Greetings, Mr. Jansen. On Tumblr, there is a photo of you holding an Atsuko Shima-styled plush doll from 1982. Now, I know that there were fan-made dolls given to the band members, but I also read somewhere, that there were plastic dolls available for purchase in Japan in the late 70’s. As a doll collector, I have been curious about these dolls and searched for more info on the web, but to no avail. Were there really Japan dolls for sale, or did someone get them mixed up with the fan-made ones?

To my knowledge, there have not been any dolls in the likeness of Japan members commercially manufactured.

steve, i notice some photos where you had a darkroom. i presume this was in your flat. do you still have a home darkroom as you have stated you prefer film to digital. i ask as i once had a temp job in a darkroom and loved the experience. so much more preferable to the immediacy of digital.

Those images were taken in the darkroom belonging to photographer Fin Costello. He showed me the first steps in black and white printing. I never had my own darkroom, always used commercial labs but it was a nice thing to have experienced. I would often develop my own film but that didn’t require a darkroom.

Steve! Happy New Year. Thank you for posting the Gentlemen photos. That’s a very charming video you and company put together for “Stay Close” Can you tell me the overlying conditions that came together allowing you to pull such a heady, poppy, single off with Takahashi-san ?

I think that was simply the effect we had on each other. Japanese pop music is generally quite punchy and direct, and this was aimed to please therefore musically it’s pretty upbeat, however the vocals lines are in contrast to that and I guess that was our way of deviating from the regular pop song. At the time I never really imagined it being marketed outside of Japan. The video is very much based on Japanese themes and humour …. including the fun we had portraying the parody of old men dancing badly, which I’m not sure actually came across as anything other than the two of us dancing badly  … oh well …we probably would dance like that today.