Yuka Takahashi's new page connects books and people through conversation

The act of putting on and taking off socks sometimes leads people to activity and invites them to rest. Its existence is likened to a switch in daily life, and its creativity is unraveled through the creator's on and off turns. Yuka Takahashi, who opened a bookstore in Yoyogi Hachiman in November 2023, discovers the value of old books and carefully connects cultures through face-to-face meetings. A flat and comfortable space is connected to a philosophy of life.

The bookstore Hi Bridge Books is located in a garage-like semi-basement near Yoyogi Hachiman. It was eight years ago that the owner, Mr. Takahashi, met Mr. Komiyama of Komiyama Bookstore, which has an outstanding presence in Jimbocho, in New York. After graduating from a fashion school, he moved to Tokyo to work as a pattern maker at a sports manufacturer. It was two months after I moved to the United States alone after working for BEDWIN & THE HEART BREAKERS for five years. Just as it is often said that when you live abroad, you see your home country completely differently, and at the time, Mr. Takahashi began to see the charm of the country of Japan in a new and fresh way, and the timeless visual appeal of Japan. I was drawn in by the expressive power of the recording medium that allowed me to relive the experience.

``Up until then, I hadn't paid much attention to photography, but when I looked at the archives held by Komiyama Shoten, I realized that artists use photographs to express their feelings and ideas. Through photographs with different historical backgrounds, viewers can see and feel many different things.I honestly thought that there is a medium that can move people's hearts so much even when there are no words.'' .

He has been active in the United States for two years, participating in the world's famous book fairs "Paris Photo" and " Offprint London," and holding a pop-up at the used clothing store Front General Store in New York. For five years after returning to Japan, he opened a shop-in-shop under the name KOMIYAMA YUKA BOOKS at the up-and-coming select shop GR8. While curating street art and art design books, it became a next-generation platform that connects high street fashion and Japanese street art, and gradually deepened interactions with artists known as masters. She says that Nobuyoshi Araki's work ``Meal'' led her to explore many art books.

``It's a photo book that takes pictures of the home-cooked meals that my wife makes, and I put a huge camera on the dining table that can take close-up shots.Even though it's a typical home-cooked meal, it looks very erotic and raw.At the same time, , the providence that eating is living is shown in its truest form.During the course, his wife was diagnosed with cancer, and he was no longer able to take photos in color, so the photos turned into black and white. I still cry when I look at it, wondering if there is any expression in it.Around this time, I also came across Masahisa Fukase's works, and looking at his many works that were so fixated on me, it was as if they were cursed. As I was there, all sorts of emotions came to me, which was really interesting.It's interesting to see things I know in a different way through photography, but at the same time, facing the work and the artist's personality is very interesting. It also gave me an opportunity to learn more about myself."

What is Mr. Takahashi's everyday switch in the midst of a major life change such as opening Hi Bridge Books?

``(New York photographer) Ryan McGinley said something like, ``If you start your morning looking at something beautiful, your day will be so enriched,'' and I tried to emulate that. Then, my mind becomes fresh and I can have a good day, and I see a different visual than usual.''

He says he is the type of person who continues to change according to the natural flow of things, rather than making efforts to achieve something. He doesn't really have any strong tastes, and doesn't really stick to any particular genre. The ``Takahashi switch'' in creating a store that focuses on photo books, art books, fashion, and culture is only whether the product is extremely interesting and whether it is exciting for me to see. Purity, whether it's fun or not, is the watchword for street culture.

``What we have in common is a DIY spirit.Even if we don't have any specialized training, we just try it out.We make and design clothes, we make skating videos.We do simple things that interest us, and it's fun. Doing this is something I value very much in life."

The important thing is to keep an open mind and develop the ability to make unbiased judgments. If you judge someone based on labels such as age, gender, or nationality, you won't be able to go beyond that. I learned this attitude from photographer Nobuyoshi Araki.

``Mr. Araki photographs everything. Women, children, old women, young people, flowers, etc., he doesn't set any limits on his activities.People can't live without interacting with society in some way, When I think about what medium is most suitable for this, I think that for me it is books.For me, it is the most free of restrictions.''

The store requires reservations, and Mr. Takahashi introduces books to visitors while having a conversation with them. The interaction between the two through the medium of books is invisible, but it is clear and refreshing.

``When people see something from a different perspective than their own, their perspective changes, and that can eventually change their lives.That's the good thing about books.I think I'm good at introducing books that hit on the unknown."

The 10 square meter space is like visiting a friend's house, and your sensibilities will be stimulated in a comfortable way, and your interests will expand. In today's age where AI is advancing, perhaps we don't have such a luxurious amount of time.

``Right now, I have a photo book in front of me that costs 180,000 yen, but if it had been sold for 5,000 yen, I don't think it would be cherished as much by everyone.Because it has this price tag, I don't think people would cherish it as much. This is why pricing is so important.It doesn't mean that everything should be expensive, but I feel that it is our mission to find value in books and leave them as a part of culture. It's a capitalist way of thinking, but I think it's necessary to connect culture in this world.That's why I want to be able to explain everything and sell things that I can introduce. That's fine; that's what's important."

Emotions, innovation, technology, change, and the passage of time surrounding our daily lives. Perhaps because he is surrounded by a rich collection of works that incorporate everything that makes him a writer, the things he wears are becoming simpler and simpler.

``In the end, I think the goal of life is how to live a good life.That's why people wear flashy clothes.It's not about how others will look at you, it's about making yourself look good.'' I think it's important to make the decision to wear flashy socks."

Yuka Takahashi

The owner of Hi Bridge Books is a bookstore that introduces a unique selection of rare and valuable photo books hidden in Japan, as well as books, magazines, and works produced from a counterculture perspective that do not follow the mainstream.

@yukaponsan Instagram
@hi_bridge_books Instagram

Photographer: Shota Kono Instagram
Production:Little Lights Instagram

Wearing Items

mohair ribbed socks