While I was in Japan this fall, I met with Japanese designers and other cool people who have influence on youth-culture of Japan today. I interviewed these people with the goal to introduce their work while at the same time, to get a more personal view of them as individuals. I also asked them to share their thoughts on various topics about Japan. My heart was filled with appreciation as these people were kind enough to take time out of their super busy schedules to make it happen.

The first people I met was Hashio and Take from Nincompoop Capacity. Nincompoop Capacity is a underground U.K. punk influenced fashion brand from Tokyo, with their original store in Koenji and their newer second store in the backstreets of Harajuku. Nincompoop design and make the clothing for their brand themselves and sell a wide range of original, one-off remakes, and vintage clothing.

2010年の秋、日本でかっこいい事をしている人達、主にデザイナーやモデルさんをインタビューさせて頂きました。Made with Japanのインタビューの目的は世界に彼らの作品や仕事を紹介するだけでわなく、個人の考えやフィロソフィーの事を話すこと。その他、「日本」について様々なトピックを語ります。皆めちゃくちゃ忙しいスケジュールの中、インタビューさせて頂く時間を作ってくれました。一人一人に対しての感謝の気持ちと会えた喜びで胸がいっぱいになりました。本当にありがとう。

東京に着いた一週間目に会ってくれたのは高円寺と原宿でオリジナル作、リメーク作、古着をショップに並べている「Nincompoop Capacity」のオーナー兼デザイナー、はしおーさんとタケさんでした。Nincompoop CapacityはU.K.パンク乗りのストリートブランドです。



MADE WITH JAPAN: ニンカンプープキャパシティーとインタビュー

Place: Nincompoop Capacity Harajuku
A: Interviewer Allan from Made with Japan
H: Interviewee Hashio from Nincompoop Capacity

A: Let’s start off hearing about when started your brand Nincompoop Capacity?
A: まず、Nincompoop Capactiyはいつ始めたんですか?

H: Um, I started the store when I was 24 years old, but I had started the brand before that. That was around 4 years ago after I graduated from school at the age of 22.
H: え~っと、お店は24歳の時に初めて、ブランドはその前からありました。ブランド自体は四年前にありました。学校卒業してから、22のとき。

A: What were the beginnings of Nincompoop Capacity like and what motivated you to get started?
A: Nincompoop Capactiyはどう言うきっかけで始めたんですか?

H: The store, we started on impulse kind of. We were like, maybe we should start a shop. The brand started on a natural ebb and flow. I was always making clothes and I felt I should come up with a name. That was when Take, came down to Tokyo so I asked him if he would be interested in making Nincompoop Capacity together.

A: So you were making the clothes you felt like creating, just without a brand name.
A: 自分の好きな物を作っていたけど、ブランド名は無かったんですね。

H: It wasn’t like I was making clothes for anyone to sell at the time. I mainly started by creating remake clothing for myself to wear. But I felt I want to make this my full time job, so I started Nincompoop Capacity.
H: 誰かのために商品として作っていた訳でもなくて、自分で着るためにリメークとか、着たいなって思う服をちょっとだけ作っていて、もうそろそろ仕事にしたいなとは思っていたので、始めました。

A: Okay, how did you guys come up with the name Nincompoop Capacity?
A: じゃー、ブランド名、ニンカンプープ・キャパシティーはどう決まったんですか?

H: I wanted a name that was a little different. But I’m not good with stuff like that, so I was using a dictionary on my cell phone browsing through words. I’ve always like the letter P so I started looking for a word with a lot of P’s. When I came across the word “nincompoop,” I was excited because there were a lot of p’s in it. (laughs) Then the word even had a playful nuance of stupidity to it which I liked. And the word capacity, I simply liked and wanted in the brand name. Put the two together and it sounded cool so I went with it. Don’t you think  P is cool? I’m not sure how it sounds to English speaking people though…
H: え~なんか、なんだろうちょっと変な名前がよくて。でもそういうの決めるの苦手なんで、携帯の辞書で。それで、アルファベットのPが好きで。Pがいっぱい入ってるのがいいなと、思ってて。それで探してたらNincompoopがでてきて、あ~Pがいっぱいあると思って。(笑い)

A: Weeeeell. I thought it was a very strange name. (laughs)
A: まー。変わった名前だなっとは思いました。(笑

H: When foreigners come to my store it’s definitely because of the name. They’re like, “what is this?” it says Nincompoop Capacity on the sign and laughs.
H: 外国の人が決行見に来てくれたりして、絶対名前のおかで。看板にNincompoop Capacityって書いてたからーって絶対笑ってくれる。なにこれ?ってね。

A: Do you get a lot of customers from abroad?
A: 外国からのお客さまは多いですか?

