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A Traditional Kimono Maker is Creating Face Masks for Nightclub Hostesses

all photos courtesy Otozuki

As hostess workers in Japan cope with the fallout of COVID-19, they’ve found an unlikely ally. Otozuki, a manufacturer of traditional kimono garments, has teamed up with a company that runs nightclubs to develop hostess-friendly face masks that make it easy to sip drinks and converse with customers while maintaining a safe environment.

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Swirl: a Light Fixture that Visualizes a Water Vortex

all photos by Masayuki Hayashi

Japanese contemporary design studio we+ has created an ambitious floor lamp that is both visually arresting but also in-tune with nature. By generating a rapid vortex and pouring molten wax inside to create a mold, the design duo created a structural aluminium lighting fixture that visualizes the flow of water.

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Choya: Experience All that Japanese Ume Have to Offer

The ume, or plum, arrived in Japan from China over 2000 years ago. And while the blossoms have always been appreciated for their beauty, it’s the fruit that has become indispensable. From acting as provisions during difficult times of war and famine to being one of the most popular home remedies, plum fruit and their myriad uses have stood the test of time and have earned a special place in the Japanese palette.

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Illustrator Yuki Omura, Victim of the Kyoto Animation Arson, Remembered Through Rice Paddy Art

A little less than 1 year ago, a violent arson attack on Kyoto Animation resulted in the tragic death of 36 illustrators and animators. One of those was 23-year old Yuki Omura, a young and upcoming illustrator who had just joined the studio out of college.

Now, his mother’s hometown is remembering him, and paying homage to his art, by recreating the last page of his picturebook in the form of rice paddy art.

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An Obsession with Retro Japanese Rounded-Corner Windows

Please allow us to share our current obsession: retro Japanese rounded-corner windows. We occasionally come across these on our walks around Japan. They can be spotted on storefronts but also older apartments or office buildings. But wherever they are, there’s something endearing and nostalgic about their softness and hues.

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SightEating: Kura Sushi’s Vision for Their Kaiten Sushi Global Flagship

photos by Takumi Ota and Yoshiyuki Yano

Kura Sushi, Japan’s 2nd largest kaiten-sushi chain, has unveiled a new global flagship in Tokyo’s Asakusa district. The conveyor belt-style sushi shop, with the help of creative director Kashiwa Sato, has completely reimagined the format of the store and created a foreigner-friendly restaurant that combines sightseeing and eating. They’re calling it, “SightEating.”

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Nendo Rebrands Over 700 Private Label Products for Lawson

all photos by Akihiro Yoshida

If you’ve paid a visit to Lawson lately you may have noticed something different along the aisles of tightly packed milk, breads, juices, toothbrushes, toilet paper and anything else you may or may not have stopped by to pick up. Japan’s 3rd largest convenience store chain recently hired design firm Nendo to rebrand the packaging on over 700 private label products.

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Japanese Artists Create Artwork in Support of Black Lives Matter

Amid the ongoing protests and marches following the brutal murder of George Floyd by police, Japanese artists in Japan and abroad are showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the form of diverse artworks. The original works areintended to stir up support, as well as raise funds with proceeds going directly towards organizations working towards justice.

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Hello Kitty Speaks Out in Support of Black Lives Matter

We’ll admit it — we definitely did not have Hello Kitty taking a stand on our 2020 bingo card. But sure enough, Japan’s most popular export and the epitome of wholesome cuteness has issued a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Naomi Osaka, Illustrated by her Sister Mari Osaka

Tennis star Naomi Osaka appeared in GQ Japan’s June edition, in a cover that was drawn by her older sister Mari Osaka. A tennis player herself and also apparently a talented illustrator, Mari Osaka depicted her younger sister in a series of bold, beautiful and strong portraits.

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