• My earliest perspective of Fukuoka Prefecture is my hometown of Kurosaki in Kitakyushu City. I was born there and lived there until I was 18, so I can recall it immediately. In Kurosaki, there is a street with shopping arcades stretching in a radial pattern. It was my playground where I could ride around on my bicycle, kick a soccer ball, slalom on my skateboard, even when it rained.
  • I started skateboarding in middle school, and the first time I bought a board was at a small local sports shop. It wasn’t something to do tricks with like it is now, but more similar to practicing how to surf. By the time I entered high school was when the Californian skaters started skating in empty pools, and I used to go to Hakata to buy magazines that featured that kind of skate culture. Around the same time, a skate park opened near Hakata station, and my high school friends and I would go hang out. Skater fashion back then wasn’t oversized like it is now but was closer to that of surfers. Something like cutoff jeans paired with flannels or a down vest.
  • I also bought clothes at the men’s and department stores in Kurosaki. Sometimes I would make the trip out to Hakata to shop at VAN, but it was expensive for a middle/high school kid, so I would look for button-down shirts similar to VAN in my hometown. The existence of denim stores was a huge importance then. So-called local denim stores were alongside the national highway, about three or four of them around the town, and I believed that the BIG JOHN I bought there was the most famous denim brand. I came to know of Levi’s®, Lee, and Wrangler later when I started reading the Made in U.S.A. Catalog and POPEYE magazines. Because we never saw them in Kurosaki.
  • My younger self could not wait to get out of Kurosaki, and I came to Tokyo out of pure admiration, but now I have these moments of nostalgia and a desire to return to Fukuoka. Whenever I have work scheduled in Fukuoka, I try to have some quality time there. Something nice that I’ve realized since leaving my hometown is the areas surrounding the Ohori Park in Hakata. When you’re young, you don’t go to the park that much, do you? Ohori Park has changed dramatically, now with a museum inside its very well-maintained area. I took a walk there before, and there were lots of wild birds and the air felt magnificent. When I was a child, there was a Heiwadai Baseball Stadium located next to the Ohori Park. I remember seeing a Nishitetsu Lions game there.
  • Looking back, my debut work as an actor was “Hakatakko Junjô”. In the transition period of my career, I was in the movie “Helpless” directed by Shinji Aoyama, a Kitakyushu-native like myself. I then starred in “Dreaming in Between”, a movie set in my hometown. Each step that led me further in my career has a Kyushu-related film to it. I feel as if my hometown is giving me a push forward.
  • As you all know, Fukuoka is also a city that satisfies your appetite, and I would recommend the udon. My favorite spots are Inaba Udon, Daifuku Udon, and Kalonoulon. The most popular topping is the gobo-ten (burdock tempura), but I have always been a minority in favor of the maru-ten (fish cake tempura) since I was a child. It allows you to taste the tempura without sacrificing the original flavor of the soup from each shop. Kake udon is good too, but it feels a little lonesome (laughs). My father is turning 90 soon. I am planning to go back to celebrate, and I will definitely be eating maru-ten udon, and I would like to take a walk around Ohori Park.
  • As someone from Kitakyushu who has had an adoration for the American fashion culture, ENGINEERED GARMENTS is a special brand. I think I first came across the brand in my 40s. I found it at BEAMS PLUS in Harajuku, and although I didn’t know what kind of brand it was, I instinctively felt the appeal. It was based off of the same American casual and American trad styles I was influenced by, but the details and the sizing were sophisticated and polished. The balanced adjustments are also exquisite. And the tag that says MADE IN NEW YORK. I’ve been going to the store in Aoyama, and it is an honor to be invited to participate in a NEPENTHES fashion project. I love NEEDLES and SOUTH2 WEST8 as well, and I find myself surrounded by NEPENTHES clothes, in both personal and professional circumstances. But no matter how much I pretend to be cool, my friends from my hometown know where I was born and raised (laughs). No matter how much of a public image there is of Ken Mitsuishi, I am after all a guy from Kyushu.

/ Kalonoulon
2-1 Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka

Hakata-style udon, beloved by Mitsuishi. He has been a long-time regular at the symbolic Kalonoulon, founded in the Meiji era in 1882. Maruten Uron (650 yen), and its soup, is highly recommended.
Ken Mitsuishi : Born in 1961, in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka. Actor. Known for his prominent supporting roles in numerous films and drama series. His latest film “Dreaming in Between” has officially been presented in the ACID section of the Cannes Film Festival, in which he was the solo lead for the first time in 12 years. His upcoming film “Yoake No Subete” (February 2024) awaits its release, and he currently stars in the NTV drama “Zeicho”.


Words : Ken Mitsuishi
     Edit : Shota Kato
Styling : Satsuki Shimoyama
     Photography : Toshio Ohno(L MANAGEMENT)
Hair & Make-up : Rumi Hirose
     Prop : Shizuka Aoki