Creator Series introduces the individuals who are using their inspiration and talent to push football culture forward.
City Boys FC is the avenue for Keisuke Yamada's creativity, with original and collaborative work that showcases his care for intricate detail and a love of the game's greats.
Most memorable football viewing experience?
I like matches that Japan decided to enter for World Cup for the first time. Last time, Japan missed the 1994 World Cup by one step. All Japanese prayed for the win of this game. I was watching this match on TV.
Hidetoshi Nakata dominated this match. He kept supplying accurate passes to his teammates. As a result, Japan won Iran and decided to participate in the 1998 World Cup. I was more excited about this game than when the World Cup came to Japan in 2002.
What was your vision for City Boys FC when you first got it started?
I was inspired by GASTOWN FC and Chinatown Soccer Club, and founded CITY BOYS FC in Sendai in 2011. I wanted to make a creative football team like them, but I couldn’t share my vision with my teammates and didn’t last for a long time as a team. Then I moved from Sendai to Tokyo to concentrate on graphic work.
How has it evolved since then?
I kept make a zine and posting graphics to Tumblr and Instagram. Nam of BLED FC responded to these, so I made graphics for them. After that, I was introduced to Le Ballon by Nam and joined La Galerie du Ballon in 2016. At this event, we met SHUKYU Magazine and Liga Toquio having the same vision for football in Tokyo. Until then we had no connection.
What’s new in the scene in Tokyo?
Everything is always new in Tokyo. It’s fashion, art and food, everything. I can’t keep following them all haha. In recent years, the movement of football league rooted in culture such as Liga Toquio and P_LEAGUE (adidas TANGO LEAGUE) is active in Tokyo.
In the J League, plans to make big club in the centre of Tokyo are becoming active. Actually, FC TOKYO has a new big sponsor and the construction of a new stadium is planned. That’s also a movement that is conscious of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
How does the culture in Tokyo differ to other parts of Japan?
Most of the trends in Japan will come from Tokyo. There are different wonderful cultures in other parts, but Tokyo is always new. Tokyo has great influence on everything.
Outside of Tokyo there are no cultural clubs as those mentioned. Because the headquarters of large corporations (adidas, NIKE) are concentrated in Tokyo, it seems to be difficult to receive corporate support like Liga Toquio and P_LEAGUE in parts other than Tokyo. Also, creative footballers are concentrated in Tokyo.
What are your favourite culture clubs around the world?
My favorite team is Le Ballon FC. Because they invited me to La Galerie du Ballon as mentioned above. They connected me with a lot of people and spread my world. And they are really creative team. Also, I felt fateful that Jack of Le Ballon was a founding member of GASTOWN FC.
What collaborations and projects have you got lined-up?
I have drawn graphics for magazines such as SHUKYU Magazine, Póg Mo Goal, Box To Box and Season Annual so far. In apparel we have collaborated with NIVELCRACK, OBSCR (1972 FC) and Le Ballon FC. We will soon release a collaboration with SHUKYU, and a collaboration with a certain football club will be released as well.
Where did the idea for GROUND come from?
GROUND is a project of my friend Ryoya Kato of “love.fútbol Japan”. He is working on making football grounds for children all over the world. Also, he is a photographer and he took the picture of his activities.
Me and Ryoya met photographer Kisshomaru Shimamura and illustrator Yunosuke with Le Ballon PATRICK, and we played football together. Then, we decided to hold the GROUND.
GROUND is held at Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo Gallery where Kisshomaru belongs, and he is directing. Part of the sales of the work will be donated to love.fútbol Japan.