Hikaru Kazushime is an American entrepreneur from the USA who lives in California and is the creator of Run Around:Network, a brand that brings Visual Culture to life.
Kazu (called for short) is an active personality in the anime and gaming industries and sub-culture scenes. Since 2007 he has:
- Been featured in various online and printed media.
- Guest appeared at conventions.
- Held public events dedicated to otaku.
- Hosted panels and engaged in public speaking events.
- Collaborated with assisting conventions and companies in the gaming and anime industries in programming, guest relations, organization, liasoning, and more.
- Guest Blogged for multiple online media sources.
- Striven for quality work as a member of multiple press outlets.
- Worked as an entrepreneur with his own small company for the continued promotion of Japanese Culture, Otaku Subculture, and Geek Culture worldwide, all of which he places under the umbrella of the term "Visual Culture".
Kazu resides in his hometown of Sacramento, California where he manages RA:N and all RA:N related projects from his home office.
What Does Kazu Do At Run Around:Network?
As Founder, CEO, Director, and Senior Web Admin of RA:N, Kazu works to make a powerful portal to Visual Culture with emphasis on modern fandom and all of the evolving sub-cultures that fill our world today.
Through his work, RA:N connects you to a portal to Visual Culture, while giving a look into events and products through the eyes of fans and professionals alike.
Work done through Run Around:Network involves a commitment to on-the-scene press work, coverage of current events in Visual Culture, and a large amount of article writing to provide you with a consistent window and experience of Visual Culture. Most event coverage is photographed by Kazu or collaborating RA:N photographers.
Offline, Hikaru Kazushime organizes Run Around:Network events & panels at conventions, public forums, sponsored giveaways, and provides Press coverage, working for the continued promotion of Japanese Pop Culture and Visual Culture as a whole.
Beginning humbly as a Student Author and Freelance Web Developer, he has since applied himself to many web-related and industry jobs such as:
Google: Affiliate Marketing Manager, Consultant and Viral Adsense Campaign Strategist
Vitek Mortgage Group: Campaign Project Lead, Senior Web Developer, Social Media Specialist
Team LoveHate: Senior Web Developer, Company Liaison and Consultant, Brand Promotion, Lead Photographer
Mirai Inc.: Collaborating Content Producer, Community Content Editor, Photography Content Collector for Printed Media, Project Videographer
Anime News Network: Photojournalist, Event Coverage Supplier
Black Rose Enterprises: Executive Marketer and Multimedia Drafter of Associated Media
Electronic Arts: Quality Assurance Tester, Collaborating Content Producer
Square Enix: Collaborating Marketing Producer, Event Press, Social Media Content Manager, Community Admin
G4 Media: Press Officer
Sony Computer Entertainment America: Press
Independant Quality Assurance Specialist: Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, Epic Games, Nippon Ichi Software
Self Employed Web Developer: Freelance Developer specializing in the creation of Wordpress and Blogspot websites, Design and Development of Social Media networks and management, e-commerce services for existing brands
Self Employed Photographer: Providing Run Around:Network and affiliated/partner/collaborating companies, conventions, and/or events with exclusive coverage
Run Around:Network: Founder/CEO/Director/Senior Web Admin/Lead Writer
Sharing My Life Through This Site
As much as possible I try to post photos of what I'm up to- be it at events, home, or in general public.
Since I decided to create this site I have met many amazing individuals and have been blessed to experience many wonderful things and places.
To give an example, I've met a multitude of voice actors & actresses, creators, directors, other bloggers- folks above like Nolan North (Deadpool, Nathan Drake), Jacob Grady (Fakku.net), and hosting events like RA:N's own summer Cosplay event, Cosplay Fiesta- my work ethic, determination, and integrity are attributed to the decision I made to do what I do.
Most of the photos I take revolve around my life and work in the vast and bustling pop-culture scenes of California, which happens to be one of the largest hot-spots for Visual Culture in the world.
Living in the Silicon Valley has allowed me acute access to events north and south of where I live in the state capital of Sacramento. Besides my usual shenanigans around Sacramento, I often find my way to San Fransisco and San Jose the most.
I am motivated by my passion to do what I like to do- share, enjoy, inform, and entertain.
I decided to make a choice several years ago in my last years of high school. I decided that I wasn't content or very uncomfortable with the idea of working for anyone else, so I devised a way to work on my own.
From junior high and on I was either home-schooled or chose to be put into independent programs where I was provided curriculum and depended on my ability to teach myself.
I have spent some time in college for web development, learning Japanese, and other journalism skills, but nowhere near the amount of time a regular student spends in a full college lifespan.
Most of what I know I have self-taught myself. Since I was 15 I've been relying on various resources and the internet to teach myself.
Around a decade later I am still learning and teaching myself.
My grandfather always taught me to never stop learning, always keep your brain active.