H: Yeah, especially for our store in Koenji.
H: そうっすねー、特に高円寺の方は外国人の人が多くて。

A: Really? Are there a lot of foreigners in that area?
A: あのエリアって決行外国の人達が多いんですか?

H: I’m not sure why, but I think Koenji has become a quite popular tourist spot.
H: どうなんだろう。でも多分高円寺がちょっとした観光スポットとして知られてるようになってるのかもしれませんね。

A: What kind of stuff do they often buy?
A: NPCでどんな物買っていきますか?

H: Remakes and some of our original wear as well.
H: 特にリメークとか一点ものは人気ですね。

A: So, are you guys thinking about marketing to international markets?
A: 海外をターゲットはしてないんですか?

H: Right now we aren’t. But I want to try if it’s possible though.
H: 今のところはしてないですね。できればやってみたいけど。

A: I’m sure the fashion taste of foreigners and body build must be very different from Japanese. Do you ever feel that is an barrier for your brand?
A: 外国人のテーストとか体系とか日本人と違うんじゃないですか?そういうのには、壁を感じますか?

H: Yeah. There are definitely more taller and bigger people compared to Japanese. I never really thought about it, but It’s made me realize how much more my clothes suites Japanese people.
H: ある。やっぱり背大きかったり、がたいよかったりする人たちが多いと思うんで。そう考えると想像以上に日本人向けなんだなとは思いました。

A: Nincompoop Capacity does remakes, your original line, and some vintage too right? Can you show me some of your clothes?
A: NPCはリメークとかオリジナルとか確か古着もおいてるんですよね?服を見せてもらってもいいですか?

H: Yeah, we’re a mix of one-off remakes, original and vintage clothing. These are remakes, This one too.
H: リメークとオリジナルと古着のミックスですね。このへんはリメークで。これもリメークで。


H: Stuff like this we sew ourselves from scratch.
H: これとかは最初から、一からつくってます。


A: I only see one of these. Do you make only one piece of your original line?
A: オリジナル作は一着しか作らないんですか?

H: No no, we make them in different sized and colors as well.
H: いや、このへんサイズとか色別のも作ってますよ。

A: When I looked at pictures of the Koenji store, there just seemed to be a lot more stuff in general.
A: 高円寺のお店の写真を見ると、決行古着もだけど色んなものおいてる風に見えましたけど。

H: Yup. You’re right. Right now the Koenji store carries mostly used and vintage clothing with some of our original stuff as well.
H: はい、そうですね。今は高円寺の方は結構古着が多いお店で。一点ものちょっと並んでるかんじですね。

A: Oh! This one. I really like this series.
A: あ!これだ!このシリーズかなりかっこいい。

H: This is something we started recently.
H: 最近始めたやつです。


A: How is this made? (pointing at a pair of sneakers with metal plate attachments)

H: I used some of the parts that were leftover from when we were building this store. (laughs)
H: この店を始める時に大工してて、その時から余ったもので。(笑)

A: Cooool. Do you have any personal favorites? Or something you feel that represents Nincompoop Capacity?
A: へ~かっけえ〜。はしおーさん的に自信作はありますか?俺らはこれ、見たいなの。

H: I would say our setups. The setups that match bottom and top might be what we’re most well known for. We’ve been making these every year. We make them from all kinds of material too for example bedsheets.
H: セットアップかな。上と下で合わせたりできる物は決行定番かもしれませんね。ここら辺は毎年作ってますね。あとは、ベッドシーツとかを生地にして、こういうのとかも作ってます。

A: Yeah, I saw the ones with bold stripes and neon colored ones too!
A: ストライプのやつとかネオン色のやつとかもありましたよ!

A: U~m. Can you share with us about the shop’s and brand’s concept and your philosophy for designing clothes?
A: え~っと。ショップとブランドのコンセプトとフィロソフィーを少し聞かせて貰っていいですか?

H: Basically, our original stuff we make so that pretty much anyone can wear. Guys and girls, tall or short, fat or skinny. We put a lot of thought into designing cuts so when anyone wears it, they would feel it’s a good fit. We use stretchy material sometimes, which helps.

H: 基本的にオリジナルは、誰でも着れるって言うか、男も女も、背の高い人も低い人も、太った人も痩せた人も何となく着た時にサイズが、あ、ちょうどいいやと思えるような形を心がけてます。だから延びるストレッチ素材も使ったりします。

A: So to you it’s not only about the style, but you put practicality into the equation as well.
A: スタイルだけでわなくて、実用性のことも考えてるんですね。

H: Yeah, we wrap our minds around a lot of factors like that. Also comfortability is important too.
As for the remakes, we try to make stuff that no one can copy. Until recently, we weren’t doing remakes because in Japan, there are a lot of people doing it. They look at a finished remake and think oh, I can do this too and I didn’t like that. But I recently thought that’s okay. If someone wants to copy, let them copy but as long as we were the first ones to do it. Now, I just think that the important thing is to continue doing it and let people know that we’re the ones creating our clothing. So getting over that hump has expanded our horizons a bit.

