Tag: Japan

Architecture

700-year-old sacred tree located in a Japanese train station

Kayashima Station in the Northeast suburbs of central Osaka, Japan hosts a 700-year-old tree. The massive camphor tree has been around for centuries and is associated with a deity. The station first opened in 1910 and was soon plagued by overcrowding. Officials planned to remove the tree completely but all efforts were halted by locals fuelled by their belief in the tree's holy powers. It is said that a man who cut off one of its branches developed high fever the next day. The new station was completed in 1980 with the tree standing tall even to this day. Check out some images of the station below! ...
Art

Japanese illustrator Maori Sakai perfectly captures happiness in her artwork

Born and raised in Japan, Maori Sakai has never seen herself doing anything other than creating interestingly cute, whimsical art. After attending Kuwasawa Design School in Tokyo for three years, she went on to work for a production company for another three years and is currently producing charming illustrations and lively GIFs for magazines and art websites as a freelance. Thoka Maer, Olivia Hynh, and Jen Mann are just a few of her favorite artists. She also mentions Studio Ghibli and Walt Disney, two of the greatest animation companies of all time, as her childhood heroes. When asked where she gets her inspiration, she tells Giphy she’s inspired by life. And it’s pretty evident in her work which, according to her, in essence, is capturing “my feelings and all the daydreaming.” With her unbelievable attention to detail and adorable portrayal of stories evolving coffee, people, and cats, her stories perfectly tell the subtle innocence in genuine happiness....
Creativity

Photographer takes on experiment with a $1 camera in Japan and the results are dreamy

In this modern day and age, it would be weird for someone to replace a good digital camera (or a mobile phone) with a $1 point-and-shoot 35mm camera. For photographer Skyler Adams who has self-diagnosed himself with GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), this was a challenge he would never have expected himself to be “pleasantly surprised” with. During a trip to Japan, he decided to take it upon himself to know if the camera really doesn’t make the picture, like what photographers would often say. Writing in PetaPixel, he said he, “…found a Canon Sure Shot camera in a thrift store, and bought it along with an expired roll of Fujifilm Superia 400 film for $2.” He took pictures of landscapes and people, and the pictures all turned out to be quite dreamy and nostalgic. Talking about the experience, he said that, “most of the battle is finding good light” and that “the cost of each photo has helped me compose photos better.” He spent a total of $10 for this whole experiment....
Creativity

Everything that a nomad in Japan needs is in “Hako”

In Japan, there are many people that often move from place to place for many reasons that are very different from one another. Mexican designer Gerardo Osio wanted to give nomads in Japan a sense of belonging. His design was created with a more traditional manner in mind, dedicated to Zen minimalist culture. In the wooden box,  which Osio cals "Hako", is placed a couple of traditional objects that would make any place feel familiar, warm and cozy. This is an excellent example of a mishmash of modernity and traditionality but made in a beautiful way. ...
Art

More heads are certainly better than one in this Japanese artist’s sculptures

Yoshitoshi Kanemaki is accustomed to abnormal figurative sculptors, seeing as how wonderful some of his latest creations are. The Japanese sculptor produces sculptures that feature various facial abnormalities and deformities. Some figures feature multiple faces while others seem to defy gravity with jelly-inspired postures. The sculptures vary in scale with some even being life-size and have been carved out of camphor wood, then chiseled into form. Check out some of the sculptures below and find more from Kanemaki on his Behance and Facebook. ...
Creativity

Elaborately-dressed bagworms dresses female consumer culture in Japan

Aki Inomata is tackling female consumer culture in Japan as part of her elaborate series in an odd and creative way! The artist dressed female bagworms with pieces of extravagant attire, designed to be protective cases of sorts. She purposely chose to use female bagworms because, unlike their masculine partners, they retain their protective cases for the entirety of their lives. The work was exhibited in Japan and serves as Inomata's commentary on what women go through to be accepted by society in terms of their looks. Check out some of her creative bagworm dresses below and find more on her website. ...
Funny

