A talk with the founder of a new psychedelic Japanese restaurant in SoHo, NYC
Sebastian Masuda first opened the store known as 6%DOKIDOKI way back in 1995 during a pivotal time for Tokyo’s Harajuku fashion scene. With its over-the-top colors and positive vibes, 6%DOKIDOKI quickly became a launching pad for the candy-coated extreme look of Japanese KAWAII fashion that eventually went global and entranced millions.
Recently, Sebastian has gone next level with the opening of SUSHIDELIC, a new Japanese restaurant in New York’s SoHo neighborhood that promises patrons an “immersive Kawaii experience” — effectively a slice of authentic Harajuku culture smack dab in a major American city.
It seemed like a good time to catch up with Sebastian to ask him a few questions about SUSHIDELIC and the state of KAWAII culture in general…
You’ve often talked and written about how you believe that Japanese KAWAII culture can save the world. Do you still think that’s possible?
The essence of “KAWAII” is to create a microcosm within oneself. It’s the philosophy of “This is something I won’t give up, this is my own original style”. What I’ve done tends to be picked up, so people tend to imagine KAWAII = colorful things, but in fact, any image is good. What constitutes a person’s microcosm is free. The meaning of “KAWAII” differs from person to person, and it’s good that it differs. In the past, everything came down from the top-down from authority, and the value of things was determined that way. But now, with the spread of SNS, if there are a million people, there are a million “likes!”, and movements that change the world from SNS are emerging. I think the essence of “KAWAII” activities lies there. In other words, I think “KAWAII” is not a thing, but a movement. “My this is good, but your that is also good.” I think the first step towards peace is to accept each other’s values in this way.
Do you have a favorite item on the menu at SUSHIDELIC?
I guess it would be macaron sushi. Not only does it look cute, but its sweet and salty taste is addictive, so I recommend it.