Goto Izumi heads to Osuga’s “Eki Nishi” ditrict in search of a Hiroshima counterculture.
Space: Zetsumetsu-kigushu [絶滅危惧種]
In the jumble of narrow alleyways that make up the ‘Eki-nishi’ area next to Hiroshima Station, you will find Zetsumetsu-kigushu.
Zetsumetsu-kigushu started life as a cluttered little 2 story shop run by a group of friends selling mostly vintage clothing and used books. 3 of those friends have gone their separate ways and it is now the base of operations and brand name of soft-spoken odd couple Kawamoto and Itoguchi.
The first floor is packed, literally to the rafters, with garments, accessories and nik-naks from indie designers from around the country as well as with their own clothing designs. Products from the 16 indie brands featured at time of writing range from the ridiculously girly to uncompromising hyper-punk, all, considering they are all handmade and unique, sold at quite reasonable prices. The upper floor, accessed by a steep, narrow flight of steps serves as a studio and gallery space.
A kind of shop rare outside Toyko and one of a kind in Hiroshima, Zetsumetsu-kigushu has the air of a passion project. Almost totally devoid of the air of commerce, apropos of its name, which means ‘endangered species’, one wonders how the two young creators can afford to keep the place going. Kawamoto and Itoguchi currently work other jobs to allow them to open the store Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For now, the pair’s aspirations are limited to continuing to create and dream of getting to a point where they can quit their part-time jobs and focus on their brand. Standing in the confines of their own hidden world, I, for one, wish them the best of luck.
Kawamoto and Idoguchi speak little English and are quite shy, but I have great hope that they will help lead a new cultural scene here in Hiroshima. Drop by their shop to discover designers and artists you won’t find in a mall or chain store (yet).
Photos by Junpei Ishida