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An Introduction to Japanese Skate-Zines & DVD’s

by Palomino

For our 31st Issue we went to Japan to experience the scene over there. The far East had a lot to offer. Unique spots, even more unique skating and a culture of quality products – especially when it comes to videos or print. Nick Sharratt from Palomino is an expert in this business and did us a favor and wrote an expertise about the Japanese videos and zines to spark your interest. Enjoy!

Toriotoko

Within the first two minutes of watching (what I believe is) Mitsuko Toshiba's first full length DVD release under his Toriotoko moniker you will be aware you are watching something a little different, and also a little special. Meticulously put together but somehow still managing to retain a looseness, with pauses to allow the video (and yourself) to breath between parts, nothing in Toriotoko feels like it is there by accident. It’s like a skateboard video version of art-house cinema but without ever being pretentious or wanky. It feels like this video couldn’t possibly have been made with any other camera than the VX1000, Toshiba manages to do something magical with the colours he can extract from it. For those of you who have followed his amazing series of edits over the years (apparently deleted from YouTube whilst drunk) this feels like a real statement and culmination of all that has preceded it. Mitsuko has set out his vision for what the skateboard video should be and I can't tell you enough what a pleasure it is to share that with him.

Get the DVD here.

KPTokyo – The Kusogaki Project

KPTokyo appear to be the naughty kids of the Japanese scene, definitely sat at the back of the room in class at school to enable maximum mischief. The Kusogaki Project from 2015, as with all their previous shorter edits, feels like it was shot for the crew by the crew, but then thankfully shared with the rest of us.

Snappy editing of powerful, fast, mostly night skating set to a soundtrack of 90s rap bangers (even the cover artwork of the sleeve gives a nod to A Tribe Called Quest) mixed in with boozing, swearing, and a healthy amount of arguing with security guards. The Kusogaki Project is true, raw uncompromising street skating, stripped back to the bare essentials. Titles, skateboarding, credits, end. There’s scratched Mk 1 footage in there but that never takes away from the quality of filming and production that has gone into this brilliant video, it only adds to the vibe. If you wanted to draw a Western comparison then it shares a place with perhaps GX1000 (just without the hills) or Geoff Campbell’s Australian videos.

Street life documentation at its finest, let’s hope the KP boys continue to menace the city of Tokyo for many years to come.

get the DVD here.

Evisen Video

It would not be right to have a piece about Japanese videos without a mention of the master Shinpei Ueno and Tightbooth Productions. Evisen Video is a remarkable release from Shinpei and Evisen boss Katsumi Minami, and is a fitting addition to Shinpei’s formidable catalogue including Dialogue Between Insiders and the Lenz series. To be honest any one of those videos could and probably should be in this list, but Evisen Video is the most recent so is an easy pick. Add to that, Shinpei and Katsumi also have hugely impressive parts in the video too.

There’s more mouth open, actually shout out loud moments than most videos (the only other guys of recent memory that can really come close for me are Sour), and whilst the video is so wildly original, I feel you can still see the influence of other celebrated filmmakers such as Josh Stewart. Shinpei’s work has that quintessentially Japanese feel to it, maybe as a result of the fact that he basically invented it. Tight snappy editing, ridiculous spots you've never seen before, an instrumental soundtrack made specifically for the video, and truly creative skating, not just no complies and body varials which seem to have hijacked the definition creative over recent times. It’s such a shame that much of the wider world are still unaware of so many of the underground “masterpieces” like Shinpei, Katsumi, and Evisen’s 2017 Evisen Video.

Get the DVD here.


Nick also selected a nice collection of japanese magazines that he thinks you should know of and wrote a few words about them.

Most of the products can be ordered directly at thePalomino.com

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