Sunday, March 31, 2019

Crossing Cultures: Meet Model Anima Kurayami

Anima Kurayami
Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez.

It’s been awhile since we’ve actually posted any biracial, bicultural, mixed-race, multicultural and/or transracial interviews here.

While we’ve been working on the War Brides of Japan docu*memory, we've had to focus solely on that project.

But, now we’re back where we left off, and this issue features an amazing interview with an amazing lady—cross-cultural model Alexandrine Maurice aka Anima Kurayami:

Q: Where were you born and raised? 

A: I was born and raised in France, in an eastern region called Lorraine. 

Anima in Tokyo

Q: When did you first begin modeling? 

A: Four years ago, I met the Japanese designer Takafumi Tsuruta from the brand Tenbo completely by chance. He's promoting diversity through his clothes for disabled people, so they can mingle with others and allow the world to progress. He asked me if I wanted to become a model, to parade for his brand, and I accepted. 

Q: What attracted you to Japan? 

A: Japan has always been my greatest passion. When I met Takafumi Tsuruta, I already had plans to go there, because it was my life project. But it was his proposal that got me started. It was complicated for various reasons, but I was able to go to Tokyo a few months after talking with him. 

Q: What is your disability? 

A: My pathology is called spinal muscular atrophy. It is a genetic disease that causes very serious respiratory problems and muscle atrophy (which prevents me from walking, as well as limiting my movements). 

Q: Do you consider yourself a representative for models with disabilities? If so, in what ways are you proactive? 

A: I hope more generally to be able to encourage all people who feel discriminated or uncomfortable in their lives. Nowadays, unfortunately, people believe that you cannot do certain things on arbitrary criteria (the color of your skin, your disability, your sexual orientation, etc.). I wish I could be the example I would have liked to have had a few years ago. Back then, I was lost myself and, everyone around me was trying to dissuade me from doing artistic work because "you're in a wheelchair, so you can't!".

I am not the first to do what I do. I am aware of it, and I hope that many others will join us in time! 

Q: How do you feel Japanese look at disabled artists such as yourself? 

A: I have been to Japan twice. So far, nobody looked at me in a bad way, nor did anyone say anything bad on this subject. Japanese people appreciate what I do. They encourage me a lot, especially through the Internet. 

I know that the country as a whole still has some trouble with people who have disabilities, but that's why I believe it's important that more and more artists with disabilities are noticed (and not only in Japan), in order to help the world to evolve. 
Q: What do you hope to change, and how do you see the future for models like yourself? 

A: Is it too much if I say I want to change the world? Ha ha. Anyway, I hope to be able to contribute. We're in 2019. And yet, in my opinion, diversity is not well represented in the media. It does not push people into meeting each other, since they have the impression that people who are in a situation such as mine are exceptional cases, when in fact it is not. 

The world belongs to everyone, and it is important that everyone finds their place in it. Moreover, I think that going towards each other helps us to learn and not to remain frozen in what we already know. 

Arrigatou gozaimasu, Alexandrine!

Hip Hapa Homeez, our quarterly posts this year will be on 6/30, 9/30 and 12/31.

Also, the links below will keep you updated about the War Brides of Japan docu*memory.

War Brides of Japan videos:

War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan in the news:

War Brides of Japan on Facebook:

Throwing Rice Productions on Facebook:

War Brides of Japan on LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan on Twitter:

War Brides of Japan on G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:

Until we meet again on June 30, I am…

Your Hip Hapa,