H: そう。そういうのは結構考えてる。着やすさとかもすごい考えてる。

A: It is difficult to be happy about being copied, however it is a form of flattery, a sign that people look up to you guys. I get the impression from both your remakes and originals, that Nincompoop Capacity has fun experimenting with many unique styles and material. There’s definitely a strong D.I.Y. and free spirit image from what I gather.

A: コピーされて喜ぶ人も少ないと思うけど、評価でもありますからね。

A: If you were to categorize Nincompoop Capacity, where would you be?
A: ジャンルで言ったら、NPCはなんなんでしょうか?

H: For the most part, I think that we’re just casual but there is a punk element in our heart and spirit. There is a lot we rebel against. I’m also not good at socializing and I’m the type of person that dislikes things quickly. At the same time, I easily think that we’re the best too. (laughs) In that sense, I guess we’re sort of punk.
H: 基本的にはキャジュアルでいいと思うんですけど。やってる精神と言うか心はパンク。色んなものに反発はしてるから。あまり人とうまく接することもできないし。色んなものを嫌いになっちゃうタイプで..結構僕らが一番ってすぐ思っちゃう。(笑)そういう意味でわパンクかな?


A: Are there any strong influences to you and Nincompoop Capacity? Like music or people.
A: 個人的にもブランドにも影響受けてきたのってなんですか?音楽とか、人とか

H: There aren’t too many things I feel that I’ve been influenced by. But Hiroshi Fujiwara the founder of Head Porter would be one. He’s a famous Japanese fashion icon from a long time ago. Hmmm (trying to think of anyone else) Yeah, that’s the one person that has influenced me. Was because of him that I wanted to come out to Harajuku. He was doing a lot of cool stuff when he was around my age. That’s about it for people. But ofcourse I am constantly being influenced by my partner Take and also Cathy (nickname) who is mostly at the Koenji shop. We all have different interests so we each bring something different to the plate.

H: 影響されたものはあまりいないんだけど、ヘッドポーターの設立者、藤原ヒロシさんかな?日本の有名なファッションアイコンであって、ずっと昔から。あとはなんだろうなー。一番影響されてるのは彼。それで原宿に来ようと思った。彼は今の僕らぐらいの年齢からやってたこととか凄いなと思って。人はそれくらいかもしれない。

A: How do you guys unify the differences between your members?
A: それをどうやってまとめてるんですか?

H: That, we don’t have to. We each do what we want to and that becomes Nincompoop Capacity.
H: それはまとめないで、自分達の好きなことをやってて、それがNincompoop Capacityになる.

H: . . . There are many things that I do not understand and disagree with lately.
H: . . .最近納得いかない事が多い。

A: Like what?
A: 例えば?

H: Like, it’s no fun because I feel like the gap between fast fashion and vintage clothing shops or brands like us has become too far apart. The shoppers too ofcourse. There are so many different kinds of stores in Harajuku. There aren’t too many places in the world like this I think. So for the people that like underground fashion, if you’re going to come out to Harajuku, why not take a look at Forever 21 for example. Or for the people that usually shop only at at Forever, why not explore what’s going on in the little back streets of Harajuku?

H: なんか面白くないなと思って。

A: People are becoming narrow-minded?
A: 頭固くなっちゃうんですね?

H: Yeah.
H: そうそう。

A: What shops or people do you think are big influences on youth culture in Tokyo right now?
A: 今の東京のユースカルチャーを影響してるのは誰・何だと思いますか?

H: When you look at it as a total, the fast fashion giants are definitely a big influence especially with the economic recession playing a large role in customers’ purchases. But in our circle of underground fashion, there’s a store named Dog and I think they influence youth culture. There’s one in Harajuku as well as Koenji.
H: 全体的に見ると、まー確かに不況な影響もあるしファストファッションがでかいかもしれませんね。でもうちらの中でわDogって言うお店があるんですけど。高円寺にもあって。若い人から指示受けてるお店だと思いますね。

A: So even during tough times like this, underground fashion’s foundation is still strong?
A: アンダーグランドファッションの土台は今もちゃんとあって、強くささえているんですね。

H: Yees, or at least that’s what I would like to believe. The scene has shrunk compared to before though. When I first came to Tokyo 6 to 7 years ago, there were more people looking. People were looking for their own store. I don’t see that as much anymore. Dog was very popular from back then, and they are still going strong.
H: はい、僕はそうしんじたい。減ってるとは思いますけど。僕が東京に来た時、6-7年前はもっと皆探そうとしてた。自分だけのお店とかを探そうとしてて。最近そう感じないかも。そのころからいい感じに指示されてるのは変わらずあるのはDogだと思います。

A: And ofcourse Nincompoop right?!
A: と、もちろんNincompoopも!

