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Accordion Folding Scrolls Frame Collages by Nao Morigo

“Japanese Flowers”

At Kyoto Seika University, Nao Morigo studied western painting but also engraving, pottery, lacquer and jewelry design. And as an artist she expended her palette to include calligraphy and nihonga. So it’s no surprise that her expertise in a vast range of materials, both Japanese and Western, are one of her keys to creating her beautiful miniature collages.

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Landscapes Carved Into Wood by Keisuke Tanaka

all photos courtesy Yamamoto Gendai

Japanese sculptor Keisuke Tanaka works specifically with wooden frames and pillars, “carcasses of wood” that are no longer living. He applies meticulous carvings to this wood and gives them new life by transforming them into landscapes.

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Music Monday: Kero Kero Bonito

Western electronic music of the 70s and 80s were a huge influence on Japanese pop music. J-Pop, with its uptempo beats and technicolor costumes, then came into its own and turned around to influence a subset of western music, creating an odd cause-and-effect loop. So with the music of Kero Kero Bonito it feels as though we’ve come full circle.

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Get Back, Tohoku: The Powerful Advertising Campaign for JR East

Fall 2016 (Yamagata Prefecture)

Since 2011 JR East, one of Japan’s major passenger railway groups, has been running a powerful advertising campaign called Get Back, Tohoku (行くぜ、東北). In an interview in 2015 Dentsu Director Yoshihiro Yagi, who has been spearheading the campaign, explained that the idea was conceived in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami because the best way to support the region was to get people to go there.

Now, the campaign has won Japan’s top tourism poster award.

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Ancient Japanese Tombs are the Inspiration Behind Tenri Station’s New CoFuFun Plaza

CoFuFun, not to be confused with covfefe, is a new multipurpose plaza outside Tenri Station in Nara prefecture that opened in April. Located roughly an hour south of Kyoto, Tenri is a spiritual region with dozens of temples and sacred tomb mounds called cofun that are thought to be 1600 years old and where many emperors and empresses were buried.

It is these mounds that inspired the design studio nendo to punctuate the plaza with a series of mounds that functioned as a cafe and retail space, information kiosk, play area for kids, outdoor stage, and meeting space.

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Katsutoshi Yuasa: Winner of the 2017 Ronin | Globus Artist-in-Residence

“Tokyo Story” Oil-based woodcut on paper. 107 x 183 cm

Woodblock printing is one of Japan’s most well-known and traditional arts. At its essence, it is one of the most fundamental means of communication. But when Katsutoshi Yuasa first encountered the technique as a 3rd year art student, he sensed not the past but the immense future possibilities of the technique.

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Haunting Photographs of Japanese Vending Machines at Night

Vending machines in Japan were first introduced in 1888 and sold cigarettes. But their proliferation has been astounding and the country now has an estimated 5.5 million vending machines nationwide. Its penetration rate is the highest in the world with roughly 1 vending machine for every 23 people. In fact, they’ve become so ubiquitous and common that they blend in with Japan’s landscape. Maybe that’s why it takes an outsider to shine a light on them.

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Samurai Pet Armor is Here to Prepare Your Cats and Dogs for Battle

A suited-up Shiba Inu in custom-made armor | all photos courtesy of SAMURAI AGE

While it’s been over 150 years since the heyday of the samurai class, the fascination with them lives on. The talented craftsmen at SAMURAI AGE are doing their part to honor samurai tradition with handmade, high-quality samurai armor for you and your pets.

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‘The Restaurant of Order Mistakes’ Employs Waiters With Dementia

 

the playful logo with a tongue sticking out and one of the characters (る) written sideways

On Friday last week, a curious restaurant popped up in Tokyo’s Toyosu district. It was called “The Restaurant of Order Mistakes” (注文をまちがえる料理店), a twist on The Restaurant of Many Orders, Kenji Miyazawa’s 1924 tale. Sure, it’s clever, but why a name for a restaurant? Because this pop-up restaurant had an inclusively-driven mission, and had hired waiters with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Enoura Observatory to Open This Fall

Hiroshi Sugimoto looking out on the Sagami Bay at the Enoura Observatory | all photos courtesy Odawara Art Foundation

After ten years in the making, photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Enoura Observatory is set to officially open this October in the city of Odawara. We should actually call him photographer “and architect” because he’s the chief mastermind behind the project.

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