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Makoto Asano Carves Smiley Faces Into Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Cups

makoto asano haagen daz smiley faces

a bearded smiley face carved from Haagen Dazs’ kinako kuromitsu flavor

Some artists create on canvases. Others use wood. But if the medium presents itself to the artist, it can really be anything. All you need is a creative mind. Case in point, Makoto Asano, a Japanese artist who decided he would create art from carving ice cream. Specifically, smiley faces into Häagen-Dazs ice cream cups using the flimsy plastic spoon provided to him.

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Japanese artist Masayoshi Matsumoto Elevates Balloon Art to New Heights

Masayoshi Matsumo Balloon Art

a sea horse (left) and mandrill (right) created from balloons

We want Masayoshi Matsumoto at our next birthday party! Although, admittedly, it may be difficult to get the kids to request things other than swords, shields and helmets. Elevating the realm of balloon art and taking it to new heights, Matsumoto uses balloons of all sizes to create intricate, detailed animals and plants that appear to be made from something – anything – other than inflatable rubber. But Matsumoto assures us the he never uses adhesive, markers or stickers to augment or enhance his creations.

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Two Traditional Japanese Crafts Come Together to Create the Beautiful Haori Cup

haori cup

Japan is home to some of the most historic and visually stunning craft work, with different parts of the country boasting their own local, home-grown design. But when two of these traditions come together in a marriage of 18th century craftsmanship and technology they give birth to some beautiful children.

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Japanese Chalkboard Maker Holds Contest for Best Student Chalkboard Art

nichigaku chalkboard art

chalkboard art of Mt. Fuji created by 2 students at Mito Sakuranomaki High School in Ibaraki | click images to enlarge

Over the past 2-3 years there’s been an increasingly popular trend amongst students in Japan. Taking advantage of their drawing skills, classroom facilities and, most importantly, some downtime in-between classes, students have been creating immense artworks on classroom chalkboards using nothing but the chalk provided to them, assumingly leftover from the previous lesson. The pictures often get posted to social media and go viral. Amongst the many eyeballs that noticed the works was Japanese chalkboard maker Nichigaku.

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Instant Coffee Just Got Better With This Portable Aozora Coffee Press

aozora coffee press

Spoonfuls of instant coffee still give some morning coffee drinkers their much-needed dose of caffeine. But it’s surely the convenience, rather than the taste, that draws them to this one-step process, right? Well now there’s a new way to make a quick cup of joe: meet the Aozora Coffee Press.

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Anthropomorphic Pencil Portraits of Schoolgirl Animals by Takumi Kama

Schoolgirl Animals by Takumi Kama

“wolf girl” (2015) by Takumi Kama. Pencil on panel.

“I am terrified of high school girls,” admits artist Takumi Kama. “If I encounter a group of them on a train there is a high possibility I will escape to another car.” And Kama surely isn’t alone in his fears.

In Japan, this adolescent subset of beings known as joshi kōsei (女子高生) are fetishized and eroticized to the extreme in all types of media. But instead of hiding from his fears, like he normally would do, Kama has decided to confront them head on in the only way he knows how: by creating intriguing anthropomorphic portraits of schoolgirl animals.

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An Exhibition Featuring Work From Japan’s Largest Facebook Photography Page


With over 300K fans, Tokyo Camera Club is Japan’s largest community of photographers. And despite what their name will have you believe, you don’t have to be Japanese, not take pictures of Japan, to join. Anyone can post photos to their public wall, allowing a committee of curators to select photos to share based only on aesthetics. For the past 3 years the organization, which has helped launch more than a handful of professional careers, has been hosting exhibitions featuring some of their most viral and most-shared photographs.


photo by Hitomi Koike and will be on display at the 2015 exhibition

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Fukutegami: A Japanese Fashion Student Created Wearable Stationery

fukutegami wearable stationery

Fukutegami: write, fold, send; receive, read, put on.

Just like the Internet changed the dynamics of long-distance relationships, Masako Yokoi wants to give separated friends and lovers, quite literally, a new layer. While researching fashion and clothing at Keio University’s master’s program Yokoi came up the idea for Fukutegami. Translating to ‘Clothing Letter,’ the idea was to create a series of garments that had the characteristics of stationery. They could be written on, addressed, and mailed in the post.

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Sisyu: The Japanese Calligraphy Artist Who Created the Kanji for Pixar’s Inside Out


The emotions from ‘Inside Out’ and their corresponding kanji character

As Pixar plans the release of their latest film ‘Inside Out,’ slated to hit the big screen in the U.S. on June 17th, so too turns the Japanese marketing engine, albeit in a different direction. Besides opening in Japan 2 weeks later, and under a slightly different name (‘Inside Head’), Disney’s Japan arm has hired calligraphy artist Sisyu to create a unique kanji characters that corresponds to each of Riley’s emotions.

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Emmanuelle Moureaux is Changing the Face of Banking in Japan

Emmanuelle Moureaux sugamo shinkin bank Nakaaoki Branch

Tokyo-based architect Emmanuelle Moureaux is on a quest to make Japan’s financial services industry more colorful. Her latest work for Sugamo Shinkin Bank – her 5th for the Japanese commercial bank, all equally colorful – is located in the outskirts of Tokyo, about an hour from the country’s capital.

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