TOKYO -- Jun Ashida, one of Japan's most famous fashion designers known for creating elegant clothes for the Imperial Family, including Empress Michiko, and celebrities, passed away on Oct. 20 due to pneumonia. He was 88.
Ashida was born in 1930 to a doctor's family on the Korean Peninsula under Japanese colonial rule. After returning to Japan and graduating from high school, he became artist Junichi Nakahara's apprentice. Ashida attributes his talent in design to "watching the very moment beauty was created from Nakahara's fingertips."
Ashida was employed by an apparel manufacturer, but later became a consulting designer at Takashimaya department store and fiber manufacturer Teijin Ltd. in 1960, helping to boost the popularity of ready to wear clothing. Ashida presented his first collection in 1964, and again at Paris Fashion Week in 1977.
The prominent figure tailored a suit for Emperor Akihito when he was a young Crown Prince and for this reason was appointed as an exclusive designer for Empress Michiko for 10 years from 1966. He also designed an evening dress for Crown Princess Masako for her wedding.
Ashida opened a shop on the streets of Paris among other luxury brands in 1989. He designed the uniforms for Japan's national team for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, as well as for All Nippon Airways, and the Imperial Hotel based in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. Ashida received numerous awards both at home and abroad, including the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1991 and The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in 2006.
Tae Ashida, his second daughter, is currently working as a fashion designer to succeed her father.
(Japanese original by Fusayo Nomura, Lifestyle News Department)