United by Tokyo Style

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The crowd enjoying the night's music

Tokyo Style’s theme this year was Girls Gone Bad. Amongst these “bad” girls were Japanese pop-idol, Ami Suzuki whom has made a comeback spinning for crowds, DJ Mayumi who is known as Japan’s “Hip Hop Princess” and the up and coming DJ SynCity.

Having sold 2100 tickets, the massive event packed Vanguard Club on Labor Day weekend with a fashion show, non-stop music and all the frills you’d expect from a hit Hollywood event.

With such a successful run, it’s a reasonable assumption to think the event planners consisted of professionals with deep contacts and years of experience.

Meet the United Students– a group of Asian/Asian-American students (predominantly Japanese international students) who banded together to create the successful Tokyo Style events with the express purpose of throwing an annual party for their fellow colleagues and to shed light on the budding talent found in their university network.

The staff consisted of about thirty Japanese and Japanese-American university students ages 22-24 within a wide range of majors. Most ofthem, however were Business and Communication students. They were arranged in teams not dissimilar to modern day business organizations. There was a President and a Chief Producer who managed Directors who
also had their own teams.

I had the chance to talk to a few of them during a private after party. They revealed the details on how they built an organization and gained clout in order to throw the event five months after planning it.

Chief Producer Yu Yamasaki mentioned that at the start of the endeavor, there was a lot of ironing out for the volunteers. Some people would be late and meetings wouldn’t go as planned. However, once they were able to work together as a group and fix the underlying
problems, momentum started to pick up.

Since the name of the event is “Tokyo Style”, it involved a fashion show which could be seen as sort of a separate event that was a part of the shows. The director of the Fashion division, Aki and manager, Maria were able to acquire the Japanese clothing brand, ANAP to sponsor the fashion show which consisted of students from within the university network in the LA county and surrounding areas.

“We just attended a lot of student fashion shows and asked around amongst our friends to see if anyone was interested in creating a line for the show in Tokyo Style. We also posted on Facebook and Craigslist.” – Maria, Fashion Show Manager

The President, Yuki (United Students) and the Chief Producer, Yu (Right)

I asked the current President of United Students, Yuki a few questions:

RR: Are you a student too?
Yuki: Yes.
RR: How did you assemble the core team?
Yuki: Most of the core team were members of the previous Tokyo Style. I also asked around among my friends to see if anyone was interested in volunteering.
RR: What are your reasons for doing this?
Yuki: It’s just something different. Sort of like a party for students just to have fun with other than school. It’s for the students.

I asked the PR director, Taka about how they were able to build the volunteer list and throw the event. His responses really didn’t consist of any special trick or luck. Their plan just required a lot of hard work and time asking around in their individual networks, passing flyers and using social sites to advertise the event.

In discussing the general make up and growth of the organization this past year, Yu did mention that a lot of members didn’t know each other before joining. They also were not in leadership positions prior and learned how to lead while working within the organizations. Yu
explained that when it came down to crunch time, that even though they were students, they could not speak to the professional contacts such as the talent and the Vanguard club managers in an informal way.

In Yu’s own words, “Even though we are students, we couldn’t sorry we’re just students. We had to act professionally.”

Yu also explained the Tokyo Style events and the United Students organization runs on a grandfathering scheme. The students from the previous year who threw the event would become advisers to the new blood that gets the duty to hold the torch of planning it.

The Tokyo Style endeavor teaches students how to band together to create something bigger than themselves. In this specific instance, it also hammers in tried and true values of hard work, persistence, professionalism and camaraderie. Let’s not forget it’s wholly non-profit driven. Tokyo Style is made by United Students not only for the students themselves, but for everyone who ever so wishes to just join in on the fun.

A special thanks to them for letting the Rafu in on their private party and revealing their “secrets” to a successful organization and allowing us to interview the talent at Tokyo Style with Sasha Valdez, the Japanese translator which they also provided.

The United Students volunteer staff responsible for planning Tokyo Style


Below is the full list of United Students responsible for this year’s Tokyo Style:

Yuki Sakai
President

Yu Yamasaki
Chief Producer

Kei Takashima
Vice Producer

Takahiro Fujita
Director/ Sponsor Supervisor

Takehiro Tokushima
Sponsor Staff

Keiki Kimura
Director/ PR Supervisor

Tomohiro Yamada
Director Staff

Tatsuya Makito
Director Staff

Rynosuke Nonaka
Director Staff

Katsuki Sugiura
Director Staff

Kazuhiko Uda
Director Staff

Jonnie Wagner
Director Staff

Mayaka kamata
PR Manager

Lily Ann Gunawan
Non-Japanese PR Manager

Justin Takada
PR Advisor

Ryusei Hiramatsu
PR Staff

Sasha Valdez
PR Staff

Taishi Ikeda
PR Staff

Hamasaki Yuki
PR Staff

Crissy Kikkawa
PR Staff

Justin Setiawan
PR Staff

Konomi Yamamoto
PR Staff

Joshua Dearing
PR Staff

Hitoshi Yoshihara
PR Staff

Tomoaki Inoue
Fashion Show Director

Maria Morioka
Fashion Show Assistant of Director

Satomi Ebina
Fashion Show Staff

Tomomi Ebina
Fashion Show Staff

Ayami Hirano
Fashion Show Staff

Hiro Inoue
Fashion Show Staff

Daiki Chiba
Fashion Show Staff

Ryosuke Otake
Fashion Show Staff

Yuki Higashi
Administrator

Yuya Nishimoto
Artist Care

Click here to view pictures from Tokyo Style.

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