Its my motivation to live my passion, but my journey is still pretty early on and there's always more to learn!
Anyone (and I mean anyone) can discover something within themselves they are passionate about and make the choice to act upon it.
We were made to take steps into the scary unknown, not get comfortable in safe places- if we only did that we'd never go anywhere- and that is much more scary to me than the unknown.
Reika Fujishima [麗華藤島]
Reika Fujishima is an original character of RA:N and serves as the site's mascot character.
Reika (れいか, レイカ, 麗華, pronounced ray-kah, or rai-kuh) can be read as "Lovely or Beautiful Splendor" and "Companion Flower". Fujishima (藤島) can be read as "Wisteria Island"- the color of the Blue Chinese Wisteria trees were inspiration for her blue hair and general blueish themes, (besides her creator's favorite color being blue). In the character's backstory, Reika finds out as an adult that she's had amnesia and for some reason her place of birth- an island filled with Blue Wisteria trees- was blocked out of her mind due to a mystery that will later be revealed.
Reika began as a simple OC used by Hikaru Kazushime and was created to represent this site back in 2008.
Since then she has gone through several transformations as various artists have made fan-art, most recently is her Seifuku version as seen above.
The pink haired girl is Chie, a secondary mascot and friend to Reika.
Reika was created with features that represent her as one who may take photos and attend conventions as seen with her lanyard and camera.
She wears an "HK" hairpin, an homage to her mentor and inspiration in life.
Both Reika and Chie will be appearing in the the PC visual novel by Hikaru Kazushime that is currently in the making.
If you'd like to learn more about Reika Fujishima and the game she'll be appearing in, visit her page.
If you'd like to make your own fan art of Reika feel free to do so- email me or connect with me through social media, or post on the upcoming community page and it will be featured on the site!
Find out more about Reika Fujishima on her about page [click here!]
"You could probably guess that I play video games.
Gaming has been in my life since my parents introduced me to the Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)- as earliest as I can remember...3 years old?
It was all at once as they were gamers too, they shared with me their generation of awesome consoles, and as I grew up I never stopped.
I often relate with older gamers on classics since even as a 90's child, I was interested in the older games of the 80's that my parents had.
Throughout my life my mother has supported me in my hobbies- especially gaming. Fortunately she has been a parent with an open mind to the possibilities of learning and knowledge that can be gained from interacting with games.
My favorite genre of games are RPGs (role playing games) which usually involve making or playing a character from scratch and taking them through a long detailed and often emotional and sometimes even inspirational or touching storyline.
RPGs involve a lot of "leveling up" as your character gets stronger and obtains new abilities to fight enemies better- they also often include building relationships with other characters, getting politically involved with fictional nations and dealing in their affairs, fighting strong figures or organizations of evil intent, and a close examination would reveal a lot of positive teachings about staying strong, overcoming fears, lessons in friendship and love, and loads of strategy.
My favorite RPG series of all time is the Final Fantasy franchise, I've played nearly every game and invested a lot of time in the series and it's lore, characters, and worlds.
My other favorite Japanese RPGs also include Xenosaga, .hack//, the Atelier series and quite a few others.
My favorite western video game series of all time is Mass Effect, which is a fantastic and strikingly intelligent series one shouldn't miss.
I also like Danmaku games, Eroge/Visual Novels, Action Adventure games like Uncharted and Assassin's Creed, and my shooter of choice is Battlefield.
I try hundreds of games, usually whatever strikes my interest and often giving popular titles a shot unless I find it really uninteresting.
You can get a good look at what I've played on PS3-PS4 by looking up my PSN.
These days I mainly stick to PlaySation (all of them, 1-4 + PSP and PSVITA).
Feel free to add me, my PSN is: Hikaru_Kazushime
I have a Steam account for PC games, but I'm not on it as often as PlayStation.
My Steam ID is: Hikaru Kazushime"
"Even though I was born healthy, I later on developed a disease by the time I was 13 known as Scoliosis- or curvature of the spine.
At first it was only about a 20 degree curve, but by 2010 I had a 55 degree curvature- operation is demanded at 45 degrees.
My form of Scoliosis is known as "Idiopathic Scoliosis", which means they don't know what causes it, it simply "happens".
For a while as a teenager I had to wear a big clunky brace that looked like the body piece a Stormtrooper from Star Wars wears- it was impossible to sit down in, rubbed against my underarms, cut into my legs, it was miserable.
I ended up ditching it and using it as a shelf in the hall closet. (LOL!)
I was told in the end the brace wouldn't have helped anyways, my Scoli was becoming severe. The photo above is actually what it looks like today after it's been 'mended' by two titanium rods, 19 screws, and 4 hooks holding it all together.
Previous to the operation my spine was literally the shape of a backwards "S".
I would be risking it getting much worse and facing severe deformities, and even possible limb amputation in the future should blood be restricted by the curved spine.
