Hideaki Hamada’s View of Somewhere in Tokyo

all photos copyright Hideaki Hamada

The Japanese photographer Hideaki Hamada is perhaps most well-known for his lovingly intimate depictions of his two kids, Haru and Mina. But if you are following him on any one of his social media channels, you’ll know that he also has a keen eye for capturing places in photographs that are achingly mundane yet beautifully nostalgic.   

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Japanese Hand-Carved Wooden Dumbbells

Blue 2 Tokushima is an initiative to connect designers with local manufacturers in Japan’s Tokushima Prefecture with the objective of coming up with new applications for craftsmanship and manufacturing expertise. One result of that initiative are these gorgeous, wooden dumbbells.

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New Masking Tape Paintings by Nasa Funahara

Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” recreated in masking tape. The piece was part of a recent Vermeer Tribute Exhibition in Japan.

The Japanese artist Nasa Funahara’s obsession with masking tape began with the simple hobby of collecting. As you might know, Japanese washi masking tape comes in all sort of colors, patterns and designs. And at 200 -300 yen a pop, they’re pretty easy impulse purchases, especially if you have a thing for stationery. It was in college when she decided to use her masking tape as part of a class assignment and the response was huge. So she began replicating famous paintings using only masking tape.

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The Stove to Table Frying Pan JIU

Using the frying pan you just cooked in as a plate is an age-old device employed by everyone from broke college students to campers. It’s not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination, but when rethought, reworked and redesigned, the result can be startlingly fresh and unique. That’s what this Japanese design duo set out to do with the Frying Pan JIU.

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Photographing The Story of Japanese Textiles

photograph by Shinya Sato

On display right in Tokyo is an exhibition of photographs that survey Japan’s landscape of textile traditions. From Kyo-yuzen and Echigo-jofu to Oshima-tsumugi and Benibana-zome, techniques and their corresponding geographies are the subject of the exhibition.

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Ink Paintings by Tokugawa Iemitsu Casts Different Light on Ruthless Leader

Tokugawa Iemitsu was the 3rd Shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty. As grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu, he ruled Japan from 1623 – 1651 and was known as a ruthless commander who crucified Christians, forced his younger brother to commit suicide, expelled Europeans and closed off Japan from the rest of the world in what became known as sakoku, which lasted for 200 years. As an artist though, his suibokuga, or ink paintings, show him in different, perhaps meeker, light.

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Japanese Designer New Year’s Cards of 2019

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a peaceful start to 2019. We kicked off the year of the boar by getting sick, which was hopefully the last illness of this year. And it’s delayed us from publishing some of our favorite Japanese designer New Year’s cards, or nengajo, as they’re called. We’ve got gifs, miniatures and traditional illustrations but there’s one thing these cards all have in common: boar!

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Kirie Octopus Cut From a Single Piece of Paper by Masayo Fukuda

all photos courtesy Masayo Fukuda

Kirie (切り絵, literally ‘cut picture’) is the Japanese art of paper-cutting. Variations of kirie can be found in cultures around the world but the Japanese version is said to be derived from religious ceremonies and can be traced back to around the AD 700s. In its most conventional form, negative space is cut from a single sheet of white paper and then contrasted against a black background to reveal a rendering. Veteran kirie artist Masayo Fukuda has been practicing the art form for 25 years and recently revealed what she says is her greatest masterpiece of 2018.

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Tokyo’s Best Designer Christmas Trees of 2018

If you’re doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in Tokyo, try and swing by some of these locations where you’ll find the best seasonal yet unorthodox designer Christmas trees.

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Bunkitsu: the New Bookstore in Tokyo That Has a Cover Charge

the entrance to Bunkitsu, a new book store in Tokyo

Bookstores are becoming an endangered species. And yet we love them so much. So what do we do? What is the right business model for a bookstore? Bunkitsu, which opened this month in Tokyo, has an answer: a cover charge.

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