Mifuneyama Rakuen Park is a sprawling natural sanctuary in Kyushu that was created in 1845. It is home to some of Japan’s most spiritual and sacred objects of nature such as trees that are hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of years old. The site is also home to enormous megaliths. Almost supernatural in their formation, they have been preserved as a dwelling place of god. These enormous stones serve as inspiration for digital art collective TeamLab’s latest on-site installation.
If you’ve ever visited Japan’s magical art island of Naoshima you’ll most certainly have visited one of its most iconic pieces of art: Yayoi Kusama’s yellow pumpkin that sits at the tip of an abandoned pier. Although the waters of Japan’s Inland Sea are mostly calm, during the summer the pumpkin becomes susceptible to high winds and waves brought on by numerous hurricanes.
Symbiosis is the theme of Daigo Daikoku’s debut U.S. installation, which features real flowers, light, and augmented reality that blends the physical and digital worlds. Titled “Art of the Bloom,” the exhibition is currently on display at Edison Theater in Long Beach, California.
The immense and sprawling Tokyo subway system seems to be permanently under construction. It’s good to see a metropolis investing in what is already an excellent public transportation infrastructure system but for heavy users it can be frustrating to find your path blocked by temporary walls and detours.
But several years ago, straphangers began noticing elegant typography crafted from duct tape, directing passengers to station exits and platforms.
“Ikemen Kanno Emaki” (イケメン官能絵巻), or Scroll of Handsome and Sensual Men, is a series of artworks that were installed earlier this year at Kokujoji Temple in Japan’s Niigata prefecture. Established in the year 709, the temple is believed to be the oldest in the region. And yet it, along with many other temples dotted across the land, has been plagued by a decline in visitors. So in an attempt to drum up interest, particularly among young women, head priest Kotetsu Yamada decided to invite Tokyo-based artist Ryoko Kimura to create the scrolls.
The hollowing out of suburban Japan is real. Lured by the appeal of major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, young Japanese continue to relocate. And as they do, rural Japan continues to fall into disrepair. It’s a vicious cycle and so much history and culture is at stake.
But where rural Japan lacks in modern amenities and convenience it more than makes up with through its charm and rich heritage. And the key to getting people to go out and discover that charm lies in storytelling. One group that particularly excels in that storytelling is Hinui Hitohi.
The scenes that illustrator Masashi Shimakawa decides to memorialize are not special in any way. They depict ordinary moments on ordinary streets of Japan: a person waiting for a light to change, a row of vending machines or an eatery at dusk, glowing from within. But finding beauty in the mundane is something Shimakawa excels at.
Japanese artist Kanako Shintaku covers her entire, naked body in paint. From the hair on her head to the nails on her toes, everything is covered in multi-colored paint, essentially creating a new, alien skin. Her artwork is presented in the form of a performance that can last 4 – 8 hours, as well as self-portrait photography.
Tokyo in the summer is not a pleasant experience. The combination of extreme heat and humidity renders one a slave to the air conditioner as you move from location to location, looking for the next respite of cool air. But what if you could take the a/c with you? The concept is certainly not new but Sony has a new elegant and practical solution.
The Shibuya Bon Odori, a popular summer festival is returning this year for an evening of lights, music and traditional dance. Although still in its 3rd year, for the last 2 years the posters for the event have been created by contemporary ukiyo-e artist Masumi Ishikawa (previously). This year’s design features Shibuya’s famous canine Hachiko coming down from his pedestal and energetically heading off to the dance.