Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on May 2013

Issue #454: Sola Aoi, AV actress

#454 (Dec 6, 2002)

“Designing yuppie trinkets is not in a lot of ways all that commendable… That’s the only reason I’m doing it really, because most of what is out there is crap, and I think there’s a huge amount of scope to be able to improve what exists now.”—Marc Newson, designer

#460 (Jan 17, 2003)

“[K]ids in Tokyo today [are] very shallow; they take things for granted, and they’re not street savvy. It’s sort of ironic for them to be wearing my clothing. I’m trying to show how they are incapable of being independent-minded. They have no plans, no goals, because they’re just too comfortable. Like bathing in lukewarm water.”—Nigo, fashion designer & entrepreneur

#465 (Feb 21, 2003)

“The Washington Post wrote about me and said Ishihara is the Japanese devil incarnate. I’m very proud of it.”
—Shintaro Ishihara, Tokyo governor

#467 (Mar 7, 2003)

“I’ve got so many ideas at the moment, I scramble them down on paper so I don’t forget them. Because you’re only as good as your last plate.”—Jamie Oliver, chef

#472 (Apr 11, 2003)

“Young people want to be famous before they know how to cook, before they know how to treat people, before they know what hospitality means.”—Wolfgang Puck, chef

#478 (May 23, 2003)

“My friends from overseas always ask me why Japanese go home as soon as a show is over even though the night is still young. Japan may be an economic superpower, but we don’t enjoy real affluence.”—Minoru Mori (1934-2012), construction magnate

Issue #759: Aya Sugimoto, actress & dancer

#534 (Jun 18, 2004)

“If you ask me if I am confident enough with my ability at this point, honestly I’d have to say I am not. I believe I can do better and I think I’ll gain a lot more confidence in my ability as time passes.”—Hideki Matsui, baseball player

#526 (Dec 17, 2004)

“I always thought Tokyo was a city run by teenage girls.”—Sofia Coppola, filmmaker

#588 (Jul 1, 2005)

“I’ve enjoyed having three stars and I’ll continue to enjoy them. Somebody asked me yesterday what I would do if I lost one, and I said, ‘Fucking win it back!’—Gordon Ramsay, chef

#616 (Jan 13, 2006)

“People might criticize making children work, but helping adults is very common, normal, in Mongolia. This is something the children do of their own accord.”—Asashoryu, sumo wrestler

Issue #795: Sion Sono, filmmaker

#637 (Jun 9, 2006)

“[Tokyo is] a very level playing field in terms of designers. Nobody has these massive egos here like they do in the West.”—Mark Dytham, architect

#648 (Aug 25, 2006)

“Magic creates an energy, a bond and a relationship between people. You don’t even need to speak the same language. Some people approach me and ask, ‘Can I do magic?’ I always tell them, ‘Of course you can—magic is in all of us.’”—Cyril, magician

#678 (Mar 23, 2007)

“Almost everyone steals my techniques.”—Shoto Tanemura, ninja

#721 (Jan 18, 2008)

“I have big breasts, but I am very slim and I didn’t want to waste that.”—Sola Aoi, AV actress

Issue #773: Kazuo Shii, Japan Communist Party

#740 (May 30, 2008)

“Now, if I were to wear a kimono on stage when I sang, no one would take me seriously. I don’t think I’d look good in a kimono anyway.”—Jero, enka singer

#759 (Oct 10, 2008)

“Japanese men have been put under a spell by society, and they are cowards. It would be wonderful if they were able to adopt the charms foreign men have.”—Aya Sugimoto, actress & dancer

#773 (Jan 16, 2009)

“Japan’s interest rate has always been very low, almost zero, which is unbelievable in the capitalist system. This is in order to support the United States, and this shows how Japan is subservient to the United States economically.”—Kazuo Shii, Japan Communist Party

Issue #788: Barry Eisler, novelist

#788 (May 1, 2009)

“A lot of authors who write about Japan make the mistake of getting caught up in their preconceptions of what makes Tokyo special. They write about this mysterious Oriental city with strange food, men in white gloves, elevator girls.”—Barry Eisler, novelist

#795 (Jun 19, 2009)

“The people here think, ‘He’s a weird director; he’s crazy; he’s a pervert.’ But Strange Circus won an audience prize at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival. It seems in Berlin, my movies aren’t especially weird—regular people like them.”—Sion Sono, filmmaker

#809 (Sep 25, 2009)

“When Grotesque was released in Japan, I was kind of disappointed there wasn’t a more violent response. So when the film got [banned] in Britain, I was actually happy about it.”—Koji Shiraishi, filmmaker