Azuki Bean Beards are the New Trend in Japan
From the Azurer website: “Azurer, which began in Japan and spread worldwide, is a cutting-edge fashion style which consists of wearing a beard made out of adzuki beans. Currently, there are 1,720,000 azurers in Japan, and the numbers internationally are growing as well. This website serves as an archive of portraits of the azurers we have visited across the world.”
I know you’re thinking, “Japan and its what-the-heck products/trends are at it again,” but it’s actually just a mockumentary (or a mockography?) by creative director Takao Sakai, who also happens to be an alumnus of Tokyo University of the Arts, the alma mater of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Takashi Murakami. Sakai has photographed more than 1,600 subjects since the project’s inception. He communicates with the subjects and chooses the location and situation with them. Sakai has used this intriguing project for some good as well. When the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, he asked his subjects to purchase the photos of them azurering and donated all of the money to the Japanese Red Cross. He also collaborated with Purple Eyes, an organization that works towards preventing domestic violence, and created a project called No Domestic Violence: The Azurers’ Oath. Each couple was asked to write what they thought was the key to maintaining a respectful relationship.
“Speak once, listen twice!”
Azurer isn’t just about beards though. Sakai has also red beaned hair and objects.
This is a bit terrifying.
Do you want to be an azurer now?