The banana peel is perhaps one of the most recognizable symbols of humor. If I had a banana for every time someone slipped on a banana peel in a vaudeville show or movie, I’d have… well, a lot of bananas. Interpreting this symbol and incoporating it into his own form of comedic art is Japanese artist Koji Kasatani.
On a side-street in Shonan near Enoshima, which runs along Japan’s Route 134, there is a peculiar scene that looks like something out of a Hayao Miyazaki film. Hundreds of bollards occupy the street like black ghosts poking their head out of the ground.
If you’re in Osaka, stop by the Grand Front shopping complex for a new-era surprise. The massive stairway in front of Osaka Station has been illuminated with shadow graphics that read 令和元年 (First Year of Reiwa). The stairway looks especially beautiful at night.
Japan’s new imperial era Reiwa begins May 1, 2019. It’s a historic event that is unusually festive given that the era change comes as a result of abdication, rather than the emperor’s death. You can read more about Reiwa and the meaning behind the characters but did you know that the new era comes with it’s own official color scheme? It’s true. Now you can coordinate your ultimate Reiwa style.
Avengers Endgame, the culmination of the 22-film story, is hitting theaters in the U.S. this week and anticipation among fans is high. One of those fans happens to be Japanese illustrator Takumi, who previously created the brilliant Ghibli Theme Park. To commemorate the film’s release, the artist has created a series of illustrations that render characters from the film in Ukiyo-e style.
Over the last several months, major Japanese financial institutions have begun phasing out the use of hanko, the equivalent of a personal seal. Having been widely adopted during the late 1800s, hanko had surprisingly maintained its relevance in the face of technological change and has always been a requirement for opening bank accounts, signing contracts and almost any official paperwork. But with the winds of change comes the opportunity to rethink and redesign.
The oldest record of incense in Japan can be found in The Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) where it states that aromatic wood drifted onto Awaji Island. Located in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, Awaji Island has preserved this tradition of incense and, for hundreds of years, continued to rethink it. The latest innovation is, poetically, a return to roots: leaf-shaped paper that carefully burns like a dried leaf.
Daoko is a Tokyo-based Japanese singer and rapper who got her start on video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga. Since having one of her videos gain traction at the age of 15, her career has been on an upward trajectory. Still 22, her style appears surprisingly grounded and mature. She’s gained mainstream and subculture acceptance as she remixes gaming and anime culture to create visually arresting music videos.
Aptly titled Path, a mountainous home rises up in a central Tokyo neighborhood. Designed by ARTechnic Architects and created for a couple and their 3 kids, the U-shaped structure consists of multi-levels that are connected by stairs that wind through the space like a mountain trail.
Over the past decade or so, floating shelves have become somewhat ubiquitous in the minimal design world. With support mechanisms attached directly into the wall, they made legs obsolete, an effect that rendered cleaner lines. Now, those shelves have reached their next phase: invisibility.