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Big Books by Mao Fujimoto Offer a New Dimension to Interactive Storytelling

The Big Book is precisely that – a children’s story that unfolds into a gigantic single sheet, revealing a beautiful illustration of something central to the story. The redesigned children’s fairytale adds another dimension of interactivity to storytelling, allowing kids read a story with their eyes, ears and whole body.

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Laser-Cut Origami Featuring Traditional Japanese Patterns

It’s common in origami for the folding paper to have traditional Japanese patterns printed on them. But when they’re carved in with a laser-cutter, it adds a whole new dynamic to paper cranes, or any other creation you’re looking to fold.

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Intricate Fruit & Vegetable Carvings by Japanese Artist Gaku

a pattern that resembles the traditional Japanese asanoha floral pattern, carved into broccoli

Japan has a rich tradition of food carving called mukimono. If you’ve ever eaten at a fancy restaurant in Japan you might have found a carrot carved into a bunny, garnishing your plate. But in the hands of Japanese artist Gaku, the art of fruit and vegetable carving is elevated to a new realm of edible creations.

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Japan Grants First Color Palette Trademark to a Convenience Store and an Eraser

the two color palettes that were granted trademark approval. Do you recognize them?

There are certain color combinations that instantly remind you of a product or service. Well Japan has taken a step to protect those color combinations, granting trademark approval to a well-known convenience store and eraser’s color palette.

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Vintage Advertisements from Japan’s First Strip Show in 1947

the pamphlet for Japan’s first strip show in January, 1947 at the Teitoza theater (images courtesy Noboru Saijo via Asahi)

2017 marks the anniversary of a lot of things. But maybe one of the more unexpected is that it’s the 70th anniversary since burlesque dancing came to Japan. That’s right – in January of 1947 the first ever strip show was held in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district . And there’s a fascinating history, as well as vintage advertisements and documentation, that’s being showcased this month to remember the original tease.

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Miniture Embroidered Foods by Japanese Artist ipnot

What’s in a name? For Japanese artist ipnot, a lot. Raised by makers and crafters, ipnot was given her nickname when she was young but she’s certainly grown into it. After discovering embroidery from her Grandmother and then being fascinated by the French knot, ipnot has spent years perfecting her hand-embroidery art and today creates “paintings” using just needles and yarn.

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The Book Design of Haruki Murakami’s “Killing Commendatore”

Haruki Murakami’s “Kishidancho Goroshi” | all photos courtesy Ayumi Yamamoto / Casa Brutus

On February 24 Haruki Murakami released his latest novel titled “Kishidancho Goroshi.” Published in two 500-page volumes and given the English title “Killing Commendatore,” it’s Murakami’s first “full-fledged” work in seven years since he put out the 1Q84 (but the author has published several shorter works in the interim). Responding to a call from Murakami, long-time collaborator and book cover designer Chihiro Takahashi came out of retirement to create the latest covers. (Don’t worry, there are no spoilers)

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Torarin: A Museum Mascot Inspired by an 18th Century Painting

Torarin was born from an 18th century painting

Japan has no shortage of yurukyara mascots. Municipalities have a mascot; political parties have a mascot; even the police force and the prisons have mascots. But one mascot that art-lovers like ourselves can truly rally behind is Torarin, the Kyoto National Museum mascot.

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With New Exhibition, Hokusai Museum Points Spotlight On Ukiyo-e Collectors

Since it opened in November of 2016, the Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo has already recorded 100,000 visitors, proving that the enigmatic Katsushika Hokusai continues to be an object of deep fascination. But for their 2nd exhibition, the museum is turning the spotlight on two primary collectors of Hokusai’s work.

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Oni-gawara: Japanese Demon Roof Tiles For Your Home

Oni, often translated as ogre or demon, are present in a variety of areas in Japanese culture. You might have heard that during setsubun, a festival associated with the Lunar New Year, people throw beans at oni to drive away evil-spirits. Oni appear in classic Japanese stage dramas of Noh, in Japanese fairy tales and as characters in popular anime. But sometimes you have to look a little harder; you have to look up, onto peoples roofs to find oni.

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