Most know her as the long-time ShopGirl of Harajuku brand 6%DOKIDOKI, but Yuka is now pursuing her own artistic endeavours! Since graduating her role at the shop, she has been performing regularly at the Kawaii Monster Cafe—choreographing routines and coming into her own as a performer. This is certainly a different side to Yuka, but nonetheless very exciting to see! (Tip: Make sure to follow her on twitter as she shares a lot of insightful thoughts about art, film, and photography!) As she is introduced at each of her performances at the Cafe, “Let’s welcome this tiny and beautiful Japanese girl!”
Why did you pick Yuka Zakuro as your stage name?
I was given the stage name Zakuro when I first appeared on the 6%DOKIDOKI visual show*. “Zakuro” is a name that represents my origins and I’m emotionally attached to it. I had been using “Yuka”, so I put the two together and became “Yuka Zakuro”.
*unique to 6%, the visual show is a combination of fashion, art, and theatrical performances.
How did you discover burlesque, and what made you want to start performing?
I saw the Crazy Horse Cabaret show when I went to Paris. I was fascinated by the beauty and artistry. When I looked into the venue, I came across Burlesque after having learnt that Dita Von Teese had been a guest performer.
I started performing when I appeared in the Burlesque Night show at the Kawaii Monster Cafe—they held the event every Thursday. But you can’t really call what I did at KMC “Burlesque” in the truest sense, because I didn’t actually strip down to my pasties. I truly respect Burlesque dancers who have the ability to make all the people watching their performance happy with their dreamy beauty. I hope that I can be like them.
Do you think your fashion and performance art overlap or intersect?
The performances I’ve done up to now (including the group performances with the Monsters and my solos) have been created with a particular interest in fanciful visuals and my romantic view of the world. I would like to be just as meticulous about my everyday clothes, but alas I can’t be. They don’t sell the clothes I want to wear, so I want to make my own. But, it’s annoying because I haven’t been able to for one reason or other.
How has your style changed over time, from working at 6%DOKIDOKI to now?
When I was at 6%DOKIDOKI, the look and feel of my everyday clothes and accessories were the most important things. But now, my stage looks are—so my everyday style is something that is easy to change out of and I’m wearing flats more often. Though, there are some things that don’t change—like my favourite colours or motifs.
What are your future goals and dreams?
I want to perform a show that I’ve created overseas and I want to single-handedly put on an extended performance. Besides that, there are two other things I want to do. First, I want to have a DJing and poetry-reading event. Second, I want to build a set in a studio and film my show.
Apart from fashion and dance, what are some of your hobbies? What type of art do you enjoy?
I guess you could say that my hobbies are enjoying activities which allow people to express themselves like movies, photography, and theatre. It’s a bit of an exaggeration to call them hobbies, but I like them. My favourite film directors are: Federico Fellini, Busby Berkeley, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Luis Buñuel. My favourite photographers are: Serge Lutens, Guy Bourdin, Pierre et Gilles, and Helmut Newton. My favourite performers are: Saburo Teshigawara and Gisèle Vienne.
Any last words?
“I perform in the dinner-time show at the Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku. If you’re in Harajuku, please come hang out!”
Photo provided by Yuka Zakuro for The COMM
Photo credit: @shojivankuzumi