I live for the challenge of something new... What is important is that you should never decide prematurely what your capabilities are.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I was born in 1976. My father was a self-employed copywriter working at home; there has always been a photocopier and some graphic designers working around me since I was a little boy.
My father was also a bit of a neophiliac, so there was a personal computer in the house which was quite rare around that time.
I remember being 4 or 5 years old, playing with it by following a book of basic programme and typing just the same as what it said. Growing up in these surroundings has had a significant impact on who I am now, I suppose.
I started designing after graduation from university but before that my main interests had always been sports like boating and skiing.
I started my career as a graphic designer at a design company, and worked for 3 different companies in 3 and a half years designing mainly packaging and advertising.
By then I had become eager to create what I really wanted and for someone to see my work. So I set up my own website in 1998, showing original fonts and illustrations.
After that my company expanded their business into web designing so I taught myself how to use macromedia Flash for work. I got established as a freelancer after working for another 3 graphic design companies.
What do you do for inspiration?
Go to the book shops, museums, watch TV, listen to music, and "rock" on the train whilst closing my eyes.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Creating "TEPCO electricity forecast 2004".
I used gradation colours for the background despite using FLASH6 lacking alpha video support.
The futuristic alternative design was accepted by the conservatively minded clients and according to the data the relevant movie would be shown.
What software couldn't you live without?
Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, plasma, AfterEffects.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
None. Or at least I don't think there are...
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Most people praise the original interfaces that they have never experienced before. I tend to receive more feedback from outside of Japan.
Who is your target audience?
What area of web design lacks the most?
I think it is typography. Especially in Japan, with regards to Flash only Adobe Illustrator can automatically specify the character fill of Japanese fonts.
This forces the creators to import outlined data, thus resulting in a decrease of available options when animating text 0bjects. Lots of creators with no graphic design experience are quite casual about such things.
On the other hand relying on the knowledge of graphic design too much only produces still beauty with less movement, which normally leads to unpleasant results.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
My first site was HTML based and mainly consisted of illustrations.
Then Flash based websites like EYE4U came along, I was bowled over by those, and started to enable my work to be fully navigated in Flash. It is not online anymore (my first site)
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
Yes I have written three books. One is about Photoshop technique, and the other two are about Flash but only the basic stuff. I have no plan to write another one at the moment.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
"TEPCO electricity forecast 2004" (no longer online). I had only about 3 months but I still took this opportunity of challenging the new things. And it did take an awful lot of effort to solve the video-related bugs of the Flash Player.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
I think it has become so widespread that it will never go out of the window. Technology moves at warp speed, I will keep on learning so that I won't be left behind.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Yes I think it is possible. The most important thing is whether you really love it, and whether you have good rivals.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Working for big names was the most effective. Because the names of big companies convince people to some extent regardless of the quality of the work...
This was much more effective than visiting various companies with portfolios or pleading them to visit my website, just being able to say... "I did THIS company's work".
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
I learned designing by working for many design companies. When it comes to Flash, I learn by co-operating with other people. Being part of a team can mean that you learn from your fellow members.
Also, I live for the challenge of something new... What is important is that you should never decide prematurely what your capabilities are.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
A pair of jeans.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
Casual attire. I'm less than picky about labels. I often wear vintage clothing. My office is very close to my house so I usually go to work as I am.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Never draw a line! Never put a limit on oneself! This is what I harshly remind myself.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
Thank you very much. You are very welcome.