Posted on September 05 2017
Ken Gushi: Life in the fast lane
Meet the real-life Sean Boswell, pro drifter Kenshiro Gushi.
Except instead of moving from the US to Japan, Ken Gushi moved from Okinawa Japan to LA with his parents at the age of two. We had the chance to speak to the man himself when he popped into Singapore for a Dunlop Charity Event last weekend of August.
We had a great chance to catch up at the Pit Building, thanks to our great pal Marcus, from Binter.
Flesh Imp / FI
Ken Gushi / KG
FI : Tell us about yourself
KG : My name is Kenshiro Gushi, and I'm a pro-race car driver.
I was born in Okinawa JP, but moved to Los Angeles with my parents when I was just 2 years old. I have a younger sister who is a nurse. I'm the first pro racer in my family, and she is the first nurse in our family.
I began racing at the age of 13 when my dad put me in a rear drive 1985 Toyota Corolla at the El Mirage Dry Lake bed in California. Immediately, I was hooked on sliding cars around. Fast forward 17 years, I'm a works driver for Toyota Racing in the Formula Drift series.
FI : What made you want to drift?
KG : It was the feeling for escape from reality. Drifting is the art and motion of forcing a vehicle to do what it was never designed or intended to do. I loved that sense of rebellion. And I've always wanted to push that to the extreme.
Ken in Patches Tee
FI : Have you always wanted to drift?
KG : I knew immediately that I would one day become a pro driver. Not just with drift, but with performance driving in general. But I've also wanted to try other things. I did a little bit of snowboarding, 2 wheel dirt bikes, break dancing (at least an attempt!), and even tried vinyl scratching on the 1s and 2s. I have a whole DJ turntable setup in my room. I have even finished 2 full 42km Los Angeles marathons.
I still have a long list of things I want to try and accomplish before I die!
Ken in Snake Hoodie
FI : You always seem so confident on screen and on the track, is that always how you are?
KG : It wasn't long after I began onscreen camera and film work that I realized I was an introvert. Behind the scenes, I actually have a hard time carrying conversations with people. But in my career path, and especially in my field of work, talking and striking up conversations is a must-have skill set. So over the years, I developed a way to mentally switch on a extrovert Ken. I genuinely feel like a different person when I'm in front of camera or fans. Otherwise, I'm extremely quiet and reserved.
FI : Describe your fashion style
KG : What style?? Haha!! Just kidding.
Normally, I love to dress comfortable and casual. This would include joggers with sneakers, and a basic long t-shirt. Pair that with a nice watch and call it a day. If it's trendy and fresh, I'm all about it. While I was in Singapore, Nicholas from Flesh Imp hooked me up with some new gear. Totally my style so I was excited!
FI : If you are compared to a piece of apparel, what would you be, and why
KG : I'd have to say I'm a pair of chonies, or briefs for those who don't understand LA street lingo. Why you ask? Because I carry a huge package. 😏
And I like to protect my belongings. In all aspects of life, of course.
FI : Any shoutouts?
KG : Massive shout outs to Nicholas and Flesh Imp for always taking care of me when I'm in Asia. Marcus with Binter for believing in me and trusting me with your cars, Nian for lending me your car during the event and shoot, and to my FD Asia family. Ivan, Phob, and everyone else, ya'll are family to me. Last but not least, my fans around the globe! Number 1 baby.
Big ups to Ken for always showing love to your boys down in Singapore.
I met Ken a couple years back during the Formula Drift Singapore Competition and I was part of another drift team called DDF. When I was introduced to Ken, after being awestruck for a few seconds, I realised that this world class drifter that have many wins under his belt, is actually a very humble and quiet kinda guy.
His knowledge for cars, and drifting is amazing and he has that passion for his sport, and the desire to find out what is lacking and how to improve every time is definitely a virtue to have, be in on the tracks, or in life.
As we walked away after the shoot at the pit building, I am still thinking about how Ken could really score a side gig as a fashion model. haha. Perhaps we should work on something, should we?
And oh, I do miss Ken's taxi ride in his Toyota Chaser!
Follow Ken on his Instagram right here.
Photos by @purgingsouls