HUMARIZINE No.04 TRUE
The theme of this issue is “TRUE”. Reipon and Taiga Matsuoka, who have been working on HUMARIZINE since 2019, established a design office called studio TRUE in January 2023. While we are looking forward to doing our own design work, we are also feeling all kinds of anxiety and frustration. In the face of these realities, we had the opportunity to interview some of our seniors and asked them what we should do and what we should think about now. Not only Reipon and Taiga Matsuoka, but also Matthew Muramatsu, Kotaro Sano, and Yuria Kaneda participated in the interviews and joined the production process, thinking together about the creation of the community that studio TRUE, and by extension, HUMARIZINE, is aiming for.
In 2019, as a senior in undergraduate school, I started HUMARIZNE with the goal of “Revolutionising/Changing Society Through the Pursuit of Being Human” in order to properly question about the anger I felt toward the shitty society I lived in. At the same time, HUMARIZINE has been working to make the world a better place through creations with my friends in order to make a community that can survive together in society.
In this, the fifth year of HUMARIZINE, I have returned home after graduating from graduate school in Spain and living in an even worse society. Many lives have been lost due to the invasion, many unimaginable terrorist attacks and crimes have occurred, but we are still living in peace. Even the economy has been affected and prices go up, but wages do not. There are politicians who change the system for their own convenience, but do not recognize diversity, saying that “society will change”. I don’t know if I myself am making progress, but I feel that society is changing but regressing. In 2023, Taiga Matsuoka and I founded a design studio called studio TRUE.
studio TRUE is a design studio with the vision of “creating communities and circulations to survive in society. We continue to practice with the goal of creating community and circulation through design, coexisting with many people and things, and supporting each other’s activities and lifestyles to survive. First, we will create such a community in Komae City, Tokyo, where we will start our activities, and circulate both our work and our lives. At the same time, we will build a network among designers, architects, and artists. This will be done through publishing activities such as HUMARIZINE, creation using scrap and discarded materials that the two have studied through their undergraduate and master’s degrees, design and research, and the organization of events and exhibitions.
I said HUMARIZINE will continue for 30 years, but studio TRUE will continue until we die. We are small, but we believe in continuity. Coincidentally, when we talked about opening a studio, all of our seniors who create their own work said to us, “If you do what is right in front of you and keep going, you can make it work”. I wonder if we will be able to make it work, as a design studio and create a community and circulation to survive in society. Now that I have established my own studio, I have to bear many negative aspects in exchange for having the rights to make all the decisions on my own. Since we didn’t start our own studio after working our way up the ladder, we don’t have any savings or business connections that we can cultivate there. We don’t have the money or the house to eat without anxiety, but we are also not particularly strong people who can withstand extreme conditions. We cannot afford to invest satisfactorily in the projects of our studio, and we are confronted with one real challenge after another, and one pressing question after another: where will the work come from, and how will we create work? But still, we have people who support us. Thus, there are the seniors in our lives who have helped us with this issue, as well as our usual friends. Now that everyone is here, we have no choice but to believe that “we can make it work”. Although I declared it loudly at the beginning of this text, we will continue to work hard and survive in this shitty society with our friends while honestly accepting my mixed feelings of anxiety and hope. (Or so I tell myself.)
Dialogue｜Start of studio TRUE
Reipon ×Taiga Matsuoka / Writer：Taiga Matsuoka
Interview｜Yoshiko MatsuzakiーA society created by multiplying civic activities and local representative
Interviewer：Reipon / Writer：Matthew Muramatsu
This interview was conducted with Yoshiko Matsuzaki, a member of the Komae City Council, with the intention of gaining hints on how to get involved in “community development” in Komae City, since studioTRUE, a design studio based in Komae City, has been active in this area. We asked Matsuzaki because she is a council member who is very close to the citizens of Komae City, and she continues to be active in civic activities while fulfilling her role as a council member. We would be happy if we could share what we have learned from her, who became a council member from a citizen and crossed the border between a council member and civic activities, as we try to straddle the line between design and citizens.
Interview｜Manazuru Publishing Tomomi Kishi・Shun KawaguchiーLiving and Working Together through Trial and Error
Interviewer：Reipon・Taiga Matsuoka / Writer：Reipon
When I started HUMARIZINE, I already knew about Manazuru Publishing. A husband-and-wife team running a publishing house and inn in Manazuru. I had always wanted to visit there. I had always wanted to get off the train at Manazuru Station, which is on the way from Tokyo to see my grandparents who live in Mishima on the Tokaido Line, but I never got the chance. This time, Taiga and I decided to start a studio in Komae and publish a book, so I sent an e-mail to Manazuru Publishing, thinking this would be a good opportunity.
In the winter we interviewed them about doing things in the community, about working together, and the list of things that occupy my brain right now.
Interview｜VUILD Koki AkiyoshiーDesigning "Autonomy"
Interviewer：Taiga Matsuoka / Writer：Kotaro Sano
It was still chilly on the first day of February. The members of HUMARIZINE interviewed meta-architect Koki Akiyoshi at VUILD Corporation’s headquarters in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Walking straight southwest from JR Kawasaki station, a familiar smell suddenly wafts through the cold, bleak industrial streets. It is the smell of wood dust and machinery that we used to smell every day at the production site of the university. When I opened the door, Akiyoshi was having an online meeting with several staff members. Through the plastic curtains, I could see a staff member in the back removing burrs from the wood after cutting with a trimmer, and we were taken to the third floor, where Matsuoka, a former student worker, and Akiyoshi were reunited after several years in a meeting room about 4.5 tatami mats in size, built with digital machine tools.
The following is the whole story. ──────
Interview｜Rei NagaiーSurvive with Being Questioned in a Hopeless World
Interviewer：Taiga Matsuoka / Writer：Yuria Kaneda
I picked up the book. I often have the experience of being “saved by a book,” and this book also saved me… It was so fitting that I could almost say that it just fell into place. It was written in such a way that it honestly and deeply touched me, as if it were speaking for me in my own struggle, filled with a sense of helplessness toward this society and the contradiction of wanting to still have hope in this world. The despair never ends, but reading this book made me feel somewhat better. It made me think that the feelings I had trapped myself in when I was in despair might be able to see the love of the world if I just pushed harder and harder to think about it. We are driven to the edge of despair, but we have to live.
So, of course, this is an interview, but I would like to hear Nagai’s honest way of facing the world, and I would like her to hear the despair we are feeling, and I would like to make this a time for her to face the world as it is. With these feelings, I anxiously wait to meet Nagai.
Dialogue｜To Close No.04
Reipon × Taiga Matsuoka / Writer：Taiga Matsuoka