Torarin: A Museum Mascot Inspired by an 18th Century Painting

Torarin was born from an 18th century painting

Japan has no shortage of yurukyara mascots. Municipalities have a mascot; political parties have a mascot; even the police force and the prisons have mascots. But one mascot that art-lovers like ourselves can truly rally behind is Torarin, the Kyoto National Museum mascot.

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With New Exhibition, Hokusai Museum Points Spotlight On Ukiyo-e Collectors

Since it opened in November of 2016, the Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo has already recorded 100,000 visitors, proving that the enigmatic Katsushika Hokusai continues to be an object of deep fascination. But for their 2nd exhibition, the museum is turning the spotlight on two primary collectors of Hokusai’s work.

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Oni-gawara: Japanese Demon Roof Tiles For Your Home

Oni, often translated as ogre or demon, are present in a variety of areas in Japanese culture. You might have heard that during setsubun, a festival associated with the Lunar New Year, people throw beans at oni to drive away evil-spirits. Oni appear in classic Japanese stage dramas of Noh, in Japanese fairy tales and as characters in popular anime. But sometimes you have to look a little harder; you have to look up, onto peoples roofs to find oni.

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Japanese Designer Hacks IKEA Shelf to Create Floor to Ceiling Parabolic Shelving

If you’re looking to create high-end design on an IKEA budget, take inspiration from Japanese artist and architect Takayoshi Kitagawa, who renovated his parents’ 38-year old apartment and studio in Osaka and transformed it into a dynamic, modernist living space.

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Music Monday: Sundays & Cybele

Sundays & Cybele are a Tokyo-based psychedelic rock band that takes their name from Serge Bourguignon’s 1962 film. But in Greek mythology Cybele was also a mountain or earth goddess, and many of the band’s songs are inspired by ancient Japanese songs and prayers for healthy crops and fertility.

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21_21 Design Sight to Expand, Add Gallery Space

On March 31, 2017, Tokyo Midtown’s 21_21 Design Sight will celebrate their 10th anniversary. And in doing so, they will be opening an art space: “Gallery 3.”

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Oyane Pottery Shop in Nagasaki Made from Ceramics and Kiln Shelving

the Oyane pottery shop | unless otherwise noted, photos by Takumi Ota

Last year Saikai Toki, and Nagasaki-based ceramics company that specializes in hasami ware, decided to renovate their main shop and showroom. And in doing so, they’ve turned the entire structure into a tribute to the local pottery tradition and rebranded it as Oyane.

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Kawazu Cherry Blossoms in Shizuoka Now in Full Bloom

The Kawazu-Zakura cherry blossoms (photo taken Feb 15 by Kyodo News)

If you’re sick of winter and ready for spring, head to Shizuoka’s Kawazu City, the host of one of Japan’s earliest cherry blossom festivals. The Kawazu-zakura cherry blossoms are known for blossoming early, but this year a warm winter has triggered the earliest bloom in the past 15 years, said city officials.

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Music Monday: RADWIMPS

If you had never heard of Radwimps before last year, you probably have now. The Japanese rock band has been around since 2001, slowly gaining domestic popularity with major milestones in 2006 and 2008. But last year film director Makoto Shinkai asked Yojiro Noda, the lead singer and songwriter, to create the soundtrack for an upcoming animated film. Shinkai’s film Kimi no Na Wa (Your Name) went on to break all kinds of records in Japan and the director has, rightly so, credited the band with playing a part in the film’s success.

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A’ Design Awards 2017: International Call for Entries, Deadline Feb 28 (Sponsor)

The A’ Design Award & Competition seeks to showcase the talents and success of innovators from all design fields. Competition categories include graphic design, fashion and apparel, photography, toys and games, furniture, architecture, and visual communication.

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