TOKYO — Kazuyuki Yamamuro, editor in chief of WWD Japan, died Saturday at the age of 53 from a heart attack.
News of Yamamuro’s passing came just as Tokyo Fashion Week kicked into gear with its first full day of shows on Monday. Masahiko Miyake, chairman of the Japan Fashion Week Organization, expressed regret that the well-regarded editor would not be taking his front row seat this season.
“The Japanese fashion world has lost a valuable personality, and here we send our deepest condolence on this occasion,” Miyake said. “He played a major role in the Japanese fashion industry and he did his job knowledgeably and with passion helping young designers improve.”
Yamamuro, a fixture on the Japanese and international fashion scenes, took the editorial helm of WWD Japan in 2006. He was also the editor in chief of the Japanese publication WWD Beauty. He is survived by his wife, Emiko Yamamuro.
Yamamuro, who went by the name Kazz, was born in Tokyo in 1959. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the department of science and engineering at Sophia University. Before joining WWD Japan, he worked for 20 years as a producer for the Japanese television program “Fashion Tsushin” for WWD Japan’s parent company, Infas. He retained the role of executive producer of the program at the time of his death.
“Kazz was a delightful man and a very creative editor,” said Ed Nardoza, editor in chief of WWD. “There was enormous charm to his personal style at the runway shows, a style that was as playful as it was polished. One season he’d be all rock ’n’ roll, cowboy boots and flash; the next, a proper English gentleman, with bowler and walking stick. He made fashion fun and never failed to lift our spirits with his intelligence and easy humor.
“He was also very helpful to WWD’s reporters over the years in interpreting the intricacies of the Japanese market. We will miss his wisdom and guidance.”
Yamamuro maintained a high profile within the Japanese fashion industry, often appearing on TV and radio shows and giving lectures.
“It’s very sad, and he was so young,” said designer Kenzo Takada. “He was a very elegant, kind, gentle and professional man. He was someone you could count on, a trustworthy man. He did a lot for fashion in Tokyo. I admired him very much.”
Paris-based designer Lucien Pellat-Finet added, “During my numerous trips to Tokyo I have met several times Kazuyuki Yamamuro and I have always been impressed by his personal style and his professionalism.”
Infas Publications said that a vigil will be held Monday and a funeral will take place Tuesday.