Nobuyoshi Araki – Photographer
Born in Minowa, Tokyo in 1940. Araki began his career as photographer in the 1960s. With his work “Sentimental Journey”, a chronicle of his honeymoon with his wife Yoko, the young photographer declared his “I-Photograph” manifesto and gave influence to the world of photography in the years to come. He just celebrated his 80th birthday this year.
Naomi Osaka – Athlete
Born in March 1997 in Chuo-ku, Osaka. Naomi Osaka debuted as professional tennis player at age 14. She won the US Open in 2018 and 2020, and the Australian Open in 2019. Osaka is the first Asian tennis player ever to be ranked No. 1 in the world.
Kotobuki Shiriagari – Painter
Born in Shizuoka in 1958. Debuted as manga artist in 1985 with “Ereki na Haru”. He quit his work at Kirin Brewery in 1994 to become a full-time manga artist, and since then has published a series of works which have gained him a nation-wide acclaim. In recent years, Shiriagari has been writing essays and creating visual art works and computer games as well as manga strips.
Stormzy – Musician
A rap musician born in 1993 in Croydon, London. Stormzy began rapping when he was 11 years old. He released his first album “Gang Signs & Prayer” in 2017, and his second “Heavy Is the Head” in 2019. “Gang Signs & Prayer” became the first rap album to win the Brit Award for British Album of the Year. He is regarded as the most important artist in the UK music scene today.
Kazuyo Sejima – Architect
Born in 1956 in Ibaraki Prefecture. Sejima opened her own studio in 1987, and later in 1995 founded SANAA together with Ryue NIshizawa. She was the general director of the 12th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition in 2010. Currently a professor at Polytechnic University of Milan and a guest professor at Japan Women’s University and Osaka University of Arts.
Shuntaro Tanikawa – Poet
Born in Tokyo in 1931. Since publishing his first poetry book “Two Billion Light Years of Solitude” in 1952, Tanikawa has written over 2,500 poems as well as numerous essays, picture books and fairy tales. His wide range of literary works include translations, screen plays and lyrics for songs. He also creates works of photography and video art. His works translated into English include “The Selected Poetry of Shuntaro Tanikawa” (trans. Harold Wright, 1983); “Floating the River in Melancholy” (trans. William Eliot and Kazuo Kawamura, 1989); and “The Art of Being Alone: Poems 1952-2009” (trans. Takako Lento, 2011).
Patti Smith – Musician, Author and Poet
Born in Chicago in 1946, Patti Smith was called Queen of Punk while fronting the Patti Smith Group during the 1970s. Smith is also celebrated for her poetry and other writing, which she still produces today.
Ichiro Yamaguchi — Musician
Born in Otaru, Hokkaido in 1980. Began his career as musician in 2005 when he founded his rock band Sakanaction. Yamaguchi writes the lyrics and music of almost all songs for the band. Sakanaction participated in the 64th NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen on New Year’s Eve in 2013. It was the first rock band to receive the Japan Academy Film Prize for Best Music in 2016.