“Prizing elegance, sweet emotions, and fantasy more than morals and truth; wallowing in fleeting romance rather than trying to give meaning to life, when who knows what's going to happen to you anyway; ignoring virtue and conventions to cherish only the pleasures you are definitely experiencing now: this is the Cocoro of Rococo. No matter how much deep thought, hard work, and agonizing effort went into coaxing out some insight, if that insight is boring, or not beautiful, it doesn't matter. And even if something is made just for laughs, if you find it pleasing, it has value. Other people's opinions and labor do not figure into your assessment; choosing things with your own personal sense of "I like this, I don't like that" is the ultimate individualism that sustains the very foundation of Rococo. Rococo, therefore, embodies the spirit of punk rock and anarchism more than any philosophy. Only in Rococo—elegant yet in bad taste, extravagant yet defiant and lawless—can I discover the meaning of life.”
― Novala Takemoto, Kamikaze Girls
|Born||(1968-01-26) January 26, 1968 (age 50)|
Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
|Occupation||writer, fashion designer|
|Genre||essays, novels, short stories|
Novala Takemoto(嶽本 野ばら,Takemoto Nobara, born January 26, 1968) is a Japanese author and fashion designer. His real name is Toshiaki Takemoto (嶽本 稔明,Takemoto Toshiaki). His pen name is translatable as "The Wild Rose."
Known as the "Lolitas' Bard", he is a heterosexual man self-described as having the charisma of a young maiden. He has been one of the most active promoters of the Lolita lifestyle. He once designed a line of clothing featuring his own logo for BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT and is consistently featured in the magazine Gothic & Lolita Bible. A few of his favorite things are Alice and the Pirates, Vivienne Westwood, MILK, rockinghorse shoes, Christian Dior perfume, robots, science fiction, taxidermy, dolls, and Philip Glass. He also has a fascination with the Rococo era, and sometimes claims to have been born in the year 1745.
Takemoto was born in Uji, south of Kyoto. As a child, he was shy and preferred drawing and reading (two of his favorite authors were Osamu Dazai and Yasunari Kawabata) to spending time with others, and was a big fan of the anime series Candy Candy, in the discovery of which he was "happy to finally find what [he] liked". He was also sometimes beaten by his father, which he says persuaded him to follow his own path in life. After dropping out of Osaka University of Arts in 1987, he participated in a variety of artistic, musical and theatrical activities. From 1992 to 1997 he made his literary debut contributing serial essays to Hanagata Bunka Tsūshin (花形文化通信), a Kansai free arts newspaper. These essays were collected and published in book format in 1998 as Soleilnuit: For Becoming a Proper Young Lady, and received wide recognition. These essays also increased the popularity of the Japanese term otome, referring to a young lady or young maiden. Shogakukan published his debut novel Missin' in 2000. He was nominated for the Yukio Mishima Literary Award twice, for his novels Emily (in 2003) and Lolita. (in 2004).
Takemoto is best known for Shimotsuma Monogatari, titled Kamikaze Girls in English. The series was adapted to a manga and a film which was directed by Tetsuya Nakashima. Another of his novels, Twins --- A Variety Store Named "The End of the World", was also adapted for film in 2001 by Kiseki Hamada.
The following biography has been translated from Takemoto's official website, NOVALA BOX.
"I'm a writer. I was born on January 26th, in 1745, during the Rococo period. I was born in Ujishi in the Kyoto area. I attended Osaka Art College. In 1990 I worked at a "novice shop" in the heart of Kansai, which dealt with artistic, musical and theatrical events. During that time I was a writer and editor for a free paper called the "Cultural Flourish News," which was the start of my career as an essayist. From 1992 to 1997, the "Cultural Flourish News" serialized my essays "Soleilnuit - For Becoming a Proper Young Lady," which received an unprecedented amount of popularity and support in 1998. This allowed the essays to be published in a separate volume. They invoke what I would call "a young lady's charisma." In 1999 and 2000, I switched my base of operations to Tokyo and wrote my debut novel Missin' for the publisher Shogakukan. Besides writing, I collaborated with BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT to create Novala Takemoto POUR LOLITA apparel, MATERIALLOLITA Bearbrick and Hello Kitty items, and I also go out of my way to diversify the quite multi-faceted Lolita culture."
On September 2, 2007, Novala Takemoto was arrested for possession of cannabis and violating the Cannabis Control Law. After spotting Takemoto walking alone on a street in the Kabukicho district of Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward that evening, a police officer stopped him for questioning and reportedly found .22 grams of cannabis in Takemoto's possession, and Takemoto admitted to having used the drug.
