My culture: Masashi Kawamura on Masahiko Sato

What inspires the inspired? Some of adland's global luminaries reveal where they turn to for ideas, and it's an eclectic mix...

Various pieces of cultures have weaved together inside me to enable me to create the things I do today, but if I had to choose my biggest influence, it would be Masahiko Sato (pictured, above).

He isn’t much known abroad, but he was (and still is) possibly the most celebrated creative director in Japan. He started off at Dentsu and then moved on to creating his own work at his studio, including video games such as "Intelligent Qube", several Cannes-nominated short films and various award-winning TV shows.

He then switched to teaching, and I was lucky enough to join the Masahiko Sato research laboratory he started in 1999 at Japan’s Keio University, when I was a second-year student.

He became my creative mentor during my university days, and led me to become interested in design and creative work. I probably wouldn’t have become a designer if it weren’t for him.

His class was entitled "Think of new ways to think". The aim was to try to decipher the creative process and find radical ways to help come up with groundbreaking content.

I collaborated with Masahiko to create some books and TV shows using this methodology: one of the shows was called Pythagoraswitch, a quirky education programme for children, which is still going after almost 15 years.

Once I started working in a creative agency, I rephrased Masahiko’s method in my mind to "make new ways to make". This has since become my core ethos, and the basis of all my concepts. Finding a new way to make something is actually the shortest way to also make something no-one has seen before.

Masashi Kawamura is executive creative director and founder of Party, Tokyo

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