This Japanese museum is dedicated to funny rocks with human faces

Located two hours northwest of Tokyo is Chichibu, Japan is the only place in the world you'll find a museum dedicated to funny-looking rocks. Yeah, you read that correctly. It’s officially called the Chinsekikan, or "Hall of Curious Rocks," and contains a ton of "jinmenseki," rocks with human faces. It's run by Yoshiko Hayama, widow of the original owner who passed away in 2010.  The late Shozo Hayama was an avid collector of rocks and spent 50 years collecting ones that reminded him of faces. Hayama believed that nature was the best and only artist. Check out some of the freaky rocks below and if you're looking to visit the museum, make sure to plan ahead because it often closes unexpectedly for personal reasons. ...
Creativity

Artist Shinri Tezuka practices the art of rolling, sculpting, and painting candy

Teaching yourself how to sculpt is hard enough, but to sculpt candy is one step above that. You have to also worry about making it tasty! Shinri Tezuka taught himself how to sculpt candy at the age of 27 and is perhaps the youngest practitioner of amezaiku - the diminishing art of candy crafting. The craft's roots can be found hundreds of years back and it's amazing how there are only two candy-makers that use this technique in all of Tokyo, Japan. You have to paint that thing too! Great Big Story dropped in on Tezuka at work and put together a nice video profiling the candy artist.  ...
Architecture

Japanese chapel architecture inspired by hands in prayer

You don't expect to stumble upon incredible architecture on a random walk through the woods. Yet, the Sayama Forest Chapel exists and delivers just that. The three-year-old building, designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, was designed to imitate a star and two hands pressed in prayer when viewed from above. The chapel is inspired by the traditional Japanese structural form, “Gassho-zukuri.” The aim of the project was to create a welcoming traditional venue that still allows room for the surrounding forest to grow and retain its shape. Nakamura, while talking to Yellowtrace said, "For those who are in deep grief and inconsolable, how can architecture nurture them? With this in mind, I designed buildings that gently surround them and support their intentions." Check out some images of the structure below and find more splendid works from the group on their website. ...
Art

River of blue-glowing shrimp photographed on Japanese coast

The coast of Okayama, Japan has a nice surprise in store for visitors after sunset. This surprise was caught in a brilliant series by Trevor Williams and Jonathan Galione. The duo are part of Tdub Photo and recently caught a glimpse of hundreds of bioluminescent shrimp. The series, cleverly called The Weeping Stones, shows the swarms of shrimp giving off an eerie blue glow while “emitting” from rocks on the coast. The photographers had to strategically position the critters just right after luring them raw bacon. Check out some of the photos below and find more on their website including a future project involving glowing mushrooms. And be sure to keep up with them on Instagram and Facebook. ...
Art

Massive projection installation features thousands of colorful koi fish

Visitors to Tokyo’s Odaiba Minna no YUME-TAIRIKU 2016 festival were welcomed by  teamLab‘s light mapping installation which features a seemingly never-ending pool of water. This illusion is made possible by mirrored ceiling and walls that surround the installation. Thousands of computer-generated koi are projected around the feet of each visitor. The fish pick up speed around certain areas, and even burst into pixelated flowers. The installation is only one of four large-scale ones featured at this year's festival. Watch the video below and check out the other installations on the festival’s website. ...
Video

Gravity-defying short film set in Osaka will blow your mind

Christopher Nolan’s smash-hit film “Inception” brought physics-defying building effects to the mainstream. And now an artist collective has take it one step forward. AUJIK is a collaborative studio of artists and filmmakers and they’ve just released Spatial Bodies, a mind-bending short film set in Osaka, Japan. The live-action footage of the city skyline and high-rise architecture was used to composite CGI elements in the form of apartment buildings that curve and extend in vine-like fashion. Watch the short below! ...
Furniture

Furniture designer is influenced by Japan and Scandinavia

In a three-legged rocking chair design called Nobu, Danish furniture designer Rasmus Warberg uses a curved foot to create stability. The bent steel frame is mirrored with the chair seat’s circular curves and rounded backrest. Made from steel tube, ash wood, and leather, the design shows simplicity, precision, and airiness. Having studied design in both Japan and Scandinavia, his Copenhagen-based studio strives to create furniture that is unique in its visual aesthetic while pulling from the craftsman and design traditions of the two countries. ...
Photography

