DAYZ archives

search search

DAYZ AFTER TOMORROW vol.2 Takayuki Moriya

Our Tokyo community is a culture we love, regardless of occupation, gender, or age. We are doing an homage project to a certain TV program, “DAYZ AFTER TOMORROW”, which is passing the baton on from people who care to people who care. In the second installment we have interviewed the video producer Takayuki Moriya. We asked Mr. Moriya, who is at the cutting edge of creativity in making 3DCG to create virtual humans that exist in SNS, about his background and what lies ahead.

To Takayuki Moriya from Yuki Abe MESSAGE

It has not been that many years since we met, but now we are reliable friends who can be consulted on anything.Sorry for coming into Aww's office (laughs).

To Yuki Abe from Takayuki Moriya MESSAGE

Thank you for everything, from personal to professional life. Let's talk about the future again, as always (laughs).

At Aww inc with Mr. Yuki Abe, who appeared last time.

―――What was it that lead you to be so interested in Culture?

Moriya:Well, I was always interested in cultural things from when I was an elementary school student. I was always following fashion and creative stuff, I have an older brother, so I also had his creativity too, I think I was into the kid of culture of the kids who were 5 or 6 years older than me.

―――If you have siblings who are a little older than there is quite a large impact, isn’t there?

Moriya:Yeah, that’s right. That’s why, I have completely different memories of what I had at home compared to others of my generation. Like, from Junior High I was always listening to 2Pac. I used to mess around with a track make, right. I lived in Izumi Ward, and there was this club called LOGOS, it was this super rough hip-hop place in Honmachi. I was hanging out there from 3rd grade JH to 1 grade SH. Everyone was already starting to DJ, and I was already listening to NICE&SMOOTH at home. I think that that generation of Gangsters was in their prime. It was just when OZROSAURUS came out and so if you went to Yokohamamotomachi they would be there, and you could say I just always liked Hip-hop and that culture, I had always been involved with it. But then, when I went on to high school I got hooked on a totally different culture.

―――Something other than Hip Hop?

Moriya:I dislike the same things as others, I started wearing eccentric and absurd clothes. Like first off, I would wear denim inside out, because it was all about Number[N]ine, it would be like a Nine shirt with a Gucci scarf and a Marilyn Monroe necktie. Crazy, right!? Lol But when I was in high school, I was obsessed with clothes, I really wanted to be involved with clothing so I was thinking that I would probably get a job in a clothing store. At first, I just wanted to wear all the clothes, and even though I received a lot of stuff, I was told “First off, you are a store assistant.” I didn’t want to be a clothing sales assistant; I didn’t have time for it. In the end I decided on the second or third video and graphic job that I liked, and in Uni I interned at various places, I entered a Design company, so I learned design and joined a video company. And so, I started my video career.

―――That’s right. So, you didn’t work in apparel while you were in Uni?

Moriya:To be honest I really don’t like pert time jobs, still, my friend Akasaka, who is doing WIND & SEA and stuff, and I used to sell items at the Yoyogi flea market, which was popular at that time. We’d buy a T-shirt and a pair of jeans as a set at a thrift store for 300 or 400 yen, and then sell them at flea market for 10,000 yen. By itself the T-shirt would be uncool, but in that combination, it was quite appealing. So, you add in that The Yoyogi flea market was quite popular, and it was quite profitable. Well, that kind of feeling anyway. It wasn’t enough to make money. When I got a job, I gave up apparel because I didn’t want to work as a shop clerk.

―――What did you study at Uni?

Moriya:I studied Business Administration buy honestly; I played around so much that I couldn’t tell you one thing that I studied. I was with Akasaka 365 days a year. Like always playing Darts, Billiards, or bowling. With nothing much to do, it was the kind of uni that if I could get into a marketing seminar I was winning, I still remember that I fretted over being the only one to be dropped inn my third year. The people around me were working hard, and I thought it might be bad in the future, so I thought I would just go to a design company and to Hakuhoudou. First off, I started at Hakuhoudou, I was doing copywriting there while still at school, but I didn’t find working at an agency all that interesting, so I then went to a design company. At that time, I was only concerned about the media, so I had a feeling that the advertising industry would probably end when the media changed, and at that time, I decided to do something with content. At the design company I was always learning to use Illustrator and Photoshop and I even did some web design. It was then that I saw video for the first time and thought to myself that making movies would be great. Back then I would watch 5 or 6 movies a day in my free time, I loved movies like Reservoir Dogs, The Usual Suspects. Movies looked interesting but in those days, it was very light-hearted.

