Sometimes a person’s death makes his/her accomplishment more impressive. This was the case for me with Shu Uemura who passed away on December 29, 2007. I used to think he was unusual for his generation of Japanese men and thus needed to leave the country to have more freedom.

This year is the 25th anniversary of Shu Uemura’s flagship store in Omotesando, Tokyo. The news of his death carried me back to 25 years ago when I was a young, cocky sculptor who just had graduated from Tokyo Geidai and was working on the first project to design the interior of Tadao Ando’s new building in Osaka. Around the same period I received an opportunity to design the interior of Shu Uemura’s new flagship store in the most trendy district of Tokyo – I simply declined the offer. I was not interested in what Shu Uemura was doing… or to be more precise, I just couldn’t stand the idea of a guy dealing with makeup at that time.

Now that I am selling fragrances (I sometimes don’t understand why I’m doing it), I can relate to Shu Uemura better. I have to admit that the guy was courageous, and what he has achieved is incomparable.