Bringing a fresh fusion of East and West in her sets—a mix of her Himeji minimalism roots and Berlin’s zing and zest of techno music—DJ HITO offers a new elevated experience to club-goers.
Techno music is associated with a lot of things—party, dance, and energy, to name a few—but a story is not one of them. For DJ Hito, however, there’s a deeper level to techno than just mix of beats. Incorporating her roots from Japan into the vibrant nightlife of cities such as Paris, London, and Amsterdam, Hito provides a different clubbing experience altogether. Born in Japan, Hito as a young girl was against tradition and culture—something her country is rich with. “But now that I am older, I respect tradition a lot more,” she says. “I am more interested in different cultures, not just Japan.” Seeing her perform in different clubs in different cities, one can immediately see this embrace of Japanese culture with her Hello Kitty-inspired headphones and kimono outfits.
“Wherever I am, I stand as I am and I play as I am!”
It was when Hito moved to Berlin in 1999 during her early twenties that she fell in love with the city’s nightlife and techno music. While Japan also has its own techno scene, the clubbing culture there is much different from Berlin. “Japanese people like to stay in a group, so they focus more on open air festivals,” she shares. “They prefer to stay grouped together or in a family, enjoying the music and drinking.” Coming to the German capital also made her appreciate her homeland more, bringing the minimalism tradition of Japan to her music in Berlin.
Aside from the Japanese-inspired outfit and the minimalism and ambivalence of her music, Hito is also known for only using vinyl in her sets. “I really like the touch of vinyl,” she says, “and how I can control and make it start and stop with my hands.” It also helps that she has a huge and diverse collection of vinyl records. These traits make up what she dubs as #Hitostyle, or her own brand of music and clubbing experience. “I see and feel the people, [meet] the promoter, feel the venue, [what] kind of year, day, night… Europe, Japan or South America—but I don’t change,” she says, adding that, “Wherever I am, I stand as I am and I play as I am!”
For Hito, every set is like a story, and the best story she tells is her diaspora from Japan to Germany. Her music is best described as emotive techno, a mixture of the emotions and sensibilities of Himeji and the high spirits of Berlin. With the two cities playing huge parts in her life, she manages to incorporate them into her music, understanding the importance of identity while adding a sense of fun—another trait of #Hitostyle.
“My role is like a bridge that connects interesting techno music and artists from around the world.”
To the regular party-goer, a DJ’s life may seem easy breezy and cool; and for the most part, it is. “Best part is delivering passion and sharing creativity,” she says. “The difficult part is how you never stop!” But for Hito, each performance is well thought-out. From her choice of outfits, to the kind of set to play, and her decision to only play vinyl—everything is deliberate, and all this contributes to the deeper level that she hopes to bring to techno.
Meeting famed DJ Richie Hawtin in 2012 started her rise and led to numerous collaborations. Beginning with ENTER.Ibiza, Hito quickly became the next big thing. The two also collaborated on a project called ENTER.Sake, born out of their love for the Japanese rice wine. It is here where Hito is most at her element, performing in a room designed like a sake bar, with innovative and experimental sets that elevate and bring authenticity to the experience. It is also where she lets her music embody the characteristics of sake—simple, minimal, and with clear and pure roots to the basics.
“I think it’s my destiny in life, and I am thankful for this opportunity,” she says of being a DJ, adding that, “I need to deliver and share my message with the world.” When she’s not performing, surrounded by good vibrations and high energy, Hito lives a pretty simple life. “My daily life involves cooking and chilling [laughs],” she shares. “On my day off, I prefer to go to the Philharmonie than the clubs – it’s everlasting music and a real skill to create. I really love to experience poetic and original material.”
But the grind never stops for Hito. She’s currently an ambassador for Richie Hawtin’s PLAYdifferently MODEL 1 mixer project, and continues to represent the ENTER.Sake project worldwide. She also started an event called “Hito presents OTO” at Ipse Club in Berlin, where she represents upcoming producers and headliners from different parts of the world. “My role is like a bridge,” she says, “that connects interesting techno music and artists from around the world.”
For Hito, being a DJ is more than just playing beats and partying. Moving to Berlin opened up a whole new world for her. She’s learned that in essence, the world is like a club in Ibiza where people from everywhere come and have fun. “Whatever in the world happens, we are here to live,” she says. “Living not alone, but living with different people and backgrounds.”