Takemoto's arrest has had serious repercussions for his career. Baby, The Stars Shine Bright has removed any mention of affiliation, such as his Pour Lolita and Hello Kitty lines, from their website. Takemoto's website was also shut down for an extended period of time and replaced by an apologetic note for visitors, but it has since reopened.
Works in English translation
- Kamikaze Girls (original title: Shimotsuma Monogatari), trans. Akemi Wegmüller (Viz Media, 2006)
- Missin´ and Missin´ 2: Kasako (original title: Mishin and Mishin 2: Kasako), trans. Anne Ishii (Viz Media, 2009)
- Little store called End of the World
- Missin' 2: Kasako
- Emily (original title: Emirī), trans. Misa Dikengil Lindberg (Shueisha English Edition, 2013)
Novels and short stories
- 2000 Missin' (ミシン)
- 2001 Twins: A Variety Store Named "The End of the World" (Twins---Zoku-Sekai no Owari to Iu Na no Zakkaten / ツインズ――続・世界の終わりという名の雑貨店)
- 2001 Café: A Collection of Literary Sketches (Café Shōhinshū / カフェー小品集)
- 2002 Emily (エミリー)
- 2002 Shimotsuma Story (Shimotsuma Monogatari / 下妻物語)
- (English title for the movie adaptation: Kamikaze Girls)
- 2003 Princess Scale (Uroko-hime / 鱗姫)
- 2003 Calps Alpis (カルプス・アルピス)
- 2003 A Child Abandoned by Deus (Deusu no Sutego / デウスの棄て児)
- 2004 Lolita. (ロリヰタ。)
- 2004 Missin' 2: Kasako (ミシン２／カサコ)
- 2005 SHIMOTSUMA STORY FINAL (Shimotsuma Monogatari Kan---Yankī-chan to Rorīta-chan to Satsujin Jiken / 下妻物語・完 ヤンキーちゃんとロリータちゃんと殺人事件)
- 2005 Sicilienne (シシリエンヌ)
- 2006 Happiness (ハピネス)
- 2007 ALL WORKS Fetish
- 2007 Metamorphosis (Henshin / 変身)
- 2007 Hallucinative Anthology (Gensō Shōhinshū / 幻想小品集)
- 2007 Arabian Nights (Sen'yaichiya Kishi--Arajin to Mahō no Okaimono / 千夜一夜騎士――アラジンと魔法のお買物)
- 2008 Cannabis (Taima / タイマ)
- 2008 Olochi, super remix ver. (Orochi, super remix ver. / おろち)
- 2008 ROCK'N'ROLL SWINDLE――How to Form a Proper Punk Band (ROCK'N'ROLL SWINDLE――Tadashii panku bando no tsukurikata / 正しいパンク・バンドの作り方)
- 2009 Unhallowed Kingdom (Shukufuku sarenai ōkoku / 祝福されない王国)
- 2009 Long-Distance Love at 14 Years Old (Jūyonsai no enkyori ren'ai / 十四歳の遠距離恋愛)
- 1998 Soleilnuit: For Becoming a Proper Young Lady (Soreinu---Tadashii Otome ni Naru Tame ni / それいぬ――正しい乙女になるために)
- 2002 Patchwork (パッチワーク)
- 2004 Alice's Adventures in Fantasy Land (Ren'ai no Kuni no Arisu / 恋愛の国のアリス)
- 2004 Uloco-hime: Princess Scale (うろこひめ)
- 2007 short hope (photography by Maki Miyashita)
- I Love You
- 2009 Maidens' Trivia (Otome no toribia / 乙女のトリビア)
Sources and Notes
- ^"'Otome no karisuma' Takemoto Nobara yōgisha, taima shoji de taiho." Asahi Shimbun. September 4, 2007.
- ^ abKondo, Miyuki. "Do your own thing: 'Lolita' novelist touches lonely hearts." Asahi Shimbun. July 24, 2004.
- ^McNeill, David. "Lolitas' Bard is Sitting Pretty." The Japan Times Online. Sunday, November 21, 2004.
- ^Shoji, Kaori. "Refuge in the little shop of solace." The Japan Times Online. Wednesday, November 28, 2001.
- ^"Novala Takemoto arrested for marijuana." United Press International. Archived 2007-09-05 at the Wayback Machine.
- ^Emily - A Novel by Novala Takemoto (Shueisha English Edition)Archived 2013-12-12 at the Wayback Machine.