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HAJIME SORAYAMA

HAJIME SORAYAMA

September 17, 2016

You’re stupid, I said, I love Disney, I love Disney more than all of you guys. It was my ultimate homage; I said there’s not actually anything like a robot Mickey, you idiots [Laughs]

Speaking logically, it was a good idea; I had an ulterior motive and I thought I’d make some money but I’d have to compromise so it actually wasn’t good. Say what’s expected and respond as expected; that’s America’s Disney. [Laughs] It’s Future Mickey, if you can move all his limbs, it’s like an action figure and you can pose it any way you want. At the first meeting, the parts, the middle finger, if you do it like this…”No way!” they said and they just bolted it together so it wouldn’t move at all. But that’s unnatural so I argued like hell. [Laughs] Making Mickey, if you talk about Mickey from a certain era his eyes are like this and his nose is like that, there’s a manual for it. So they said it had to be like the manual, you’re stupid, I said, I love Disney, I love Disney more than all of you guys. It was my ultimate homage; I said there’s not actually anything like a robot Mickey, you idiots. [Laughs] I’m making this, I said if I don’t like I’ll quit so they said Okay and gave in.

It’s my way or the highway, if I said I’d quit, if they really wanted me, I thought I could persuade them that way. So it was interesting for me too; just doing it for the money all business like wouldn’t work; a product that’s actually amusing would be the utmost quality. I was flattered that my ideas were worthy of such a big project and that money. So it was important to use my motivation, my love, my reverence, and put out the best thing I could. I usually can’t stand hired work, but I think anyone would be persuaded in this case. If you respect people like Walt Disney and Lucas you’ll get it.

*Future Mickey
A limited edition die-cast action figure sold only during Mickey’s 75th anniversary year. It was made based on artwork commissioned from the guru of robot art, Hajime Sorayama.

When I argue, everybody listens with Dumbo ears. It’s thrilling to be able to give those pathetic places with big corporate disease a taste of their own medicine

At the time of the AIBO, I became involved with the developer through mutual interest. So like, if the first version of something is really well received, stupid people will just flood in to buy it. Those kind of people aren’t interested in anything, only think of money, don’t love anything. I always fight with guys like that and eventually they wouldn’t even meet with me. [Laughs] They would say things like, “You understand it’ll cost millions to die cast it, right?” People that do development, engineers will have a clear concept of the kind of thing they want to make, right? So if I resonate with that, I’ll try as hard as I can to make that my own, even though it was tough. Because I knew the top guy, they couldn’t be careless, even though I was an outsider, I was able to convince them. When I argued, all fifty people were listening with Dumbo ears. It’s thrilling to be able to give those pathetic places with big corporate disease a taste of their own medicine.

*AIBO
A pet robot (entertainment robot) styled like a puppy that was sold by Sony from 1999 to 2006. The name is an acronym for Artificial Intelligence roBOt and is also similar to AI (Artificial Intelligence), Eye, and the Japanese word Aibou, meaning buddy.

When I had a meeting with Robert Rodriguez, he said let’s all stand up and take a memorial photo. We were so different, it looked like alien had gotten stopped by the CIA [Laughs]

Even Dr. Romanelli came to take a photo of that Mickey’s middle finger. Why don’t you have the hand with the finger up coming out of girl’s head and he was like, “Huh?” [Laughs] But when I actually met them, they were so tall. When I had a meeting with Robert Rodriguez, he said let’s all stand up and take a memorial photo. We were so different, it looked like alien had gotten stopped by the CIA. [Laughs]

The first time I went to Munich, I went to a 2000-person fetish party at Ferrari Hall. Even though I was alone and I don’t really speak English, I was looking up at everyone so much my neck hurt and I had to go back to the hotel. I was the only yellow person in the middle of 2000 people. It was the first time to see a Japanese person for two thirds of them, so they were like, “What!?” A guy as short as me with little feet became their stereotype for Japanese people. So of course I tried psych myself up a bit and act cool in front of them.

I’m always saying it, but the proper way to measure the value of a partner is according to his strengths. Weak people live in a world without meaning, so you have to be strong; I think that’s just common sense. The world has caste and there’s a group there without power, it’s sad. It’s like Alan Chang and the China Club in Hong Kong, ultra celebrities like that can take good care of you. In contrast, people working in a gallery are just in crappy little places, I saw those two extremes and it was so sad.

*Dr. Romanelli
A designer based in Los Angeles. Refers to items created by the remake artist, Darren Romanelli. Became famous for remaking items for a Nike remake show in just 24 hours.

*Robert Anthony Rodriguez (June 20, 1968 – )
Mexican American film director. Known for casting primarily Latin actors, gun fights with numerous short cuts for a sense of speed, and utilizing ridiculous props such as guitar case machine guns. Edits all of his own films.

*Alan Chan
Born in Hong Kong in 1950. Working for 10 years at an international advertising agency, he taught himself to design. Established Alan Chan Design in 1980. From branding and corporate identity, packaging, interior, jewelry, and even tableware, he’s involved in a wide range of design projects. Also works as a judge in numerous design competitions.

 

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