Sheila Cliffe, for JAPAN Forward

I went to visit Maebashi the other day, to learn a little about the place, enjoy the autumn leaves and sunshine and to meet a very special person. He is someone who I have admired for a while, and who I met at a kimono summit in Saitama last year. It is safe to say that he is one of the most dandy kimono wearers around.

He is also an artist and a free spirit, (he says jiyuugata 自由方).

When he was younger Mac Nakata worked really hard. He had several businesses, but he had decided that he wanted to retire at 50 and travel. He bought a car that he could sleep in, and since then he has done 40,000 kilometers going around Japan. He picks a theme and then just leaves for a month or two.

Photo by Sheila Cliffe / © JAPAN Forward

He decided to wear a kimono to show who he was. When he wears it, sometimes non-Japanese ask to take his photograph. I am sure everyone would agree that it suits him very well.

Mac, however, is a lot more than just a fashionable kimono dresser. He is an artist inventor. Inspired by the industrial revolution and its steam machines, and the magic of Harry Potter like fantasy worlds, he constructs incredible machines.

Photo by Sheila Cliffe / © JAPAN Forward

Within those machines one finds bits of leather, straps, buckles, wires, studs, tubes, bicycle chains, watches and clocks and musical instruments. The function is often not immediately apparent, but they are items that are, in the normal world, relatively mundane. A handbag, a toilet roll holder or a name card holder are as unlike any other handbag, toilet roll holder or name card holder that you could imagine.


By - Ben K.