‘Cool Japan’ Presentation at 2011 J-Pop Summit


An example of Takeshi Wakabayashi's clothing designs.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Consulate General of Japan, in cooperation with New People, San Francisco’s entertainment destination showcasing the latest examples of Japanese popular culture, will present “Cool Japan: Old Meets New in Kyoto,” a unique fashion show and cultural discussion set to take place on Saturday, Aug. 27, as part of the 2011 J-Pop Summit Festival.

The Fashion Show: A Sou•Sou fashion show, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. on the Pagoda Stage at Japantown’s Peace Plaza (Post and Buchanan streets). It will feature innovative apparel and footwear products from the Sou•Sou brand, designed by Takeshi Wakabayashi, as well as a new collaborative line launched with New People.

Catch a variety of prominent local individuals who will act as models, including Japanese Consul General Hiroshi Inomata, famed food critic Patricia Unterman, and Graham Leggat, former executive director of the San Francisco Film Society.

Designer Talk: Invitation-only event at New People’s Superfrog Gallery (third floor) from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sou•Sou designer Wakabayashi will discuss his ideas of creating modern designs based on Japanese tradition. Kyoto, where he resides, is an ancient capital of Japan and a stronghold of traditional Japanese arts and culture with an accumulation of artisanship and related technology going back centuries. The city has also become a bustling center for modern creative design, where these cultural and industrial assets are to survive.

Wakabayashi will also discuss how these innovative ideas are being passed to the younger generations, based on his ongoing career as a professor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design.

Sou•Sou's contemporary tabi have been a big hit.

“I’m very proud to present this special event in cooperation with New People as part of the Cool Japan Project, sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” says Consul General Inomata. “I invite the San Francisco Bay Area and J-Pop Summit visitors and especially potential business partners to discover some great examples of Japanese innovation and high-quality products in the Sou•Sou brand.”

Sou•Sou products won two prizes at the Visit Japan Campaign’s 2010 Japan’s Attractive Souvenir Contest. (http://www.mlit.go.jp/kankocho/en/kouhou/page01_000047.html)

Inomata will host a reception party following the end of the lecture at 6 p.m. at the nearby Hotel Kabuki (Post and Laguna) in the Mezzanine Lounge. A variety of Sou•Sou products will be on display and more information on the Cool Japan Project will be provided by the consulate, JETRO and other organizations.

Wakabayashi’s Sou•Sou brand has developed a unique line of Japanese classic tabi shoes based on a design originally favored by Japanese construction workers. Sou•Sou’s combination of form-fitting soles and colorful graphic patterns has attracted a huge following, from dancers to the sneaker-obsessed. Designed to be fresh and fun, each shoe is handcrafted in Japan and made for durability using traditional techniques, putting a vibrant, modern twist on the ultra-comfortable, traditional Japanese work shoe.

The 2011 J-Pop Summit Festival, a showcase for Japanese pop culture, will feature live bands and DJs, fashion shows, a vocaloid music conference, theatrical film premieres, dance workshops and performances, and assorted arts, crafts and food vendors. Full details and programming schedules are now available at www.Jpop.com.

More information about the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco is available at http://www.sf.us.emb-japan.go.jp.

Located at 1746 Post St., New People (www.newpeopleworld.com) opened in 2009 and has become a must-see attraction of San Francisco’s cultural landscape. The 20,000-square-foot contemporary venue features the latest examples Japanese popular culture expressed though film, art, fashion, and a variety of specialty boutiques and ongoing monthly events.


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