My surgery was to last 10 hours on February 18th, 2010. I was supposed to be hospitalized for 2-3 weeks. I am a Christian so I prayed very hard that God would see me through, and I believe He did as I only spent 5 days there and came home healthy but had to take it very slow for a couple months.
FanimeCon 2010 rolled around and I went immediately. I remember actually running (I wasn't supposed to do any running post-op) to get to a chance to meet Daisuke Ishiwatari (Guilty Gear) and Toshimichi Mori (BlazBlue).
In the end it has left me safe from the things that could have happened, but I experience pinched nerves, muscle spasms, and the more tired I am my back gets more tired.
It can be rough to deal with, and conventions are often physically taxing but I pull through- possibly driven with adrenaline fueled by my passion. Who knows!
I was also told that my back pain will only get worse as I grow older, so I have to live and accomplish as much as I can before it does."
"I'm always improving my room and workstation as I collect things, I also want to boost efficiency at my desk.
When I take a break from work I often read manga or relax on the bed with a current anime mag or just play my PS Vita. These days its easy to turn on the PS4 and run a few matches of a shooter game like Overwatch, Battlefield, or Star Wars Battlefront on a break.
I run about 4 devices, two are laptops, one is a desktop PC, and one is an Android tablet. I also use my Android phone a lot in my work.
The one on the left is mostly permanently rooted here at the desk to handle simple queries or quick "look-ups" since its my oldest device I don't like to depend on it.
The laptop on the right is one of my two main devices, as it is second only to my main PC, handling web development, coding programs and tools, graphic design, holds all of my slides for panels, and of course- its another screen for multitasking.
The tablet in the middle is an ASUS EePad that runs Android OS that I bought mainly to test and develop tablet functionality for websites. It's also another quickly accessible device for short searches and is light and able to be carried around as I mull over various options while working on RA:N.
My phone as seen in one picture is also handy at my workstation as well. My Samsung Galaxy SIII which also runs Android OS is incredibly useful for a multitude of tasks related to my work which I'd like to write about soon.
Then of course the main screen you see is my desktop PC which handles about 80% of all of my work and often, PC gaming as well.
Some folks ask me, "Why have more than one computer?" and I say to them, "Why not?" as I enjoy not only being able to multitask efficiently, but the responsibilities and usefulness of each one are different.
Also, I'm comfortable around my machines...and besides, multi-screen setup looks badass."
As usual I'm an open book- I've seen my share of good and bad times, some of which are listed in light detail below for those who want a bit of a look into my backstory.
Born in Sacramento, California to parents of Norwegian, Irish, and Native American heritage, Kazu has been writing and working under the name, "Hikaru Kazushime", for over a decade.
The name Hikaru (ひかる, ヒカル) is a Japanese name that means "to shine" (光る), and the dictionary form of Hikari (光) which is "light".
At a distinct point in his childhood he made a Japanese friend who told him he had a "shining" personality and nicknamed him Hikaru.
He ended up using "Hikaru" as a name on most social places on the web during junior high and in the era of Myspace.
In 2005 he came up with the name "Kazushime" which was deliberately created to sound "like a good name to come after Hikaru", being used as if it were a last name. "Kazushime" is not technically fully a Japanese name or word as it sounds, but was purposefully made to be able to fit into the Japanese Kana alphabet.
Pronounced like (hee-kah-roo, kah-zoo-shee-may).
After starting a popular Myspace blog, Kazu continued writing and posting online as "Hikaru Kazushime", and has used the name so much, and so frequently in his life that it has stuck to all of his friends, family, readers, and loved ones.
"I have gotten criticism over using a Japanese (mostly) name and being caucasian, lol, but its really stuck...and if anything, I view it as respect to the country/culture (Japan) responsible for bringing to life much of the things I love and admire in my life. I see it as honorable.
My work, my surroundings, hobbies, nearly everything I relate to Japanese culture so...why not? Haters gonna hate." -Hikaru Kazushime
Kazu grew up as an only child with a single mother, his father abandoning them when he was 7 years old.
He made attempts afterward to visit his father for a few years who was in school for web design, until after some time his father didn't want to see him anymore for reasons never known.
In Christmas 2005 he once again tried to spend time with him, only to be verbally and mentally abused and dumped into a large puddle on the side of the road during a severe thunderstorm, left several miles from home.
The only and also early influence his father had was his interests in Star Wars, computers, and comics- but after a point in his life he decided it was time to move on from ever seeing or speaking to his biological father again.
Kazu grew up with his mother who worked tirelessly to support him.
During his mother's work he spent a considerable amount of time with his grandparents who alongside his mother taught him many things that are important in life such as Respect, Chivalry, Honor, Class, Generosity, Gratitude, Kindness, and much more.
