Koé find the perfect space to find it creative voice.
There is no other building like Tokyo’s Nakagin capsule tower, and you would be right to assume that an unusual resort has equally unique residents. A while ago we spent the day with a man who rents one of the “pink rooms” in the building and today we visit another space inside the cube collection.
Well, in spirit, we are actually visiting three rooms, since Koé, as it’s called, is currently renting out its third pods inside Nakagin, although she didn’t even know what the building was, which was built in 1972, until just a few years ago. .
Koe was born in Hiroshima in 1979 and spent her childhood there before moving to Osaka for an art school and her first post-graduation jobs, but on a trip to Tokyo in 2001, she passed Nakagin on the highway. She thought it looked really cool, but she wouldn’t know the name of the building until she saw a recreation at Legoland Japan in Nagoya in 2018..
▼ The block apartment building lends itself particularly well to the Lego block stand.
With her interest rekindled, she did some research online and found that you could actually live inside the place, and she immediately began the process of purchasing one of the units. Unfortunately, before she could finalize the deal, the owners announced they were halting sales due to their decision to demolish the building rather than try to renovate the dilapidated apartments.
However, interested parties could still rent units, and Koe was very interested, so she started renting her first capsule in February 2019. Since Koe has a young daughter, the apartment was not large enough to be their full time home, and it became more of a chill out lounge for them to play and read books, although they did spend there. sometimes at night too.
Three months later, Koe started renting his second capsule, which had no furniture or cupboards. It became a place for her and her friends to eat, drink and hang out, but sadly the leaky ceiling ruined the fun.
Finally, in October 2019, Koe got her third Nakagin capsule, and it’s the one she turned into a very special studio.
As we mentioned, Koe graduated from an art school, and after finishing school, one of her first jobs was working for Mandarake, the legendary chain specializing in second-hand products for all sub-genres of the otaku world. She also started doing professional internships cosplay, and she has since added DJ to his skills.
Again, Nakagin’s rooms aren’t the most spacious, but with a bit of refitting if needed, Koe has enough space for his turntable and growing collection of vinyl records. As you can probably guess, she mainly focuses on anime and tokusatsu themed songs, and yes, she does cosplay as a DJ.
As she occasionally broadcasts from her capsule, she exhibits many otaku-oriented memorabilia, including not just a life-size statue of Evangelion. Rei ayanami but also general sci-fi stuff like aliens that may or may not wait for an autopsy.
The alien’s name is Manabu, she tells us.
Those who deeply appreciate the movies of monsters in rubber suits will notice a place of honor for a poster of Matango (マ タ ン ゴ), Toho’s mushroom horror film from 1963.
One of the most distinctive features of Nakagin apartments is their round porthole windows, and Koe came up with his own with all kinds of stickers.
▼ Koe’s Manga-Style Self-Portrait
With the building slated for demolition, Nakagin’s plumbing is no longer operating at full capacity, which means the showers in the apartment are unusable. For people like Koe, however, it gives them yet another space in which to show off their visual creativity.
If you’re wondering what that spooky, lumpy thing on the wall is, that’s part of Koe Matango cosplay outfit, and she was kind / cruel enough to show everything to our reporter and other resident of Nakagin, Chie Nomura.
Koe is in the process of producing a series of photo art books on Nakagin Capsule Tower, the latest of which is available here, and she even made a Nakagin sweater.
The studio doesn’t have a bed, so Koe doesn’t live full time in his Nakagin pod. With her unwavering passion for the place, however, it goes without saying that she is quite torn apart by plans to demolish the place next year, telling us:
“I’m so sad. I just can’t imagine this place no longer exists. But even when Nakagin Capsule Tower itself is gone, if some of its capsules are removed and put in other places, as as a fan of capsules, I want to continue to follow their life with a new metabolism.
Honestly, we’re not sure exactly what that means, but if anyone can, we’re sure it’s Koe.