Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interview with multimedia artist - Tensei Sugahara


Tensei Sugahara is a Multimedia Artist/Art Director from Tokyo, Japan. His credentials and talents include being:

One of the most prized young calligraphers in Japan.

The only current "inky tableau" artist of the IFAA (International Fantastic Art Association)

Theatrical Body Painting Show Performer

Butoh Performer

Poet (Japanese/English), Script Writer, Choreographer

Japanese Rope Bondage Master/Performer

Vocalist, Guitarist, Cajon Player

Jewelry & Fashion Designer, Creator of Unearthly Gold Jewelry

Photoshoot Producer/Director, Photography Editor

Model, Actor (for theatre and television)


-- You’re currently on a North American tour, what has been some of the highlights thus far?

I think I should mention two events at first, MASQUEROTICA the biggest fetish halloween event in San Francisco, and Death Guild Halloween the biggest gothic halloween event in San Francisco.

I made three shows on the main stage for MASQUEROTICA with two female stage partners, and one big show for Death Guild Halloween with five female stage partners.

I mostly work in Gothic and Fetish scenes, so it's quite a honor I've performed for such huge events in the both scenes.


and also I have to mention Stylish Madness presented by Synchro Multimedia Group, I made a Butoh dance show and a fashion show of my jewelry brand Unearthly Gold Jewelry.

it's the first time I made a fashion show, so it meant much.

oh, now CEIBA Records, San Francisco( ) sells some of my jewelry :)


and PMX, it's also the first time to do panel discussions in a convention, I made two, one hour each in a row, in the biggest hall for a panel discussion.

I was kinda worried about talking to many American people at the same time though it seemed I did well :)


I'm really glad all those kinds of people love my works in USA :)


 -- Much of your tour has been on the west coast, what are some states that you would like to visit in the future?

Can I list names of cities instead?


Philadelphia, DC,



Dallas, Houston,

New Orleans.

Touring needs a big budget, so it's kinda hard to tour all of the cities, though they are all important for my things I think.

California is the best place to start my career as an artist in USA, I believe, and I'm doing well with Synchro MG, I feel I've done something I've should done in this first tour to promote myself to USA,

so the next tour should be bigger, maybe I'll start the next tour in California again, though I'd love to work in those other cities to spread my things, actually one of my biggest aims is to show my art to everyone in the world, so, you know those cities have population and culture, heading to them is quite reasonable.

oh, about New Orleans, cause I love Gothic culture :)


-- You go by the name of Syaran while performing as guitarist in the Visual Kei band Arche can you tell us about the band and the message you want to send with your music?

I'm not only a guitarist, I produce everything for Arche.

I'm the concept maker, script maker, stylist, jewelry/clothing designer/maker, director, music producer and such. Other members work for booking and composing music too, though most of things are done by me. I also gathered all other members.


so, Arche is a French word, means Ark, of Noah's Ark.

We have a story like a novel, to explain it simply, the vocalist Uru was fallen from the heaven and met other members, and do lives called "Missions", we'd make the missions completed as a party of Ark, and the history would make a "Story", I combine essences of video game, manga and novel. People can enjoy with us like playing video game, or reading manga and waiting for the next episode, or following a long story like a novel.


I have many reasons why I took this way though it's too long to tell, so maybe next time?


but now I'm making another band in Tokyo. I'm front person of Arche, so I'm not sure if I'd have enough time to work for Arche though for doing my own music, maybe I'd take the next band more.


Message... music save the world?  haha it sounds quite typical, though it's from the first person of Arche, Uru.


-- Has this band performed outside of Japan before… is there any hope of seeing Arche in the US soon?

Not yet, though it's possible, my next band is more possible though lol

I'd tour in USA as an artist Tensei Sugahara again, so even if the other members couldn't come to overseas, still I could play our music by myself, or with other support members in my own tour.


-- Pieces from your Unearthly Gold Jewelry line are all handmade by you, and many are one of a kind. How long does it take to make these unique accessories?

I'm always full of ideas, so designing process is kinda already finished the second when I'm seeing the materials. Though they need some making processes, I sometimes have to wait for hours between the processes. It quite depends though the shortest is 30 minutes, the longest is two days.


 -- You are a master of both Japanese Rope Bondage and Calligraphy, how long have you been involved in these traditional art forms?

I'd started to learn Calligraphy when I was 10 years old or so under my uncle's family, a calligrapher family, calligraphy is one of traditional culture my relatives have to learn.

I've kinda quit to learn calligraphy under a master 5 years later, though after the graduation I've always gotten the fist prizes or special prizes from governments.

I love words, kanji, thinking, and the beauty of lines. I can say everyone has different styles of calligraphy though it seems I have one of the best ones in Japan.

I've stopped to try competitions when I was in my university, then turned to make abstract artworks by calligraphy materials and techniques, then started to do body painting with them.

I sign up with I.F.A.A.(International Fantastic Art Association) as a calligraphic painter and exhibit in Tokyo, in the next year will exhibit in Kyoto, NYC and Paris with IFAA members.

I'm still learning how to do my calligraphy. Human body is the best canvas for me, though I have tons of ideas to make calligraphic artworks, I don't think someday I'd finish leaning calligraphy.


About rope bondage, I'd worked for the most famous and long-standing fetish bar Black Heart in Ginza, Tokyo for two years as a bartender as a manager.

That bar offered rope bondage lessons, and the teacher was a quite famous one. When I started to work for the bar his pupil did the lessons though in the past the legend of Japanese rope bondage history Denki Akechi did
 the lessons. He was died some months before of my arrival though his first pupil was quite nice, I've never seen such a beautiful bondage in real. I've learned rope bondage under him, he respects Denki too much, so never say he is a pupil of Denki though I believe his technique is near Denki.

I do unique and artistic rope bondage mostly, it's not taught by him, so I study my rope bondage by myself now.


-- As a man of many talents, what do you consider your greatest skill or specialty?

I think, calligraphy.

Someone called me genius of poetry (I've written hundreds of Japanese and English poetry. you can read some of my English poetry here ( ),
 man of beautiful singing voice and such, though art form is art form, I use kinda same thinking process for any kinds of art form. I hold what I wanna express in my mind, then I choose a way to express, it would be calligraphy,poetry, dance, photography and something else, it's easy to realize how I should do in the specific art form to express what I wanna express.


 -- What field of art would you like to delve into next?

huum, fashion design, sculpture or installation. but I'm into Butoh now, I got some ideas to deepen my Butoh in unique ways, so I wanna try them first.


-- If you could pick one trait that's key to becoming a successful multimedia artist, what would it be?

Stay real to your doom.


-- A closing message to the readers?

I bet it's kinda hard to understand what I do though all I do is art.

For good or bad, I was born with wide and deep talents, it's not easy to live as an artist in this world though I believe it's my role to show true art and the fact a man like me can exist and cultivate people, art is making people happy, I'm working for people in the present and the future in the tradition of people of the past.

I don't think the world is beautiful enough, my hands are small enough though will do my best to make the world brighter.

Thanks for reading.


Tensei's Official Facebook fanpage:

Unearthly Gold Jewelry Facebook page:

Syaran / Arche Facebook page:

Synchro Multimedia Group Facebook Page:


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This interview with Tensei Sugahara was conducted by Alicia R. Thomas.


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1 comment :

  1. What a cool interview! ^^

    I knew Tensei was talented, but I didn't know he did SO much stuff.

    Awesome! :D


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