Hi, my name is Kohaku Toran! Nice to meet you.

This is a simple personal blog where I mainly showcase my writing pieces. I post once every day at 6am PST; every Sunday I publish a new journal entry, in which I talk about my recent and upcoming work, events in my personal life, the people who inspire me as an artist and as a person, and anything else I find important to say.

If you’re new to the blog, I recommend either checking out my journal, reading a best of compilation, or scanning the longer works page for anything you might find interesting. If you want to contact me for questions, comments, or suggestions, leave a comment anywhere on the blog or send an email to kohaku.toran@gmail.com! I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

A Self-Introduction

I believe that the way an artist creates their art, as well as the way an audience receives and interprets that art, depends a lot on the context of who the artist is and what is and has happened in their life. So, although I don’t normally talk about myself, I’ll do a surface-level self-introduction. Here we go!

~ I’m an introverted minimalist and pescatarian who cares a lot about environmental sustainability, human rights, world peace, and minority representation. Different people care about different things, and show how they care about them in different ways; for me, it mostly comes out in my writing. I was taught on the multiple intelligences model and I believe that people of all different intelligences are needed to solve all the world’s problems – I just always have a soft spot in my heart for artists.

~ I’m a musician and grew up in a musical household. I’ve played piano since I was six, and played flute for three years in middle school and high school. I recently tried taiko drumming for five weeks, and my current serious obsession is learning how to play guitar.

My favorites and inspirations in music include…
Pianists: Yoshiki, Yiruma, Sakamoto Ryuichi, Chopin, Brahms
Guitarists: Chachamaru, Tosin Abasi, hide, Sugizo
Singer-Songwriters: GACKT, HYDE, Yojiro Noda, YOHIO
Bands: X JAPAN, RADWIMPS, L’Arc~en~Ciel, exist†trace, sukekiyo

~ I am ethnically Taiwanese, and strongly influenced by a combination of Taiwanese, Japanese, and American cultures. I can speak and understand English, Mandarin, Taiwanese, and Japanese to varying degrees of fluency. I’m working on improving my Japanese right now.

~ My favorite sport to watch is figure skating. I’m a fan of Yuzuru Hanyu, Jun-hwan Cha, Stephane Lambiel, Adam Rippon, and Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir.

~ I like Japanese comedy. Shows like 水曜日のダウンタウン and ガキの使い are among my favorites. I’m currently binging LINCOLN.

~ My favorite author is Haruki Murakami, and my favorite book is Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. I enjoy his short stories a lot.

~ I love Studio Ghibli films. I grew up on Miyazaki’s masterpieces, not Disney! I actually wrote one of my first journal entries on this blog on the power and activism of Studio Ghibli’s work.

~ Currently I identify as queer and non-binary. I love androgynous looks, and I’m moving toward freely exploring my own expression. I don’t really care what pronouns are used to refer to me – most people use she/her out of convenience, safety, etc., but I’ll also respond to they/them. I’m also not out to a lot of people and don’t feel the need to be. I’m quite content knowing myself and I don’t care all that much how other people see or think of me.

~ Depression runs in my family. I have thought about running away from home or killing myself before. Many of my friends are also struggling with mental illnesses, and several are or have been suicidal. As a result, I think about the nature of the world and life and death all the time, and much of my writing edges on the poetic and philosophical.

I believe that human life is fundamentally constructed out of two essential and inevitable ingredients: suffering and love. At heart, I’m a “realistic optimist” – I see the terrible things in the world and in humanity, but I believe that we can change ourselves for the better, that hatred is unnatural, and that love will always win in the end.

A Little About My Name

In Japanese, my name is written like this: 陳琥珀.

The first character is read “toran” (toh-rahn) and is a surname.

The last two characters are read “kohaku” (koh-hah-koo), and this is a gender-neutral name. The shortened version is “haku” (hah-koo), and I’ll respond to that too! In whole or part, this name means “amber”, like the color.

Hidden within the characters for Kohaku are the characters 白虎, which mean “white tiger”. The White Tiger is one of the Four Symbols in Chinese and Japanese mythology and Daoist philosophy. There are a lot of legends and meanings associated with it. For me personally, the white tiger is a symbol of resilience for the traditionally disempowered. When I’m feeling depressed, I need this kind of strength, so I like this name a lot!

That’s all for introductions. Once again, if you ever need to reach out, just shoot me an email. I hope you enjoy my writing!

Take care of yourself. Your life is worth it.