The interview in which cute saves the world

6% DOKIDOKI shopgirls Yuka and Vani, curiously cheerful in the aftermath of a Candy Land board game explosion
Photo courtesy of New People

You are perhaps in the market for an accessory statement that mimics pink plastic unicorns jumping through your ears? Maybe a connected  tube top-tutu smattered with a happy orgy of babydolls and hair-bows in the shape of a heart? Fret not, little cream-puff – your kawaii savior, Sebastian Masuda of Harajuku brand 6% DOKIDOKI (it's name is an onomatopoeia of a beating heart) will be making an appearance at New People's J-Pop Summit (Weds/15) for a lecture on Tokyo's “cute culture,” a fashion show featuring members of his store's famously, fabulously saccharine staff, and a glitz-tastic 6%DOKIDOKI pop-up store. The brand's focus on wide-eyed adorable and the shockingly juvenile has been termed “happy anarchy” by people that know about these things, so we shot Masuda some questions via email about what the hell he's up to. His answers were vague -- but they include the possibility of world salvation, so you might wanna check them out.


San Francisco Bay Guardian: Sebastian, your shop is in the Harajuku district of Tokyo. What kind of influence does the neighborhood [famed for its innovative-freaky youth street culture] have on the 6% DOKIDOKI brand?

Sebastian Masuda: The girls of Harajuku girls have a sense of freedom, and they are challenging tradition or [sic] rules. That kind of attitude influenced 6% DOKIDOKI to become the store we are today.


Furry hats got nothing on the cuteness cataclysm Sebastian Masuda's unleashed on this earth

SFBG: For our readers that are unfamiliar, what is kawaii culture? And is it true you once said "kawaii can save the world?"

SM: Kawaii makes happy, no matter what. One form of happiness. By “kawaii can save the world” I mean, and also hope, that the sense of “kawaii” makes people more happy and feel connected and this feeling will save the world from the grim and dark things that are happening right now. A lot of people are aware of such situations, and I have observed this from our world tour, Harajuku Kawaii Experience 2010. To this day, I strongly believe that “kawaii can save the world.” 


SFBG: How have your products sold in the United States? What is the response like that you get here?

SM: We are getting great response, usually because our items are really unique, and people see others wearing the items and ask “where did you get that?” The response is “oh, I got it in Harajuku”, so people are aware that our items came from Harajuku.


J-Pop Summit 2010: 6%DOKIDOKI Harajuku Kawaii Experience

Weds/15 7 p.m., $20 for lecture and fashion show

New People

1746 Post, SF

(415) 525-8630