Tokyo nightlife mimics scenes in video games

Art Director Liam Wong creates some imaginative scenes for video game developer Ubisoft as part of his day job. At night, however, he prowls the streets of Tokyo, capturing scenes that mimic those found in video games. On Instagram he has created a massive archive of such images that explore the blurring of the line between digital and physical in the real world. Check out some of Wong’s game-like imagery below and find more on Facebook, and Society6 where you can buy physical prints! ...
Photography

Rare aerial phenomenon produces colorful jet contrails in Japan

If you look up more often you just might find something awe-inspiring like Kagaya who happened upon this colorful sight in Japan. The photographer was taking a stroll with his camera at Oshino-Mura, Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan. When he looked up, he spotted a commercial jetliner leaving behind rainbow-hued contrails. The rare phenomenon captured is the result of cloud iridescence, where water and sunlight converge perfectly and give birth to this beautiful arrangement of colors. If you’d like to see more examples of cloud iridescence, click here! ...
Photography

Gorgeous cherry blossoms in Tokyo captured in impressive photos

Tokyo, Japan is bursting with color thanks to its famous cherry blossom trees at Inokashira Park. Photographer Danilo Dungo spends time at the park every year during spring to capture the beautiful sight birthed by blooming cherry trees. Over the years, Dungo has become a master at taking impressive shots of the event that attracts thousands of visitors each year. The photographs below are just a few from the myriad taken by Dungo over the last two years. Check them out, and find more on his NatGeo Your Shot page. ...
Photography

The photographic poetry of birds perched on a wire

Photographer Yoshinori Mizutani has also looked to these highly perched birds for a photographic series titled Kawau. The black and white photographs use minimalist compositions to capture the birds that have perched along Tokyo’s Tama River. “The sight of big flocks of birds perching on electric wires and flying above your head is eerie, visually shocking and at the same time breath-taking,” said the photographer. He says that the Kawau birds have recently exploded in population in Japan, altering the local ecosystem. ...
Illustration

Immersive artwork housed inside 40-foot inflatable dome

Japanese artist Oscar Oiwa’s latest work, “Oiwa Island 2”, is set inside of a 40-foot inflatable dome within a now-defunct soy sauce factory. The illustrations were created as part of the 2016 Setouchi Triennale, an art festival known for its sheer scale as it spans 12 islands and includes 68 works by artists, architects, and designers alike. Oiwa’s 360-degree drawing takes visitors on a journey through natural imagery accentuated by flowing water wave patterns. Check out the circular art below, and learn more about the festival here. ...
Creativity

Giant Dragon Ball-related snow sculptures in Japan

Kids playing on the snow is not an uncommon sight; and 66 years ago in Japan, that inspired The Sapporo Snow Festival. What started with middle and high school students and six snow sculptures has evolved into a traditional winter event. More than 2 million visitors come to admire giant sculptures designed and built by teams from all around the world. The amount of snow used to build them is so big that they had to bring construction equipment. This year, for the 30th anniversary of the Dragon Ball anime series, a giant sculpture of Goku, Vegeta and some emblematic enemies. You can see more of the festival and the fenomenal works of art on Youtube and Instagram. ...
Photography

Masashi Wakui gives Tokyo cityscapes a cinematic feel in new series

Having recently watched Blade Runner for the billionth time, I can’t help but fall in love with these neon-filled photos from Masashi Wakui. The Japanese photographer gives Tokyo a well-deserved series featuring its vibrant cityscapes at night. Wakui loves capturing lanterns, streetlights and neon signs which make the photos all the more cinematic, reminiscent of a still from a Studio Ghibli production. His photographs have garnered a cult-like status sparking a plethora of online tutorials to help enthusiasts achieve the “Masashi Wakui Look”. Check out some of Wakui’s recent photographs below, and click here for more! ...
Architecture

