Japan's First Black-Owned Anime Studio

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Arthell Isom is the CEO and art director of D'ART Shtajio, Japan's first Black-owned anime studio. Bloomberg's Kurumi Mori sits down with Isom in his Tokyo studio.

His studio has worked on popular shows including ONE PIECE, Attack on Titan, and Netflix original anime film "Sound and Fury.”

Isom is an American who grew up in New Jersey, but has lived in Japan for 15 years to pursue his love of animation.

"So I guess I really am just like an artist at heart. I love the different styles both realism and everything, the use of shadow and light, color. I think the artists in Japan really explore all the different aspects of art in general. And you really see it in the art. It’s so detailed and so well thought out and so crafted,” he said.

Isom faced new challenges when he moved to Japan, but he says fearing the police was not one of them.

“When I’m approached by police here, that fear never runs through my mind. Like I never ever think that they will shoot me. That’s one of the driving forces for why I joined the march here. To show my support for what’s going in America (BLM protests).”

Isom recalls his own experience when he was a college student in San Francisco waiting for a bus. He was racially profiled by police one night.

"The cop runs over, puts me in handcuffs and throws me to the ground. He puts his knee on my back and the gun to my head," Isom recounted.

Isom has found a home in Japan where his encounters with police have been nothing compared to what he faced back at home.

“Why can’t I own an anime studio in America, in my own home country, in my home state. Why is it that I have to be afraid of police who are people that we hire to protect us,” said Isom.

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