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Born in Okinawa, the Lovable Character [BEEAR] is Introduced to the World
post : 2019.12.10 19:00
Yasushi Ikeshiro owns the beer bar BEEAR, and also the café, Kame Kame Kitchen. He also designs, plans and retails original items through his brand, Product Produce & Design 4kake (read as Shi-kah-ke). What makes him very unique is that he is always full of curiosity.
Ikeshiro-san was born on Ishigaki Island, and after graduating from a technological university in Tokyo, he began working at an automotive design company affiliated with Mitsubishi Motors. After three years there, he thought, “No, something’s different,” and left the company. He then began working at a company that makes signboards, and while working, went back to studying the basics in design, and graphic design software. It was around this time, he says, that he began to feel a little “off” about working for somebody, and his vision of “wanting to start something from scratch and transmitting that to the world”, started to take shape. After leaving the signboard company, he decided he wanted to clear his mind and went on to study abroad, in England. Whenever he had days off while living in England, he travelled across Europe.
After returning to Okinawa, he worked as a copywriter and advertisement planner for seven years at a local advertising firm. During those seven years, he acquired planning and project design skills, and established his own company, Product Produce & Design 4kake, with his belief that “work is something that you must create yourself”. His theme: his home, Okinawa.
So far, Ikeshiro-san has created Uchinaguchi (Okinawan language) LINE stamps using the goat character he created, shown above, as well as Shima Boshi with designs of Okinawan red tiled roofs, and also T-shirts, made in collaboration with Okinawa and the Japanese Professional Baseball team, Yakult Swallows.
The tote bags available at Dear Okinawa, at the airport, are very popular as well. The design shown above is BEEAR, a character he created that crosses “beer” and “bear”, which is also the name of the beer bar Ikeshiro-san runs in Ginowan City.
Many of his fans say that the happy looking character with his charming beer belly is lovable and heartwarming. In fact, some of his customers come by his bar not to drink beer, but to purchase the BEEAR goods. The character’s belly, designed like a beer mug, has a map of the Okinawan islands and they make perfect souvenirs, too.
There are also other BEEAR items, like keychains, smartphone rings, stickers, and T-shirts which are presently only available at BEEAR, the bar, but Ikeshiro-san says, “Eventually, I hope to deliver these to the rest of Japan and around the world!” He also shares, “I hope to work in collaboration with various artists in Okinawa and draw more attention to Okinawa. I hope to design and plan to create contents that are uniquely Okinawan, and encourage local Okinawans to put their heads together, work together, and be prosperous together!”
It looks like it won’t take too long before BEEAR makse his global debut and be loved by people all over the world.
Address: 1-36-2 Aragusuku, Ginowan City, Okinawa
Hours: Tue-Fri 18:00 to 24:00 (Last Order @ 23:00), Sat & Holidays 18:00 to 01:00 (Last Order @ 24:00)
Closed: Sundays & Mondays
Also Available at:
Address: 2F Connecting Terminal at Naha Airport, 150 Kagamizu, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 7:00 to 20:30
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi