Interview with Creative Director Morihiro Harano from Mori Inc.


Morihiro Harano is a multi-talented creative director with stellar achievements not only in advertising but also in new business development, strategy, product design and media initiatives.

Joining Dentsu in 1994, Harano was committed to helping the agency’s digital subsidiaries with their digital initiatives. After leaving Dentsu, Harano helped a media startup to conclude a successful IPO, following which, he returned to Dentsu to launch Drill, a non-traditional creative agency. In 2011, he co-founded PARTY and led it to win the Independent Agency of the Year at Spikes Asia 2012. Soon after, in 2012, he founded Mori Inc., which is selected as ‘The World’s Leading Independent Agencies 2014’ by Campaign UK.

Who are you?

Morihiro Harano, Creative Director at Mori Inc. You can see my work at Mori Inc.


I spent ten years at an ad agency doing media planning. And then in the early 2000’s, influenced by the work of UK’s Naked Communications and Holland’s KesselsKramer, I launched the non-traditional creative agency Drill.

The corporate slogan for Dentsu. I have left Dentsu but the slogan is still there.

Changing Ideas

In the creative industries, I get the sense that work gets divided up according to people’s job titles and there is this atmosphere where you aren’t allowed to encroach on each other’s territory. I’m originally from outside anyway, so everything I’ve done has been encroachment. At first I was really worried about the prejudice or conflicts that might arise from this, but now I’ve been able to achieve a few things, encroaching has become my style of creative direction.

Pola Apex Campaign

POLA APEX is a new skin care brand which provides customized skin care program based on their scientific skin analysis. The campaign’s core idea is “Doubt your mirror.” I mean that you can never know the reality of your skin just using a mirror. I love these graphics and animations simple, yet strong.

 Read more about this project here »

Design in Japan

I like how, similar to traditional Makunouchi Bento, there are all kinds of things crammed into it. Well, I like Bentos but I don’t like that kind of design.

‘TOMODACHI’ is a project founded by the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, to support Japan in re-establishing from the 3.11 earthquake. The offer came directly from the Ambassador John Victor Roos, to create the visual identity for the project.


I opened Hotel Japan, a souvenir store in Aoyama for non-Japanese people. It’s pretty small, but by working like this where I am meeting the customers directly it then became much easier to understand how my clients think.

Hotel Japan is a truly unique hotel gift shop which sells curated souvenirs for creative travelers in Tokyo. Although the hotel currently exists only in Mori’s imagination, he looks forward to working with hotel operators who share his vision and desire to make it a reality.

morihiro-harano-mori-inc_hotel-japanmorihiro-harano-mori-inc_hotel-japanmorihiro-harano-mori-inc_hotel-japan morihiro-harano-mori-inc_hotel-japan morihiro-harano-mori-inc_hotel-japan


Good ideas and insights ultimately only come out of your own personal experiences. I think it is important to make the most of your own life. In my case, I focus on accumulating lots of experiences when traveling overseas or going on business trips abroad.

What are you thinking about?

2014 was the worst year in my astrological cycle and it’s just now coming to an end. I’m hopeful that next year will bring some nice developments.


My office is in Ebisu. It’s very minimal, very economical. I don’t have a photocopier or a refrigerator; just a Muji table, sofa, and desk. I think it’s really important to make the place where you work into the kind of space you like.

Miru: To See

We created a new visual experience with a bespoke 720 degree camera. In short, you can become a “bird” now. Try the below link with hi-spec Mac/PC with hi-speed internet connection. We also have an Android app. It is brought you by Miru, a new contact lenses brand from Japan.

morihiro-harano-mori-inc_miru-to-see-contact-lenses-from-japanmorihiro-harano-mori-inc_miru-to-see-contact-lenses-from-japan morihiro-harano-mori-inc_miru-to-see-contact-lenses-from-japan

Making of:

Your tools

I work with a MacBook Air, iPad, and iPhone. I also often use Keynote and iMovie. I sometimes even make presentations just with my iPhone.


I made the music video for OK Go’s “I Won’t Let You Down.”


It got over a million views in 10 hours and the next day CNN came to my office to interview me. After that, views passed 10 million in six days and I even got interviewed by Brazilian TV, on the other side of the world.

Read more about this project here »

The website for the music video is itself quite interesting. With an interactive drawing editor it allows users to create their own version of the dance scenes. It`s also possible to fork (copy and adapt) a version from a different user. 

morihiro-harano-mori-inc_ok-go-wont-let-you-down-interactive-website morihiro-harano-mori-inc_ok-go-wont-let-you-down-interactive-website morihiro-harano-mori-inc_ok-go-wont-let-you-down-interactive-website

Previously when I made “Forest Xylophone” for NTT DoCoMo there was also quite a good response but compared to ads, music videos spread as pure entertainment, so the speed at which they spread is completely different.

Bach’s Cantata 147, ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ played on a gigantic 44m xylophone made with surplus wood of trees. A promotional movie for “Touch Wood SH-08C”, a mobile phone also made out of surplus wood. The film was selected as the Ad Ages’s “The Best 10 TVCs 2011”, “TED: Ads Worth Spreading 2012”, and became one of the most watched Japanese TV commercials on YouTube.

Making of:

Thank you!


A big arigato gozaimasu for the interview to Morihiro Harano!

You can follow him on these channels:




If you happened to be in Tokyo, don`t miss the chance to pop by to Harano-san`s shop:

Japan Hotel

3-41-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001 |