Friday, 24 January 2014

At this bar in Japan, monsters rule

Suiting up: Takao Nakano helps a guest try on a monster costume. – Photos from The Yomiuri Shimbun

Suiting up: Takao Nakano helps a guest try on a monster costume. – Photos from The Yomiuri Shimbun

A Japanese bar that features scary yet approachable kaiju is attracting customers.

GAPING mouths, gigantic horns, piercing slanted eyes – with more than 100 scary yet approachable “monsters” on the counter and shelves, customers cheerfully chat about monsters at a bar in Nakano, Tokyo.

Takao Nakano opened the Dai-kaiju Saron (Big Monster Bar) in 2011 in a shopping arcade near JR Nakano Station, with the aim of turning it into a place similar to a mum-and-pop candy store, where children would get together.

Nakano, 51, who also works as a film director, opens the cafe-bar on Wednesdays and the second Saturday of each month, renting the space from an acquaintance on those days.

Workshops to create monsters are occasionally held at the bar. (CREDIT: The Yomiuri Shimbun)
Workshops to create monsters are occasionally held at the bar.

Mucho the hostess monster welcomes customers to the bar. Monster costumes and figures in the bar were made by Nakano’s friend, Piko-Piko, 45, a self-claimed “monster artist”.

“I created Mucho, paying special attention to the body lines to emphasise femininity,” he said.

He sometimes wears full-body suits himself and performs in them.

Hundreds of dolls and full-body suits fill Piko-Piko’s home and workshop, where he crafts his new monster creations.

“I want to create something no one has seen before, which will still be accessible to everyone,” the artist said.

¿Kaiju (monster) juice¿. - The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kaiju (monster) juice.

He receives many requests for his “monsters” to appear on TV and in music videos. Most recently, his monsters were featured in videos for the British rock band Muse and Japanese pop group V6.

Nakano grew up in the heart of the “monster boom” sparked by TV programs including Ultraman and Maguma Taishi (Ambassador Magma).

“In the end, the monster always loses to the strong, cool hero,” Nakano said. “I think many people empathise with monsters not only because of their unique appearances, but also because of their fate.”

The monster boom seems likely to last. – The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , Japan , Tokyo , monsters , cafe bar


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