by Bruce Rutledge
Fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto produced a spectacular day-long festival called Super Energy!! 2017 on June 10 in Tokyo as part of his ongoing Nippon Genki Project.
The event, held at Roppongi Hills Arena, is part of a massive effort by the designer to lift Japan out of the post-3/11 tsunami doldrums and energize it as it gets ready to host the 2020 Olympic Games. “We are holding The Japan Genki Project in hopes of energizing people even a little bit,” Yamamoto said in a 2015 interview.
The eight-hour event included everything from candlemaking and taiko workshops to live music, dance and celebrity appearances by American rapper Tyga and famous fashion models. Like everything Yamamoto designs, it was loud, brash, peppy and fun.
Twice during the event, fashion shows featured models wearing the latest creations from Yamamoto. Some of the more over the top outfits were created for David Bowie, Lady Gaga and other flamboyant superstars.
The 73-year-old Yamamoto became a fashion sensation when he was just 26. He was the first Japanese designer to hold a fashion show in London. Since the 1990s, he’s concentrated on producing wild, colorful events around the world. His Kansai Super Show has been performed in Russia, Vietnam, Turkey and China.
The family-friendly Super Energy!! 2017 event drew around 10,000 people.