Tattoo Sticker Brand「opnner」Designer / Kaho Iwaya
Love is similar to prayer.
The line drawn by Kaho Iwaya, the designer of the tattoo sticker brand "opnner" is precious.
The reason is that when she designs tattoos, she prays by saying, "I pray the person that gets this tattoo sticker feels encouraged or feels that it is healing." A kind, precious prayer for the person wearing her designs.
ARTIDA OUD, who also share the same thoughts of hoping that “women all over the world can feel free to be who they are”, resonated with opnner's view and collaborated to start the “I am” Donation Project.
This is a project in which a portion of the sales is donated to girls in developing countries by purchasing a set of bracelets, each made by Indian women, and a tattoo sticker created by opnner in the image of ARTIDA OUD.
We asked Kaho Iwaya about opnner and her thoughts about the “I am” Donation Project.
We hope that the feeling of kindness is spread to all women around the world.
We want people to know that there are tattoos that are healing and encouraging.
――― Five years have passed since you started opnner, but please tell us about the charm of tattoos.
In addition to being purely fashionable and cute, I like tattoos and tattoo stickers. When I want to try hard at something or want to feel stronger as a person in my heart, that feeling of encouragement is what I like. In particular, I think that tattoo stickers can be a gateway to getting a real tattoo. Of course, tattoo stickers allow you to change the design everyday if you want, but there are people who find what they like and want to keep it forever.
――― How did you start opnner?
I've always loved tattoos and would sometimes use a ballpoint pen to doodle on my fingers and arms. At the time, I didn't particularly think that this was the "start of something", but since using a ballpoint pen can get messy, I started sending tattoo stickers to friends and that is how opnner began.
I started with that, but I decided to continue opnner for a different reason. When I went to Portland on my first overseas trip while I was in college, I saw lots of locals with tattoos. I was impressed with the casual nature in which people walked around with tattoos and began to wonder why tattoos are considered taboo in Japan.
―――You’re right, there are still lots of places in Japan where you are not allowed entry if you have a tattoo and there is still a strong prejudice.
Yes, there is prejudice, but there are actually many legends about tattoos. It was believed that “tattoos are a gift from God”. In areas other than Japan, tattoos were handed down to protect oneself and to keep calm.
Certainly, tattoos have different impressions depending on the purpose, place, and pattern.
But I've always wondered about things that are deemed “somewhat not good”. I wanted to change this. I continue to run opnner because I want people to understand that there are also healing and encouraging tattoos that can change how you feel about yourself.
―――Tell us about the brand name “opnner”, what does it mean?
I chose the name opnner from the word “open” and “er” in 2015 to mean “someone who is the pioneer Japanese tattoo culture” with the meanings of “open” and “~ er”. I feel that it was a good choice but there were lots of various ideas.
―――Please tell us your most memorable moment or experience while running opnner.
There are so many. There was a bride who wore a tattoo sticker on her wedding day to “ease her tension”. I also remember getting a letter saying that the customer “wore a tattoo sticker with her mother.” I am always very happy to hear about when someone is using my products and learn that I am bringing happiness to them.
"I am donation" pyrite star charm bracelet (with tattoo sticker) 4,320yen (with tax)
――― Do you have a motto when making your designs?
I pray that the person wearing my tattoos will feel healing and encouragement. Sometimes I draw a creature with a funny face, and I hope it makes people laugh.
I always keep in mind as to whether what I design is something I would want myself. There are lots of people who say that "once I learned about opnner, my thoughts about tattoos changed 180 degrees", and thought that my work surely has the ability to affect people’s thoughts ... I’m not worried about what some people might say, I just want to be honest and make something that appeals to me.
Even if my designs don’t change the way someone thinks, I would like to at least make designs that no one expects to see as a tattoo.
―――Is there a tattoo that encourages you?
Yes, I have an 8cm single line tattoo on my right arm. I thought it up the words “WIDENS THE HORIZON” found in a friend's magazine, the number “8” plus the birthday of the whole family. At first glance, it looks like a single line, but for me this is the “horizon”. When I am having a hard time, or when I have to stand up and face something alone, looking at this makes me feel a lot better.
―――When you feel bewildered, what is the moment you feel at peace?
When I am spending time with someone with a forgiving heart. I think it’s hard to live with balance every day. This connects to future goals, but I want to stay healthy both physically and mentally. I want to go to sleep every night with the feeling that I enjoyed that day.
“I am” Donation Project, a project that will be helpful to someone
―――With this project, when you purchase a bracelet and tattoo sticker set, you collaborated with ARTIDA OUD in the “I am” Project, which allows people to donate up to ¥ 1,100 to girls in developing countries. What are your thoughts on this project?
With this project, customers make a purchase and a portion of that purchase goes toward helping people in developing countries by way of donation. This was my first time to be able to make my own tattoo stickers for someone and help in two ways, so I was very happy. I want it to reach as many people as possible.
―――What is your image of the tattoo stickers you make for the “I am” Project?
"I am donation" tatoo sticker (with bracelet) 4,320yen (with tax)
The tattoo stickers are made to reflect my first impression of the sparkle of the moon, stars and the color orange of ARTIDA OUD.
I like to wear tattoos that are like a cross between rings or bracelets, and I made a line-like design that reflects that.
"I am donation" pyrite star charm bracelet (with tatoo sticker) 4,320yen (with tax)
――― ARTIDA OUD's theme is “raw beauty”. “The beauty of a woman as it is” has an inner beauty, but if you have any words, books, movies, etc. that brought inspired you, what are they?
There is a book called “Life Lesson”. There are seven things that are important in life like things you love and things that you love and forgiveness. It helps you to lighten up.
This was a gift from a friend, and I bought another copy as I will probably pass this book on to someone else. In the book, they write “when you don’t feel loved, it’s not because you didn’t accept love, but because you saved your love and didn’t give love generously”… Love is not something you give to someone else because you received it. It's not something you measure. There are lots of these type of encouraging passages and I always agree when reading it.
"grain" K10 multi stud ear cuff 12,960yen (with tax)
―――Please tell us about your favorite jewelry at ARTIDA OUD.
I like the “Terra” series, where you can feel the strength of the earth, and the “selene” necklace with the moon and stars that move. The ring of “meander”, which I am wearing today is also mysterious, and I was surprised by the sparkling diamond. Jewelry is chosen to match the mood of the day. If it’s a ring, it’s fun to change the finger you wear it on or wear it in combination with other items.
"meander" double rectangle pave diamond open ring 32,400yen (with tax)
We hope you have a wonderful day!
Inspired by Portland's tattoo culture, launched opnner in 2015 to develop Japanese tattoo culture. In addition to producing and selling casual tattoo stickers, she is also in charge of tattoo designs.