Japanese artist who had to leave her homeland now thriving in Hitchin

Yoshie Allan and Sarah Bellisario.

Yoshie Allan and Sarah Bellisario. - Credit: Archant

A woman who left Japan after the 2011 tsunami to make a new life in Hitchin has just produced a home decor collection. Designer Yoshie Allan, originally from Fukushima prefecture, moved to North Herts after a radiation leak at the local nuclear power plant followed the devastating tidal wave.

Mum of two Yoshi said: “I grew up in Fukushima, north east Japan before studying fashion in Tokyo. After graduating I worked for a fashion company then as an artist.

“I met my British husband in India while backpacking. We eventually moved to Fukushima and had our first child in 2010.

“On March 11, 2011, we had an earthquake which measured nine on the Richter scale, causing a tsunami and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear power plant explosion.

“Luckily our area wasn’t damaged too much by the earthquake, but we stayed at an evacuation centre for two nights until water and electric were restored. When the earthquake happened, I was doing my artwork while my baby boy was sleeping in the next room, and my husband was working in the town centre.


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“We couldn’t stand up until all the shaking stopped. It was such an unusual and awful experience – thankfully my family and relatives in Fukushima were all safe.

“As our place was quite contaminated by radiation – we lived about 60km away from the nuclear plant – we decided to come to England to protect our boy who was nine months old, eventually starting our new life in Hitchin in November 2011. I slowly started getting my work as an illustrator and artist back on track.

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“Hitchin is such a nice town. I settled here so quickly and met many nice, friendly and creative people – it was the perfect place for me to live as a mum of two children – and as an artist.

“Last summer I met Sarah Bellisario, based in Hitchin, who is also an illustrator and artist.

“We fell in love with each other’s artworks, and officially launched our new business as a collaborative design duo called Sas and Yosh, in October 2014.

“We produced a home decor collection including wallpaper and textiles, and other lovely home wares, as well as designing exciting bespoke, commissioned and collaborative work for companies and brands.

“More of our new wallpaper, textile and home wares collection will be coming soon to the UK, Japan and other countries.

“We hope our colourful designs will bring people happy fun!”

For more information visit www.yoshiemilk.com and www.sasandyosh.com.

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