An Exhibition of Photographs and Ceramics at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine

unless otherwise noted, all photos by Hiroshi Mizusaki courtesy Case-Real Architects

Japan’s Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine, the 1,100-year-old site of Shinto worship in Fukuoka, has thousands of historic artifacts and antiques as part of their public art collection. But several years ago the shrine embarked on an ingenious program – spearheaded by a young priest – to host contemporary art shows within their historic walls. This summer, two Japanese artists heavily influenced by Finland, come together in a multidisciplinary exhibition of photographs and ceramics.

Continue reading

Kashiwa Sato’s Rebranding for 7-Eleven Japan

unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy Kashiwa Sato

In 2010, Creative Director Kashiwa Sato embarked on an ambitious project to rebrand 7-Eleven Japan. In doing so, Sato developed a design strategy for Japan’s largest chain of convenient stores (conbini) and deployed, what he calls, “iconic branding.” It’s the same approach he’s used for other high-profile clients like Uniqlo and NTT Docomo but the essence is to identify a core message and then design an icon that conveys that message across barriers.

Continue reading

Misojyu: A New Eatery in Tokyo Serves Just Miso Soup and Onigiri

photos courtesy Kouki Komatsuzawa/Splendor

Miso soup and onigiri (rice balls) are my ultimate comfort food. I take them with me when I travel, especially on long flights because nothing puts me at ease quite like sipping warm miso soup. It’s a simple pleasure but one that Misojyu, a new eatery in Tokyo, wants to share with locals and visitors alike.

Continue reading

The Japanese Mini Truck Garden Contest is a Whole New Genre in Landscaping

The Kei Truck, or kei-tora for short, is a tiny but practical vehicle that originated in Japan. Although these days it’s widely used throughout Asia and other parts of the world, in Japan you’ll often see them used in the construction and agriculture industries as they can maneuver through small side streets and easily park. And in a more recent turn of events, apparently they’re also used as a canvas for gardening contests.

Continue reading

A Project to Immortalize David Bowie in Traditional Woodblock Prints

David Bowie, who passed away in 2016, had a very special connection – some may even call it a “love affair” – with Japan. He originally developed his affinity after taking an interest in Kabuki and was heavily influenced by the exaggerated gestures, costumes and make-up. He later went on to work with fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto on many iconic costumes, as well as with musicians like Tomoyasu Hotei and the filmmaker Nagisa Oshima. In a sense, the love affair has come full circle and now a project has been announced to immortalize David Bowie in the form of ukiyo-e woodblock prints that depict Bowie in elements of kabuki.

Continue reading

These Japanese Garden Tools Will Make You Want a Green Thumb

Sanjo City in Niigata has a history of blacksmithing that dates back to the 17th century. Susceptible to flooding, the farmers of the region were struggling to make a living until a local magistrate went to Edo and convinced a number of blacksmiths to come and teach the farmers to make nails as a source of income. This decision led to the flourishing of an entire industry that still remains today. One of those blacksmith companies carrying on the legacy is Kondo Seisakusho.

Continue reading

How Compassion and Empathy Contributed to the Naming of Ramen

OK ya’ll trivia time. Ramen (ラーメン): we all love it, right? Ultimate comfort food, late-night snack, hangover cure, etc. It’s become one of Japan’s most popular culinary exports.

Some know that men (麺) means noodle. But, have you ever wondered what Ra means?

Continue reading

Nostalgic Paintings of Coney Island by Kotatsu Iwata

artist Kotatsu Iwata’s series of works, “Coney Island Project”

For artists living in New York, Brooklyn’s Coney Island offers endless visual inspiration. The Italian-born futurist Joseph Stella was dazzled by its electric lights and intoxicating revolving machines. The American painter Paul Cadmus held a more satirical view, poking fun at the crowds of beachgoers by painting their bulging bodies and uncouth behavior in exaggerated form. For New York-based Japanese artist Kotatsu Iwata, Coney Island is depicted in a much more low-key yet equally arresting fashion.

Continue reading

Bread Beds Let You Sleep in the Warmth of a Loaf

Have you ever wanted to crawl inside a warm, freshly-baked loaf of bread and go to sleep? In what is perhaps the greatest thing since sliced bread, Japanese sofa and chair manufacturer Cellutane produces a line of bread-inspired beds that practically guarantee sweet dreams for anyone with a profound passion for pan (that’s Japanese for bread).

Continue reading

Food Waste Transformed into Tableware by Kosuke Araki

For years Japanese designer Kosuke Araki has been exploring plant-based materials and the techniques of processing them, in an attempt to find alternatives to synthetic plastics. In particular, he has focused his exploration on techniques rooted in Japanese culture. This eventually led to a project documenting the food waste we produce on a daily basis, and making a series of tableware from it.

Continue reading

« Older posts

© 2018 Spoon & Tamago

Up ↑

Design by Bento Graphics