―――It's pretty clear that you only do things that you want to do, right?

Moriya:That's not true! My generation was right around the time when everything was just about to change, you couldn’t' just look up videos on the internet. These days you can just google everything, but back then, my whole room was filled from top to bottom with VHSs and DVDs. I watched about 10 movies a day for work. I would watch movies all the time, and when I found a scene I could use, I would dub the tape to GV. I would then put it into Final Cut, edit it, and give it to the director.

―――Sounds like it really was a transitional period that completely changed everything.

Moriya:True, but it was a very good time. I learned a ton through these changes, and I learned the value of looking at useless things. Nowadays, people go straight to search engines, so I'm glad I went through that experience before it became outdated.

―――I feel that magazines and books are dying out, and that today's young people can find information through a pinpoint search, but maybe that simplified everything too much.

Moriya:Yeah, but I get the feeling that people are tired of it, and young people are looking for ways to waste more time these days. Like going to clubs and going to real places more often. I feel like they are looking for a little bit of futility.

―――It's like how vinyl records have become popular lately. Maybe art and things like that are connected.

Moriya:Yeah, but I'm not on the side of denying the modern age at all. Rather, I think this is a good time.

―――To get back to your story, how did you develop your current business from there?

Moriya:I think I have always been a strange guy. I would print out producer business cards and go to clubs every day, and I would make commercials of other people in my generation without permission. At the time, there was a common belief that you had to be 31 or 32 years old to be a producer, but I would say to the president of the company, "Who decided that?" I was a very clumsy guy. He said, "If you get the job, you are a producer," and I called myself a producer, got the job, and made the video on my own. It turned out to be a pretty good video. My generation fell right in the middle of the IT change. For example, my best friends are like that, and many people of the same generation were guys working in IT who created companies without even finding a job. These are the people of my generation who are now working in the IT industry. So, although it is natural to think of video as a commissioned job, a job that is paid for by others, or a job that is paid for by a company, my friends were all doing something different in terms of monetizing their work. I saw them selling things, making B-to-C apps, and running telecommunication businesses. I was inspired by them, but I still like being creative, so I continued to make things. I always had a sense of crisis that I would not be able to make a living the moment the media changed, especially when it came to video.

―――What made you think that the moment the media changed, you would no longer be able to make ends meet?

Moriya:I was getting a lot of work from an advertising agency, so all I was looking at were their financial statements. It was also at this time that Facebook and Instagram started getting popular, which was quite shocking to me, and I thought that a media transition period was coming.

―――Seems like you were clearly aware of what was coming.

Moriya:I realized that I had stopped watching TV and spent all my time on social media. I thought, "This is going to be quite a change." I wrote a memo about 20 years ago about the decline of mass media and the rise of social media. Mass media will die out, social media will rise up, and individuals will become the media. I wrote a lot about how the people will become the media, and I was right. When I sensed this, I immediately quit the video business and started a completely different company called Tailor, which runs a matching website, with a friend of mine. Akasaka and I were at the same high school and Uni. Back then I knew the media switch would come and I thought that the social media age would begin so it would be better to change to a new area. So, I joined the company that Akasaka was starting up and helped with the launch. After that when I started my own company, I started a media and App company and got to know people in the IT industry. I was in various places in the entertainment industry and the fashion industry, but from there, my feelings for creativity and making things grew, and I felt that I had to make my own things. I was involved with video companies and CG companies, so I thought it would be meaningless if it wasn't something that only I could do. I thought it would be interesting to do an IP called a virtual human created with CG, so I started it.

―――The creative side and the business side seem very difficult to balance. You were originally surrounded by many successful business people. How has that affected your awareness of the balance between a business mindset and a creative mindset?

Moriya:That is exactly right. I haven't processed it at all, and I still struggle with it. After all, there are a lot of managers who say that IT is a business win-win situation by running the so-called PDCA cycle, but creativity is difficult to reproduce, and it is rather difficult to translate that into a business format. I thought it would be difficult because it is not a service, but then I realized that times are changing. We are now making something that is a combination of technology, creativity, and business, just like an IT company. People think it's great that we are creating artificial humans in CG, but in reality, there is a business model behind the scenes. I don't really tell my friends about it, but I'm actually working on how to realize this business model, including procuring funds from hard-core American investors.

―――I know there are various Japanese investors, but is there a reason why you procure from American investors?