H: Hahaha. Maybe from now.
H: ははは。うちらはこれからで。


A: Have you consciously tried to observe Japan or compare with other cultures?
A: はしおーさんは日本を客観的に見ようと意識したことありますか?

H: To be honest no, but I really like Japan. Not really Japan, but Tokyo. I’ll probably never go back to Hokkaido prefecture where I’m originally from. Yeah. I probably love Tokyo so much that many things irritate me. Recently, it’s not clothing but politicians and the government.
H: ぶっちゃけないけど、日本がすごく好きなんで。日本って言うか東京が。多分北海道にはかえる帰る事ないと思うん。はい. もしかしたら好きすぎて色々イライラしちゃうんですよね。最近は洋服っていうより政治がイライラする。

A&H: Hahahaha
A&H: はははは

H: I’ve never been interested in these topics before. But I started to from about a year ago.
H: ずっとそんな事なかったし。興味全くなかったんですけどね。この一年興味もちだしました。

A: Do you put emotions like this to work with your brand?
A: そういう感情とかをブランドと一緒にしちゃうこととかはあるんでしょうか?

H: We like clothes. So everything for us transfers over to clothing. Whether we’re doing so consciously or unconsciously, I think it shows.
H: やっぱり僕らは、洋服がすきなんで。なんでも洋服に置き換えるんですよね。意識してたりしてなくても、服に現れると思う。

A: Cool. So what are some things you like about Japan?
A: じゃー日本の好きな事は?

H: Things I like about Japan… Hmmmm. Hehehe. The food is great.
H: 日本の好きな事…うーん。へへへ。ご飯が美味しい。

A: That’s for sure.
A: 間違いないっすね。

H: Not only Japanese food but you can eat food from many different countries. Also I think Japan is a very safe and peaceful country, everyone is kind, everyone speaks Japanese. Television shows are fun to watch.
H: 色んな国の料理も食べれるとこ。あとは平和で、あとわ皆親切で、日本語も通じるし。あとわTVが面白い。

A: For sure again to all of that! I’m always sad that I can’t turn on the TV to watch all the fun Japanese shows when I’m in the U.S..So it seems like you know the good things about Japan even though you’ve never been to other countries to compare.
A: それも間違いない!テレビに関しては、アメリカに住んでてテレビつけた時、日本の番組が見えないのはいまだに寂しいですね。意外と外にでてなくても、色々日本のいいとこ分かってるんですね。

A:What about some things you don’t like about Japan?

H: Um, maybe the fact that everything costs money. For example, there are public restrooms in Shinjuku that  ask you to put money in… Or it costs money to make a identification card even though we’re paying taxes. Everywhere you go, money money money.
H: えっと。なんでもお金かかる事。たとえば新宿とかトイレ入るだけででお金入れて下さいって、書いてあるトイレもあったりするし。公的機関っていうんですか?自分の身分証明書、を作るためにもお金かかるとか。税金も払ってるのに。なんでも金金金ってね。

A: I didn’t know about that. Japanese government, please try harder when using our tax money!
A: 確かに、日本の政治ももっと頑張ってくれよ!

If you live in the Tokyo area or visiting, please go see Hashio, Take, and their cute little dog (he makes a couple appearances in the photos) at one of their stores and buy some Nincompoop Capacity. Thank you Hashio and Take!

Harajuku Store

Koenji Store



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  1. I love Nincompoop Capacity for being truly original in the more underground scene of Tokyo street fashion. One of my favorite things mentioned was the idea that the fast fashion and the undeground scenes are so opposite…But its interesting to think about the idea of being more open minded and mixing and embracing what is truly your own personal style.

    I also agree with the DIY. When I spent time going to these shops in Tokyo, and even in the US, you always think “Wow, I could do that myself.” But the thing about shops like Nincompoop Capacity is that they do indeed create ORIGINAL ideas, and whether or not people copy them, they started the trend, and people followed it because it was truly innovative, creative, and they loved it. I wish I could find more shops like this in America…Mad props to shops like Nincompoop Capacity for staying real and keeping true to their vision.

  2. admin says:

    Hey there. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview and I appreciate your commentary on Nincompoop Capacity and Tokyo street fashion.

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