James Oliver (NZL), magazine publisher/editor, Tokyo




New Zealand born James Oliver is living in Tokyo for 7 years now. “It all started with skateboarding. Hanging out in a skate park, not only do you try and be a better skater than the guy next to you but you want to dress better and be cooler. I think I went to extra lengths with the latter and really embraced every aspect of skating and really geeked out on the clothing, music, graf. At the same time I was well into football and it later became my profession so while skating took a back seat, the other stuff propelled because I had more time to read up on all these sub-cultures. This lead me to street fashion and in particular Japanese labels Goodenough, Bathing Ape, WTAPS, NEIGHBORHOOD, visvim… this lead me to working in fashion.


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My brother started SLAMXHYPE (www.slamxhype.com) probably 12 years ago now, I started working for him once I was done with football. Then in 2009 we founded THE NEW ORDER magazine together and for the last five years I have been doing it by myself. Almost two years ago we sold SLAMXHYPE.


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I don’t really like to talk about my first tattoo, but then again who is proud of there first tattoo. That be said it is there for life and I wouldn’t change it for the world because tattoos are I guess part of my DNA. Also, it pays not to be so serious with tattoos all the time so I like to mix it up a bit and think that reflects my personality.


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Sooner or later I will fill in my body, when you are a bit OCD that is how it is. Constantly thinking about what is next, or what do certain designs mean in tattoo culture, or if something is appropriate or not although I think I am well beyond that.

Japan is obviously very traditional and a very proud nation so progression is a hard pill to swallow for the older generations and this at times can be unforgiving. The fact I have a child now, many of my friends warn me it isn’t easy in Japan having tattoos and being a parent but I am not really concerned. The fact my sons first word was tattoo seemingly makes it ok in my head. Not quite sure what my in laws think of my tattoos, it is kind of in a grey area, not really spoken about. As for my own mother, she knows I am very much my own person and if she told me not to get tattoos I will probably go and get more.