Mr. Kageki Shimoda [Profile]
A new 11 year old - free and extreme
Mr. Kageki Shimoda
"When you have a multicolored head, you have a multicolored heart. It's fun."
When Shimoda is reading picture storybooks, he gets a multitude of questions from the children. "Why do you dye your hair in so many colors?" Shimoda is overjoyed. When adults ask him the same question, more often than not they look at him with reproachful and scornful expressions. Not so with the children. Shimoda's reply to the children who ask "why?" out of pure curiosity is, "When you have a multicolored head, you have a multicolored heart. It's fun."
To go with his seven-color hair he has a colorful jacket, and shorts and tights enhancing his shapely legs. Shimoda's appearance, which has been described by various adjectives such as unusual, extreme, artistic, and avant-garde, is known by all.
Symbolic of that character is that Shimoda himself is a diverse and versatile figure. From graduating university until his debut as a writer, his resume lists more than 20 job changes, giving us a glimpse of his versatility and power.
With works covering a wide range of genre, coupled with the astonishing pace at which he writes, some people suspect that a group or ghostwriters wrote under Shimoda's name.
In the latter half of the 1980s he worked as a fashion model for Kansai Yamamoto, and started to put his efforts into celebrity life in the 1990s. His strong character, which captured people's attention, was also a draw card in television circles. He performed well on TV shows, so when he just refrained from activity as an entertainer, it was rumored that he had died.
Versatility never pays, fickleness, and tardiness. He brushed aside such negative comments, and as a result of continuing to do things his way, Shimoda's resume overflowed with titles such as novelist, picture book writer, children's book writer, celebrity, fashion model, and Shizuoka Prefecture Tourism Ambassador.
Establishing himself as leader of the Storytelling Team for Good Kids
A man of many faces, Shimoda primarily introduces himself as leader of the Storytelling Team for Good Kids.
It started in October 1998 at a book-signing event at a bookstore in Fukuoka. Two years earlier, Shimoda had started his on publishing company, KIBA BOOK, and opportunities to hold book-signing events throughout the country had increased. The sight of children attending the book-signings warmed his heart with the idea of storytelling.
The first storytelling took place at the Fukuoka book-signing event, and Shimoda sensed it was a success. Not only children, but adults as well, stepped into the story world.
At the start of 1999, along with his wife Mitsuko, Shimoda began nationwide storytelling tours. It started out as a husband-wife production but soon gained supporters, and the Storytelling Team for Good Kids was formed.
He believes the roots of the activities which have formed the life work he has continued up until now lie in, "what is needed in modern society is generosity. We need to guide the hearts of the children, especially the generation who will carry the country, on a generous and relaxed course, and do it immediately." In saying, "to achieve that, there is no better way than reading stories," he, by no means, is obsessed with his performances. He recommends storytelling in the home, and continues to further popularize storytelling on a daily basis.
His favorite phrases are, "the starting point is now" and "gradually become clever"
Shimoda goes for an early morning walk everyday without fail. The reason behind this is that he once lost his voice during a storytelling. He took up walking to gain the strength needed for storytelling, but it wasn't just a strong body he gained. On every route, new and old, everyday he comes across new discoveries and new people.
He also takes care when eating. 90% of his diet is brown rice and vegetables, with the remaining 10% being seafood as a form of animal protein. He makes sure that his food is pesticide-free, as well as being particular about non-additive seasonings.
Shimoda also loves singing. He is certifiably tone-deaf, but he sings his heart out at karaoke, and when he gets going, he will even sing at a lecture. This is one of his interests and also a way to keep healthy.
His life is overwhelmingly energetic and positive, but everyday isn't this lively for Shimoda. There are also times when he feels lost, times when he has no enthusiasm, and times when he is afraid of dying. In those times, Shimoda looks up towards the toilet ceiling. Stuck to the ceiling are the words of his deceased father, gently reminding Shimoda of what he must do.
"Hey. Take it easy."
He guides children's hearts on a generous and relaxed path. In this life work that requires immediate action without rushing for results, Shimoda has probably turned to those words numerous times.
Finally, there is a secret to Shimoda, who could even be called "Grandpa", being so energetic. Although born in 1940, Shimoda is actually a new 11 year old. "On March 25, 2000, in normal terms I reached 60 years of age, but at that time I was reborn as a new 0 year old," he reveals.
This experienced new 11 year old with the flexible heart is currently growing even more free and extreme.
- Mr. Kageki Shimoda
- Born in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1940. Had more than 20 jobs, such as a magazine writer, since graduating from Faculty of Law, Chuo University. Debuted as an author by winning the Shosetsu Gendai Prize for New Writers in 1976 for Yattoko Tantei (The Plier Detective). Won the Naoki Prize in 1980 with Kiiroi Kiba (Yellow Fang). Since then he has gained popularity for a diverse range of works in every genre. Active as a TV celebrity since the 1990's, he has taken the world by storm for his character and outrageous fashion. In 1999 he formed the Storytelling Team for Good Kids. Since then he spends most his time on storytelling tours, with more than 1400 performances to date. His interests are walking and extreme (Kageki) fashion. He is also Tourism Ambassador for his home prefecture of Shizuoka. His latest works are Date Masamune Saigo no Yabo (Munemasa Date - The Final Ambition) (Kodansha), and Kita Chosen Daihokai!! Jo / Gekan (The Collapse of North Korea!! Volumes 1&2) (Cosmic Publishing).
- Kageki Shimoda's online picture storybook reading theatre
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