NFT brand with a Japanese touch: interview with BŌSŌ TOKYO designer Hidetaka Tenjin, operation leader TOM

BŌSŌ TOKYO designer Hidetaka Tenjin

Fusing cyberpunk and biker culture with a unique Japanese take, popular NFT brand BŌSŌ TOKYO is set to reach out to a global audience following its participation in the Los Angeles Comic Con. We earlier talked to the team’s designer Hidetaka Tenjin, and operation leader, TOM, to delve deeper into the ideas behind their projects.

–Please tell us why you joined BŌSŌ TOKYO.

Tenjin: I joined BŌSŌ TOKYO around the beginning of 2022, when the name BŌSŌ TOKYO had not even been created yet. However, as I learned about the NFT industry from various people, I felt that I should do something as a Japanese creator.

In Japan, I am also active as an illustrator, doing mechanical design for animation and box art for plastic models and toys. What I can do is “design with Japanese culture.” I decided to participate because I thought it would be a chance for me to do something useful and make something happen.

TOM: I am the operation leader of BŌSŌ TOKYO, and I am in charge of the overall project and management. I have been mainly in charge of producing mobile versions of strong IP games. I was originally interested in Web3, and since it was a new business, I kind of took the plunge and started BŌSŌ TOKYO.

Tenjin: While actually starting out, I was learning about the NFT industry bit by bit, and the more I did, the more I was reminded that the identity and culture we have is so wonderful. The animation that we have, the culture that Japan has, has a very, very unique identity. I think that is important.

With the creation of the BŌSŌ TOKYO brand, many ideas were born, and the brush strokes kept coming. I really, really feel that we have to do this project right. We have to take it seriously.

–Please tell us about the core design concept and vision of BŌSŌ TOKYO.

BŌSŌ TOKYO operation leader TOM

Tenjin: The design concept is inspired by the so-called “biker gangs” and people like that. In Japan, the “rules” are very strict. Yet there are people who want to break away from centralization, and their character is very unique from our point of view.

In fact, Japanese biker gangs and the designs springing from them are attracting a lot of attention from various fashion brands around the world. Their branding is very Japanese in character, and their designs transcend kanji and even the Japanese language. By incorporating these elements, they create designs that cannot be imitated by designers from other countries. At the same time, they are not only centralized but also connected to the cyber world, which I think fits the next era of Web3.

TOM: BŌSŌ TOKYO’s vision is to be an “identity brand” in the metaverse. What we mean by “identity brand” is that, currently, each metaverse has its own avatars with different shapes and forms, but we believe that there will always be demand for avatars with the same shapes and forms in all metaverses.

In the future, when there are multiple metaverses and people will be able to walk across them, the core of BŌSŌ TOKYO’s vision is to create a setting that is common to all metaverses and has a cool design, and to do so from Japan. Tenjin-san is working on the design, and our creative director, Afromance, is looking at what elements this world should encompass.

BŌSŌ TOKYO is currently providing artwork as a PFP. A little further down the road, 3D models will be created and we will be able to go to different metaverses. From there, we envision a future where we can work with various holders in these multiple metaverses.

–What are the highlights of BŌSŌ TOKYO from a design standpoint?

Tenjin: There are many NFT brands in the world, but I have heard that each brand is often produced as a series of things that look like something seen somewhere else. In the Japanese animation world, there is a culture of creating new things that never resemble anything else, of always having to imagine something new. This is probably because Japan is prone to natural disasters, and it is not uncommon for people to lose everything or their loved ones.

That is why we need to create something new, and BŌSŌ TOKYO’s design was born from the idea of creating something completely new, based on Japanese culture.

–As a designer, what do you think about NFTs and Web3?

Tenjin: At first, I was very skeptical about the coming of Web3 and NFTs. There was previously an era of analog, two-dimensional pictures, and we grew up as digital artists being told that only pictures had a value. Now we have finally found value for the first time. The fact that this has been achieved through blockchain technology is truly a “dawn.” Truly, it can be said as “The Dawn has arrived!”

–What can you tell us about the new BŌSŌ TOKYO design that will be unveiled at the Los Angeles Comic Con, a pop culture event to be held in Los Angeles, California, in December?

Tenjin: We are making five PFUs. These are not generative pieces, but works unique to BŌSŌ TOKYO. I created the parts by adjusting the colors of each piece to create a complex intertwining effect. I added the effects on top of them to create something completely new. I am very confident about this.

–What plans do you have for BŌSŌ TOKYO in the future?

Tenjin: Over the years, I have worked in various capacities in the Japanese animation industry, been invited to conventions around the world, and met with many fans. What I felt there is that Japanese animation is a strong force to be reckoned with among many cultures. I am very confident in BŌSŌ TOKYO’s creations. We believe that this time we have gained a great deal of strength to expand overseas by teaming up with MADworld (a Hong Kong-based Web3 company that is expanding globally).

TOM: Animoca Brands’ partnership with MADworld is an opportunity for us to expand further globally in the future. As a first step, we held an event called “BOSO SCRAMBLE,” in which AR was used to spice up the Shibuya scramble crossing.

The Los Angeles Comic Con is the second phase, and we will be selling the complete, limited-edition of BŌSŌ TOKYO artwork for the Los Angeles event. We are working on this one now as our first step toward the U.S. We are also considering various possibilities, including collaborations, such as with MADworld in the future. We are consulting with them on these.