Leaving Home in Pursuit of Passion


We’re almost certain that when they invented the phrase ‘the juice is worth the squeeze’, they were talking about Seibei Nakagawa.

You may never have heard of him, but we can guarantee you’ve enjoyed the fruits of his daring exploits at age 19 (of which are probably chilling in your fridge as we speak). Back in 1865 when Nakagawa was a teen, Japan was in the middle of a 220-year policy that prevented the ‘commonfolk’ from ever leaving the country. But Nakagawa’s dream was to brew beer, and brew he did, eventually fleeing Japan to pull up stumps in Germany and learn the craft, and probably learning how to cook a decent schnitzel in the process (coincidence that katsu was invented just a couple of years following his eventual return to Japan? We think not). The rest, is Sapporo history—prodigal son Nakagawa returned to his homeland as Japan’s first German-trained brewmaster, going on to create the very brew that you’ll find in Sapporo Premium Beer cans and bottles worldwide today.

But just like the taste of Nakagawa’s signature beer lived on, so too did the pioneering spirit of the Japanese people. Such as the artist you see in these photos, Hiroyasu Tsuri. Known also under moniker TWOONE, after graduating high school Hiroyasu decided to do a Nakagawa and leave the motherland for the unknown, destination Melbourne, Australia.

Despite knowing little English and being alone in a foreign country (much like Nakagawa in Germany), he soon became involved in the local skateboarding and graffiti scene, as well as a well-known fixture in the Melbourne art scene. Years later, Hiroyasu has made the same pilgrimage to Germany, where he now lives and works as an internationally recognised artist. Dabbling in painting, drawing, sculpture, site-specific installation and more, his work is an intersection of East and West cultures, mixing traditional oil painting techniques of the West with the quick, yet ornate flourishes of Japanese calligraphy.

Though separated by over a century, Seibei Nakagawa and Hiroyasu Tsuri’s shared desire to pursue a passion ended in the pair fine-tuning their respective crafts in far-flung corners of the world. So when it came to finding the right person to animate the treacherous round-trip journey of Japan’s first brewmaster, who better than the talented TWOONE? Hit play above to watch Hiroyasu Tsuri’s animated ode to Seibei Nakagawa, whose thirst for adventure has been keeping the world hydrated for years since.

Head over to sapporobeer.com to find out more, or check out more work from TWOONE at hiroyasutsuri.com

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