS.
What was your experience of growing up? And how did your childhood influence your work artistry today?
My life has always been surrounded by plants since when I was a child. My grandmother's house is one of the most memorable places, where there were many plants on the balcony. I used to ask my grandmother a lot of questions about the plants. Probably, that’s the reason why I was hooked at a young age.
What inspired or got you into being a plant artist?
Since I started working with plants, I encountered a book called "Derek Jarman's Garden”. I was in complete shock as soon as I looked at the book. I have always wanted to show people a new perspective that nobody has ever expressed. That's how I got where I am now.
There are not many prominent plant artists out there. How do you put yourself in a different light to stand out from the rest?
I wish to do things that nobody does, and I believe I am doing just that. I believe I will continue doing so for as long as I am here.
Are there any people you look up to in your life?
No. The only thing to do is to grow myself. I hope to be somebody that others look up to and try to be like.
Besides plants, what are your other interests?
It would be working out, fashion, and travelling, as reflected frequently on my social media page.
How important is social media in your field of work?
Social media is a great tool that let many strangers see who I am. I have received many messages through Facebook and Instagram, some of which have led to business.
How do you start your day?
I drink a cup of coffee as I gaze at my garden. This routine allows me to feel the changing of the seasons.
Which city do you prefer: New York and Tokyo?
I like both cities. They each have their own good and bad aspects. It is certain though, that I want to continuously impress people in both cities through plants, and that is why I go back and forth between those cities quite frequently.
What are the essential qualities to have in order to be a good plant artist?
It is probably to fully express oneself. Originality will not emerge out of mimicking others.
In your field of work, can you describe your design process and how do you actually use plants to express your aesthetics and point of view?
When I do installations, I create a rough sketch first as I think about the materials I might use and things I want to express. After I gather all the necessary materials, I get carried away in working with the materials. While I express myself in the work I create, I also make sure to keep in mind the client’s taste while blending it with my own aesthetics.
What keeps you motivated?
Happiness. It is the happiness I feel after conquering challenges that keeps me going.
Do you have a motto that you carry throughout your life thus far?
My motto is to try everything that I am interested in, or I’ll end up regretting if I don't do it. All the opportunities are there for a reason. It is such a waste to not make the best of them and do what you want to do.
What are your favourite plants?
It is hard to choose one, but I like succulents, cacti, and air plants.
As a plant artist, do you have a certain trend that you’d follow? Who sets these trends?
I always keep my antenna up. I always take notice of the trends outside of my field of work because that’s where I get a lot of inspirations. People who set the trends vary depending on the industry, but at least I want to be the one who sets the trend of my own industry.
What are the biggest challenges in your work?
There are a lot of challenges in the process of creating objects and spatial design, but all that remains in me after completing a project is the feeling of contentment.
What are your advices for those who want to design something that primarily involves plants or greens?
Pursue your originality. If you learn to do so, then more and more interesting things will be created in this world.
A print version of this article was originally published in d+a issue 97.