One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight – Furi Sawaki

Highlighting young talent in the ad world – one person at a time.

As part of an ongoing series highlighting young talent in the industry, Branding in Asia brings you “One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight”, a regular feature that focuses on up-and-coming talent in the ad world.

On tap this week is Furi Sawaki, a native of Suzuka City in Japan, she now works as Senior Creative Planner / Creative Technologists at AKQA in Tokyo.

The Basics

Name: Furi Sawaki
Age: 30
Agency: AKQA
Position: Senior Creative Planner / Creative Technologist
Hometown: Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture
Current Location: Tokyo
Education: Master of Media Design, Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University


Seven Questions

How did you get your first break in the industry?

I started my career as an Account Executive right out of Grad School. Working in that environment taught me that I truly love producing and developing new ideas together with a team. The excitement I feel every time I see a project I worked on come to life never gets old.

What is your personal mantra?

Never stop trying.

Working for an agency means working in a fast-paced, very vibrant environment with frequent last-minute changes. I decided that instead of seeing problems and the impossibilities in change, to see opportunities and chances to take a project up a level with a positive solution-driven view.

From what person, place, or thing have you drawn your greatest creative inspiration?

Ghost In The Shell.


My mentor in Grad School added Ghost In The Shell to my mandatory reading list, which I am very thankful for as it introduced me to a whole new world. The laboratories with cutting edge technology with the capability to create cyborg-like humans and the creation of surreal interactive experiences between humans and technology deeply inspire me. I sometimes like to think of AKQA as my own personal Ghost In The Shell lab. Anything is possible.

What do you love about the job?

People and creativity.

I love the positive energy from my co-workers, closely working with them, and the fact that I’m being paid to think about exciting and creative strategies. The projects I work on are very diverse, as we have clients from extremely varied industries. The diverse nature of my job makes it feel like I have had many different jobs during my time at AKQA.

What about your job are you not so crazy about?

It is tough when the team members are not on the same page and clients don’t share their goal.

What is some work you’ve done that you’re most proud of?

A piece of work I’m very proud of its the Lion Sense Your Aroma experience. We combined creativity and tech in an effort to to allow Japanese consumers to understand through experience how they can mix scents to create personalized aromas for their laundry.

You can see a case study and find out more here.

If you had to choose another career what would it be?

I would be an entrepreneur and run either a curry restaurant (I absolutely love curry) or a flower shop.

Want to submit your suggestion for One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight? Feel free to drop us a line: [email protected]

Bobby McGill

Bobby McGill

Bobby is the founder and publisher of Branding in Asia.

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