'Impossible' Project Interviews,  INTERVIEWS,  News

‘Impossible’ Interview with Jun Akaike – Head Of Impossible’s Japanese Operations

As you know we’re working closer and closer with the team at the Impossible Project as we continue to branch out and expand our reach with all things related to mobile photography. Analog post-processing of mobile images is becoming more and more popular and we’re going to make sure our readers are fully briefed on this very exciting development.

Today we are publishing the third of a series of articles and interviews related to the Impossible Project, ones that we feel you will really enjoy. If you have missed our others, please go here.

This article features Jun Akaike, Jun has been the head of Impossible’s Japanese operations since December, 2010, when he launched the Tokyo Project Space and began selling Impossible film and cameras to wholesalers and retailers across Japan. He has also driven sales into China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and south-east Asia.

This is an interview that was conducted by the team at Impossible and they have given us kind permission to republish it here. We think you will enjoy this very much…


Jun Akaike



What attracted you to Impossible?

In general, people in Japan love analog. This is more and more the case as the world moves forward and becomes even more digital. Personally, I love the experimental nature of Impossible film – although maybe not the very first ones! [laughs]

Is analogue instant photography popular in Japan?

Polaroid is very popular as a format. Even my mother knows Polaroid. Everyone seems to understand that Polaroid is the name of the film. However, after a lot of promotion and exhibitions in Japan, a younger generation of Japanese have discovered instant photography because of Impossible. Recently there’ve been a lot of magazines and TV shows featuring instant photography. This has also drawn attention to Impossible.


What do the Japanese like about Impossible?

A lot of local fashion brands use instant film for their new collections’ look books and magazines use instant photography as a visual reference in their editorials. The most recent of these visuals have been created on Instant Labs with Impossible film. With the launch of the smart phone and the rise of Instagram as a social medium, photography in this format is even more central to their lives. But I still want to get more real films, in the original format, into their hands.


Given the Japanese enthusiasm for novelty, have the new Special Edition films been well-received there?

People really like the new editions we’ve created recently. It’s hard to specify a favourite – I hear different opinions – but overall, customers are most into the Colour 600 and SX-70 colour frames editions.


What is Japan’s favorite instant camera?

The favourite by far is the classic SX-70. Japan has a long history of loving the SX-70 and it’s still a favourite ‘accessory’ for influencers and fashion taste-makers.

The Tokyo Project Space has exhibited some very well known Japanese photographers – Araki, Moriyama, Mika Ninagawa – but who are your favourite, less known instant photographers?

Eiki Mori – he won the Kimura Ibei prize, one of Japan’s most important – and Yoshiyuki Okuyama. They’re both very young and both experiment with the impossible films.


The company has undergone some significant changes in the past year. How has this affected Impossible in Japan?

The only visible effect of it on the market in Japan has been the improved quality of the films. Those who used Impossible’s films in the early days and gave up on them have been coming back. That’s because that we are now able to offer much better performance and durability as well as more reliable hardware. I have to say I also love the new package designs of our film. I really like what I’m seeing from the new creative HQ in Berlin – especially the films (and camera!) that haven’t been released yet.


What are your hopes for the company in the year ahead?

My hope is that people finally understand that the films Impossible is producing are the most exciting and valuable materials for the future of analog photography. I want them to understand and enjoy the behavior of our films and learn how best to use them, whether it’s to create art or preserve their personal memories. I want our company to produce a continuous flow of new instant film. And I should probably add that people in Japan are anxiously anticipating the new cameras that Impossible will produce.

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website— TheAppWhisperer.com— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - TheAppWhispererPrintSales.com has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: [email protected]