"Most kids are bored by Grandpa's stories. Not me. I listened and learned from every single one of them, and now that he's gone I don't regret a second of it. Through so many of his stories and teachings I learned so much from a man who lived nearly a century, and saw this world change." -Hikaru Kazushime
Kazu's interests in writing began when he was 8 years old.
His interest in writing began by filling up empty notebooks with stories from games and anime with himself set as the main character instead.
In Junior High and High School he began writing short stories that were published for his school, served several student councils, and then took college courses for expository writing while still in High School.
Also in Junior High, he began a Myspace blog called "The Run Around" while listening to the song, "Run Around" by Jasan Radford.
Kazu has since guest blogged and submitted coverage of events for media outlets.
He also now mainly writes for his company, Run Around:Network on this very website.
In Kazu's early teens his grandmother passed away and his mother became ill with many conditions.
Kazu spent a lot of time taking care of his mother while doing home school.
During these years he had an abusive stepfather who complicated things.
These times went on for what seemed like eons until his mother began to recover around the time Kazu was graduating High School.
In 2009 Kazu was recovering from a bad breakup after 5 years with the girl he had planned to marry after high school, and on a whim he went with his friends to his first FanimeCon in 2009. Soon after the con, he got to know his future wife.
At that point in his life he had experienced a new energy welling up inside him that stemmed from the amazing community experience he had at FanimeCon 2009, and as he started to face a new path in life he took steps to expand his web design/blog project, then known as "Run Around:Kazu", with the dream of making it into a full-blown portal to Visual Culture and Event Coverage.
Dealing with his worsening Idiopathic Scoliosis while working and through many conventions was rough, and in 2010 he had a massive surgery, one that had a half-chance at leaving him paralyzed, and added 2 titanium rods, 19 screws, and 4 hooks to his spine.
Kazu got married in 2013, but in mid-2015 he began divorcing his wife due to infidelity and emotional trauma, and began living alone with his cat and recovering from situations his wife left him in. This has led to some hiatus in his work.
Kazu continues to look forward, hopeful in the future, and doing his best to be a voice in Visual Culture as he tweaks his web projects and further sorts his plans.
In early 2016 Kazu wrote about the state of this site and his work at the time, taking one final hiatus in a mission to find a then-unknown 'fix' that involved sorting out his personal life and returning to action in his career, all while giving a great face lift to the site and all of it's related social media portals.
Despite the trials he has faced with his back, relationships, and the many obstacles that have come and gone, he continually stays strong through the support of his family, friends, readers, his ambition and goals, and his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Throughout all of this time, his passion for Anime, Video Games, and his work have been there side by side through the good times and the darkest times.
Among other things like his Faith, family, and friends, Kazu credits much of his ability to always bounce back from dark times to the lessons taught and joys that come from his hobbies.
"Success and happiness often must come from sacrifice and/or rough times...when you're bogged down by negative things in your life, you have to push through in order to see the good that's waiting for you. Like they say, there's always a light at the end of the tunnel...and it is always darkest, just before the dawn.
I accept things that have happened to me as the hurt has made me wiser, the pain has taught me lessons, and the dark hours made me realize how bright, wonderful, and beautiful the good times really are. You are the ruler of your own world. You decide what will break you, or what will make you. The bad times don't win unless you let them ultimately consume you...in the end it's your life, your say." -Hikaru Kazushime
An Otaku Lifestyle
Kazu's first cognitive discovery of Japanese Anime happened at the age of 3 when he watched MACROSS II reruns on a generic international channel.
Kazu later recognized the series at his first convention when he was 6 years old- which happened to be Sac Con, an event he covers today.
His mother (a proud retro gamer) introduced him to the Atari 2600 video game system, along with the Nintendo and Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems very early on.
As a child he always kept a themed bedroom, and his mother (who's freaking awesome) always helped him collect the posters, figures, and games related to whatever franchise he was into.
After the big Poke'mon boom of the late 90's, Kazu began to discover more anime in his teens.
Moving from tv blocks like Toonami which showed the likes of Dragonball Z and Gundam Wing, to On-Demand video services and the Internet, Kazu discovered more anime titles like Full Metal Panic, Love Hina, Kanon, and other early 2000's series.
In 2006 he discovered his "all-time" favorite anime, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱
Collecting figurines amongst other anime and video game merchandise has become one of Kazu's favorite and most cherished hobbies.
By present time he is a self-proclaimed Otaku, and carries no shame- if not pure pride in the word "Otaku" itself.
Please feel free to contact/follow/like/etc me in any of these social platforms!
Connect with Hikaru Kazushime
- Facebook (RA:N)
- Facebook (Hikaru Kazushime)
- Instagram (RA:N)
- Instagram (Hikaru Kazushime)
- PSN ID: Hikaru_Kazushime
- Steam ID: Hikaru Kazushime
- LINE: hikarukazushime