To finalise their special feature on Tokyo DADA series, Digital Arts caught up with our Co-Founder and ECD Christopher O’Reilly on the Japanese directors and illustrators to watch in 2020.

‘BAFTA and Cannes Lion-winning Nexus Studios may be one of London’s best known names in film and animation production, but its origins actually lay in the Far East; Tokyo, Japan to be exact.

The studio originally worked with Japanese feature and commercial companies shooting in Europe, with co-founder and executive creative director Christopher O’Reilly developing there an animation production company whilst part of its ranks. Following a buy out with colleague and co-founder Charlotte Bavasso to launch Nexus as we know it today, the studio returns to its roots almost two decades later with exciting new venture Maison Hanko.

A pop-up roster celebrating some of Japan’s best illustrators and directors, the collaboration’s name is an apt example of cultural back and forth, as Christopher reveals to Digital Arts.

“While starting the roster up,  I was back in London and walked into a shop that sold kitchenware,” Christopher writes. “Among the paraphernalia was a basketful of these small wooden stamps each with beautifully intricate kanji carved into it.

“I used to have one when I lived in Japan after I left college. In fact, everyone there does; they are called hanko and they are your personal signature. So the kanji at the end of these wooden stamps were surnames.

“Oddly, hanko is actually a borrowed word from English made Japanese. It came from the American slang for signature, Hancock, which itself came from the signature of John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence.

“I liked that it spoke of the deeply interwoven, hidden stories and influences that the west and Japan share. As such, Hanko represents an individual’s unique mark or voice, and that is what Nexus has always represented.

Maison meanwhile simply came as we wanted it to be a home for talent away from home.”‘

Read the full interview here.

Find out more about Maison Hanko and its talent here.