How Lily Deakin Rediscovered the Carefree Spirit of Childhood Through Pole Dancing

Despite the hypersexualised clichés that surround it, this discipline that breeds physical strength and self-confidence is growing in Japan.


Lily Deakin never imagined herself doing pole dancing. The fashion buyer went to an ordinary gym in the Tokyo area until she was thrown out because her numerous tattoos were considered to have become too much of an issue. When a friend suggested that she go with her to a pole dancing class, she thought this kind of seductive dancing wouldn’t be her thing. However, she found herself developing a passion for a sporting discipline that transcends all the clichés that surround it.

Lily Deakin practises pole dancing at Studio TRANSFORM, founded in Shibuya in 2012 by Kaori Ozawa. The latter is a major figure in pole dancing in Japan and head of the Japan Pole Dance Association (JPDA). When she was younger, Kaori Ozawa did nihon-buyo (a traditional Japanese dance form) and received admiration from audiences for her artistry. Her pole dancing performances were not received in the same way. Thus, she created Studio Transform to welcome enthusiasts of all ages and identities, ‘a genderless place’.

Indeed, this is what Lily Deakin has taken from pole dancing. She sees it not as a way to project an attractive image of oneself, but to feel good about and comfortable in one’s body.


More informations about TRANSFORM can be found on the studio’s website (in Japanese) and on Kaori Ozawa’s Instagram account.
Lily Deakin’s latest updates can be found on her Instagram account.


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