Chinese artist pays tribute to rockstars with megalithic monuments

Just as we immortalize influential figures in history with monuments, Chinese artist DU Kun pays tribute to icons of the Chinese music industry. With a passion for music and rockstars, Beijing-based painter DU Kun is fascinated by the idea of legacy creation and fame in the music industry. This reverence led him to create “Revels of the Rock Gods”, a series of portraits that fuse a temple-like aesthetic. The oil paintings depict each Chinese musician with a godlike status with windows carved into eyes and frozen waterfalls for hair. Currently the paintings are being exhibited in Japan at the Mizuma Art Gallery. To see more of DJ Kun’s work, head on over to his website. ...
Art

50,000 donated keys suspended above old wooden boats at the 2015 Venice Biennale

Artist Chiharu Shiota revealed an amusing installation under the title, "The Key in the Hand," at the 2015 Venice Biennale. The installation is essentially a web of scattered old wooden boats, each hosting a network of 50,000 donated keys suspended by red strings. Check out the fantastic video featurette of the Key in the Hand below, filmed by Sergey Khodakovskiy. ...
Art

Largest art festival in the world takes place in Niigata, Japan

Based in Japan, The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale takes place every three years and is considered the largest art festival in the world. Visitors are encouraged to explore 200 villages spanning around 190,000 acres in the industrial port of Niigata, Japan. Over a period of 50 days, art lovers can admire the works of more than 160 artists scattered all over the land. Human interaction with nature was this year’s theme and inspired each piece. According to the organizers of the event, the idea is to interact with the land, which is deemed the real canvas for the artwork. Check out the amazing installations below and consider picking up Art Place Japan, which contains over 800 pieces featured throughout the festival's history. ...
Architecture

One of a kind art laboratory aims to restore traditional methods

Science laboratories exist in abundance around the world, but Pigment is not your ordinary lab. Recently opened in Tokyo, Japan, Pigment is a new concept art supply laboratory and store. Kengo Kuma was the architect in charge of the project for company Warehouse TERRADA. Those visiting the store are welcomed by neat and precise cuts of bamboo juxtaposed with large open spaces. The beautifully-designed store aims to take artists back to traditional methods of painting and illustration by offering hard-to-find tools as well as workshops by art instructors and manufacturers. Check out the interior of Pigment below, and click here to visit their online store. ...
Creativity

New paint set helps people understand color better

Understanding color can be challenging and at times downright complicated. This is why a designer duo from Japan is paving the way to easing our understanding of color. Designed by Yusuke Imai and Ayami Moteki, “Nameless Paints” are a set of 10 paints encased in tubes that spell out the name of each color with depictions of primary colors like yellow, magenta, cyan etc. Each color is represented by solid dots which vary in size, giving the user a good idea of just how much of each primary color influences the mixtures. This simple naming convention coupled with great package design won the pair the Kokuyo Design Award in 2012. ...
Photography

New series from Takashi Kitajima shows Tokyo through a magnifying glass

Magnifying glasses are...magnificent. Perhaps no one knows how to use them better than  Japanese photographer Takashi Kitajima. A computer software engineer by profession, Kitajima, previously featured on Design Faves here, is renowned for using innovative techniques to capture public spaces. Recently, his Flickr gallery welcomed a series of nighttime shots of Tokyo that were taken through a magnifying glass, of all things. Depth of field causes everything but the objects in the magnifying glass to appear blurry, making the viewer feel like a private detective taking in the beautiful sights of downtown Tokyo at night. Check out some pictures from the series below and follow Kitajima on Flickr for more! ...
Design

Japanese students create playful scenes using candy packaging

Japanese products are renowned for their bright and vibrant packaging. Who would’ve thought that the same packaging could be used to make even brighter art? Illustrator and designer Akihiro Mizuuchi teaches a design class at Renaissance Design Academy and, as part of a class project, asked his students to pick candy packaging of their choice, cut out shapes and colors, and recreate characters and playful scenes. Darth Vader, R2-D2, and Link all make an appearance in the whimsical scenes. Check them out below and visit Mizuuchi’s website for more. ...
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