Inspired by manga and anime, Emily Sim of the Emirichu YouTube channel, started drawing as soon as she could hold a pencil. She is a native New Yorker but moved to California when she was 15, around the same time she started taking drawing more seriously.
In 2017, while trying to figure out her career path, she started uploading videos to her YouTube channel sharing stories of her life accompanied by hand-drawn renderings of her friends and adventures. These story-time videos are what endeared her viewers to her channel. As her audience grew, she started taking on sponsorships and soon realized she could focus her career on YouTube. Her earnest and heartfelt storytime videos have since earned her more than three million YouTube subscribers.
In the search for some new, interesting stories to tell, she moved to Japan in 2022 to work with GeeXPlus, a company known for talent management and media. Since then, she’s added a variety of Japan-inspired content to her channel. We sat down together in a My Dress-Up Darling collaboration cafe to talk about her time in Japan.
What brought you over to Japan?
GeeXPlus was looking for creators who could make content in Japan to connect with an international audience, so they reached out to me. Since a lot of my art is influenced by anime, it seemed like the perfect place for me to create more content. Although I was initially unsure about packing my life up and moving to Japan, I realized moving here was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Plus, after all the lockdowns during the recent pandemic, I was really craving a new work environment.
How has living in Japan impacted your creative journey?
Getting to experience another culture and try new things has been so fulfilling. In a way, it’s given me too many ideas to keep up with! Since story-time content mostly revolves around talking about life experiences, I felt it was only natural to share the new experiences and memories I’ve been making here in Japan.
Japan is a country that is so rich, and for many people, it’s a place they want to see and experience at some point in their lives. So living here has made me think more about my audience and what they want to experience. When I go out, I now vlog what I do because people want to see what life in Japan is like. I love combining vlog footage with my drawings. There are many videos on my channel now that wouldn’t exist if I weren’t living in Japan—like my collaboration cafe series or visiting Awaji Island.
What is a collaboration cafe? And how did your series on them start?
Collaboration cafes are designed for fans who want to support a famous artist or their works. Basically, cafes collaborate with popular artists and sell merchandise and food that’s themed around their work—like anime or manga for example.
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