|Real Name/Stage Name||
Kaoru Kikuchi (Gleissner)
|Asian Sirens Feature Article|
|Web Site/Home Page|
With a kimono designer as a mother and an educational pioneer for a father, it could be argued that SexyMandarin was only a matter of time for Kaoru Kikuchi. Born in Tokyo 1986, Kikuchi attended an all-girls Catholic school, followed by Nottingham University (U.K) majoring in Architecture. It was during this time Kikuchi developed a curiosity for China, noticing a growing popularity for Mandarin as a subject, and limited class spaces that would fill fast. With a thirst for knowledge and an eye for adventure, Kikuchi applied and subsequently was awarded a scholarship for a Chinese culture immersion program to study abroad at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Kikuchi soon came to a daunting realization; the Chinese classes she was attending were boring. So boring, Kikuchi found it hard to feign interest within the classroom and would instead skip lectures to go shopping at the local street markets. Ironically, it was these markets where Kikuchi began to learn most of her Chinese. Language is driven by motivation; the better Kikuchi became at bargaining with market vendors, the cheaper her purchases were, and as a result the better her Chinese became.
This is the theory behind SexyMandarin. With motivation and a passionate interest in what is being taught, then the learning process becomes less of a chore for students. Kikuchi had the idea of if only the teachers were a little bit more attractive within the classroom, then her fellow male students would too have a stronger motivation to study hard and please their teachers. Sex and Language are strongly related, which does not just apply for men; Kikuchi feels strongly that having a beautiful female teacher would work well for female students too.
After returning to Japan, Kikuchi decided to apply the business skills learnt from her degree and the entrepreneurial skills gained from the streets of China, and start her own business. The custom of having clothes tailored from scratch in China was a norm, but was not heard of in Japan. To rent a wedding dress in Japan, the average cost was approximately 8,000 USD; to have a wedding dress made in China would cost 200 USD. Kikuchi started to order tailor-made wedding dresses from China and charge a price cheaper than the rentals in Japan. Once a month Kikuchi would travel to China and discuss business with manufacturers for her growing client base in Japan. As a result, Kikuchi’s Mandarin Chinese improved, which led to expanding into the market of customized pearl jewellery, lingerie and other garments. The company name KOZO was born.
SexyMandarin is now a company with students enrolled across the world. Kikuchi is married with a baby boy, and currently living in Miami, U.S.