Moriya:If your goal is eventually to take your business overseas, you should go for it from the beginning. Beyond Japan, it's a completely different market and a completely different approach. Of course, it may be easier to make a debut in a well-known Japanese market, but by playing that game you might lose site of your goals. Ours was overseas from the beginning. I'm in that kind of business, and Kun-chan is always right by my side, and so is Abe-chan, who is mostly in the fashion and culture industry. I really like that area, and I want to turn it into a business. There are a lot of creators and people who make things around me, but Japan has a lot of people who can make things, writers and directors with good taste, but they are not globalists, and there are no producers. In short, there are many people who are running away from money. But in the end, they all have trouble with money. There are good writers, good directors, and all kinds of people, but I think what Japan lacks most is producers. I feel like it's my mission to take the lead in doing what others are afraid to do. I still say that I really want to change the world. I think Japan is basically just going to end, so in order to make a winning business work on a global scale, I think IP can compete by taking it to the entire world. People who were in the app business in the same generation are in domestic demand, and with the aging of society in the future, business done solely on domestic demand will only shrink. Of course, I think businesses targeting that market will grow. However, I don't like the word "global," but I would like to bring value to places that are not simply domestic and compete overseas. I think Japan's culture and content are genuinely wonderful. However, unless there are people who can take it outside of Japan and turn it into a business, it will not grow and expand, so I think we have to do something like that and use the weapon of virtuality to take it there. I don't know if winning business is the right thing to do, but I want to try.

―――It was the timing of creating a company/business that made you take the helm, but in terms of the beginning of your need to change the world, is that your personal philosophy? When did that become clear to you?

Moriya:It happened really recently. I think it was around the time I founded the company. I hate to lose, and I'm the kind of person who can't live without doing something all the time. I found this business when I thought I could do something after creating a video company, so I thought I had found it, and now I am almost 40 years old. But the scary thing is that my greed has been on the rise. When you get to 40, people stop expecting so much from you, and most people's ambition goes down. But my greed is still going up. I am sure that the desire to be able to do more, to want to do more and more is rising. In terms of the question you asked, I would say that it started in my mid-30s. Of course, I always felt the same way in my 20s. I have always thought so. Maybe I have a very young mind (laughs). I feel that if I don't finish what I'm doing, I won't be able to die. I feel like I'm taking a gamble with my life, including how I spend my money. I'm not rich or anything, but I'm really happy, so I don't worry about the gamble. Either way, I feel like I'm making plans and doing things.

―――You also like business. I don't think there are that many people who are able to do creative work and business at the same time.

Moriya: I think my childhood friend Akasaka has a big influence on me. Now we are simply good friends, but it is stimulating to have someone like that in my life. As I mentioned earlier, there are not so many people who deal with business and creativity. When I look at the position of a music producer, or a producer of a film company, or a so-called "contract producer," I often wonder what it really means to be a "producer", and I feel that I have to be an ideal producer. There are not many producers in that position, but I feel that I have to be there; like if I am not there, it will be the end of my career. I wish there were more people like that in my generation, but I think there are quite a few nowadays. I have been to many countries, and there are a lot of great people out there, and seriously, there are quite a few. I have the feeling that there must be more and more of them out there. In Japan, I don't feel that people like that are nurtured. The image of authors who create things is strong, but as long as Japan is a capitalist country, they cannot create without money, so there is a strange negative image of money in Japan.

―――It's a difficult environment to talk about money.

Moriya:The American dream is to hit it really big, and that's cool. In Japan, there is an image of people beating people like that down. It's a shame, but recently, I feel like that has already changed for the generation in their teens and twenties. We are in an age where we can make money on our own, so we don't have to follow the rules of those before us. I think it is a good time for people to use their own media and monetize it on their own, but to stand out from the crowd, you need to have a variety of skills. That's why I don't make any strange rules and just do what I want to do. If I do it on my own, it will happen on its own. I think it is easy to do without having to follow "adult" rules.

―――From the perspective of the younger generation, you're an adult, right? I think it is a part of learning is for an adult to tell you about things like this and how to think about them as well.

Moriya:I am really in between generation,s and I have a lot of connections to the top and bottom, so I have acquaintances who are 50 or 60 years old, and I also have acquaintances in their teens and 20s, as well as the guys I hang out with, so I get a lot of inspiration from all sides. It is important to do things with the younger generation, to understand what they are thinking and what new values they have. The reason I go to clubs so often is because I want to see such things. I want to feel the mood of young people, and the cockier they are, the more I like them. It doesn't bother me because I myself am very cocky to my elders (laughs). I have high expectations for today's young people.

Photo : Ryutaro Izaki