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Basing himself in Kyoto, Issei Morinaka just released his online part from LRG website in the US. We caught up with him and asked how the part came about, some behind the scene stories and also his view on skateboarding.

Interview by VHSMAG Photos by Shinsaku Arakawa Special thanks: Board Walk Sports Kyoto


VHSMAG(V): Firstly, how did you decide to come up with this part and how do you feel now that it’s done?

Issei Morinaka(M): Two or three years ago, there weren’t many filmers in Kyoto and I was looking for one. Right at that time I met a skater name Jonas from Germany. He was studying not only Japanese and also filming and photography. He told me that he wanted to film a little video with me as a memory of Kyoto skate life and started filming with him. We even filmed on his last day in Japan. When I realized that I finally had an environment where I could film a part, Jonas flew back so I decided to get filming equipment myself. Then skaters around me started getting cameras as well, and that sparked up my motivation to film even more.
I started practicing my tricks at a local park and as they got wired, I took them to the streets. I think getting footage and photos is the least I can do for my sponsors so working on a part is nothing special.
I really skated my ass off for this part. If I didn’t have a ride, I’d push to spots. I was pushing dozen kilometers to my local park too and on my way back, I’d push switch to keep my muscle balance.
And also I filmed a lot. Even when someone said the footage is good, I kept filming it until I was really satisfied. I diN7t have a deadline so I took time to work on this. I’m finally satisfied with this part.

V: The part was released from LRG in the US. How did this come about?

M: I had some others of where to release my part from. I was trying to figure it out for a few months and since my dream was to release my part from the US and have as many people as people watch my part, I asked LRG to check out my part. I never thought it’d work but fortunately it did.

V: How long did you film for?

M: For about two years. I have enough unused footage to make a couple more parts too (laughs).

V: How was the filming like?

M: I found some of the spots and others were brought to me. I looked for spots so much that one time I found myself at an abandoned factory deep in the woods, kind of like the one in Mad Max. I freaked out and ran away. Most of the spots in Kyoto aren’t known so I hope this part will make skaters come visit Kyoto. You can check out some temple, skate an amazing spot, check out other temple, and then go back to skating again. You can get good ramen or tea ceremony dishes at night too. I can pay for the dishes but can take you around!
I had many filmers for this part. In Kansai area, there’s this guy name Jun Ozaki, he’s my buddy from high school that I can trust. Also Muuchu in Kyoto and Miyasho in Shiga. In Tokyo, I filmed with Hide, also Ma-kun and Tsukasa from Lesque. Thanks guys!
And then Homoro from my shop sponsor, Board Walk, edited my footage. He’s a skate nerd and has been making videos for over 20 years now. We made the third anniversary video of the shop together so he was the best fit for me. There was no compromise in filming so we decided what trick goes in and goes out… Thank god he’s a skate nerd. He was nerd enough to bear with me for several months (laughs).

V: Where did you mainly film at?

M: All over the place. Mainly in Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga, but I filmed in Tokyo too.

V: Why do you still base yourself in Kyoto?

M: I’d be lying if I said I don’t wan to live in Tokyo to skate, but I want to show kids in Kyoto that you can make things happen even if you still live in Kyoto. On top of that it’s a good environment so I’ll be here for a while at least. It’s also easier to keep motivated to film when you visit somewhere else, because your time is limited there.
The best thing about Kyoto is that it’s an international place where people from all over the world come to visit. It’s cozy for me. Time is slower here and have nice river by my house. It’s a really chill place.

V: Favorite trick in the part?

M: All of them, but the ender, combo manual is the most memorable. I had pictured it in my mind but couldn’t find the right spot to try it. So I decided to film it at the closest spot possible from my house so I can try it as much as I can. I went back to the spot ten times and had more than ten makes, but couldn’t get the perfect one. I wanted the perfect one for the ender so there was no compromise. ON the ninth tie at the spot, I went to a temple to pray but couldn’t make it. I cursed to the god at the temple. I literally cried in my bed (laughs). Then on the tenth time there I finally got the perfect one. When I landed, I remember Miyasho, my filmer, was almost crying and everyone around me was super happy. I almost cried too (laughs). It’s all in my part so hope you like the trick.

V: What were the best and worst thing about filming this part?

M: The best thing was that I got to go all over the place and meet people. Kids became my fan and saying they want to get my autograph and photo with me; being able to move people was nice. That was the most amazing thing. The worst was challenging new things and not being able to land anything and then stressing out. But at the end of the day, when you land you get the best feeling and nice feel of muscle ache.

V: Did you have any video part or skater you got inspired by when filming for this part?

M: I watched so many video parts. It’s hard to narrow down to one but I really like Cory Kennedy. He has good balance of cleanness and sketchiness, also gnarly and all-rounded.

V: What’s your take on the tricks you try? I hear you’re super motivated when it comes to filming?

M: As for motivation, I have sponsors that pay me so I know that I need to come up with something good. Also I genuinely want to move people with my skating. I want to look at spots differently from others. I try not to do weird tricks too much. I try to keep good balance; simple, gnarly, technical, banger, and also something original. I tried to keep things balanced for this part too.

V: Any memorable incident during the filming?

M: Someone falling off the roof when I was filming at a university. Jonas leaving his computer with my footage in Shanghai and flying back to Germany. Waking up early in the morning to do sight seeing at my hometown for three months to get good Kyoto-ish footage and ending up just finding out good Japanese confection stores. Everyday was memorable.


V: Anything you want to achieve through skating?

M: One of my goals is to gain the same amount of income as a normal salaried worker. I don’t want to say something big that you can never make happen. I try from something small. Eventually I want to get a pro board and have a part in global company video. And more than anything gain fans from all over!

V: Any project is the works? What can we expect from you in the near future?

M: I’ll be invited to Hokkaido for a event called The Man in April, and spend time in Tokyo for a while and film in May. Also I have a big project that I can’t share yet, and I’m gong to stack footage and photos for my next part so heads up! Lastly, I want to thank VHSMAG for the interview, sponsors, filmers, photographers, editor, and everyone that supported me along the way. Thanks for your continued support! Thanks!


Issei Morinaka

Born on March 10, 1990. An all-rounded skater, from technical tricks to bangers, he’s known for his highly motivated attitude toward skating. He’s one of the few that leads street skating in Kyoto.


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