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Traditional Technique and Modern Imagery Merge in the Work of Keisuke Yamaguchi

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“The images of the 33 Reincarnations of Kannon Wave – The Spirit of Tomorrow”

Numerous contorted hands rise up to form a wave that references the iconic “Great Wave” woodblock print by Hokusai. This powerful image, created by artist Keisuke Yamaguchi, evokes the events of March 11, 2011. Yamaguchi goes by the name OZ (尾頭), which translates as head to tail. But it’s a phrase the means ‘entirety,’ or ‘from beginning to end,’ and it’s helpful in understanding the artist, who was born and raised in the mountainous region of Nagano prefecture.

His work is inherently connected to ancient concepts of Shintoism but he uses Japan’s rich history of art and culture, not as a crutch, but as a key to unlocking unique and subtle forms of contemporary Japanese art.

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Tokyo Salad: Hydroponic Greens Grown Under the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line

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Over the last couple of years Tokyo’s train lines – the ones that are above ground – have undergone a massive investment to elevate the tracks. The initiative was primarily aimed at alleviating congestion on the roads because cars and buses had to wait until the tracks were clear before they could cross. Another benefit of elevating the tracks was that you free-up a lot of extra space underneath the tracks.

But how should the city utilize all this new space? Shaded from the sun, these dark and sometimes dreary spaces have been turned into bicycle and car parking. Surprisingly, where the sun doesn’t shine turns out to be an ideal setting for a garden.

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Bespectacled Rice Made by Farmers With Glasses

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In a crowded marketplace, how do you differentiate your product from similar products that are all competing for attention? One group of rice farmers came up with the unlikely idea of focusing their branding not on the product, but on the people who make it.

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100-Year Old Japan, as Seen Through The Lens of Arnold Genthe

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photos of the shopping streets offer the most details to observe and marvel over

Arnold Genthe (1869 – 1942) was a German-born photographer who emigrated to San Francisco at the age of 26 and made a name for himself photographing Chinatown, but also the city’s wealthy socialites. In 1908 Genthe followed his passion and interest in ukiyo-e prints, sparked by a chance meeting with Japanese art scholar Ernest Fenellosa, and traveled to Japan where he spent 6 months touring and photographing the country. The images, part of a larger collection, were later acquired by the Library of Congress, where they remain preserved, offering a rare and authentic view of what Japan looked like almost 100 years ago.

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Vintage Illustrations of Trains by Koyata Yasui

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Kodomonokuni was a Japanese kids magazine that was published between 1922 – 1944. Featuring full-page illustrations, the magazine helped elevate the genre of illustration, which was previously considered secondary to text. The magazine also helped many illustrators becomes household names and one of those was Koyata Yasui.

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Hanging Animal Furoshiki Designed by Cochae

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Furoshiki (風呂敷) are a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that originated 1300 years ago during the Nara period. They were originally used to wrap up clothing in public baths so that garments would not get mixed up with other people’s. Obviously, over the years furoshiki have had a bit of time to evolve. In fact, furoshiki are undergoing somewhat of a renaissance right now both in Japan and abroad. And we’re simply loving this adorable reinterpretation, which likens the cloths to various hanging animals.

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Senri-Sentei: A Garage Garden Designed by Landscape Artist Kazuyuki Ishihara

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“Senri-Sentei” by Kazuyuki Ishihara won a gold medal at the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

“The biggest flower show in the world” – the Chelsea Flower Show – is being held in London this week. For several years now landscape artist Kazuyuki Ishihara has been a fixture at the show, wowing crowds and judges. He’s taken home gold medals 4 years in a row. And this year was no different.

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Japanese Realistic Fake Food Bookmarks

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Japan is, without a doubt, the king of fake food. Realistic food samples were originally developed as a way for restaurants to showcase their offerings without having to worry about decay. But the nation has excelled at deploying the concept to other creative applications as well like jewelry, belts and iphone cases. The latest offering comes in the form of flat, 2-dimensional bookmarks.

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100 Views of Tokyo by Illustrator Shinji Tsuchimochi

100 views of Tokyo by Shinji Tsuchimochi (goldengai)

Shinji Tsuchimochi is creating 100 views of Tokyo. This is view 95 (of Goldengai, Shinjuku)

Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji are an iconic series of landscape prints created by ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai between 1826 and 1833. Taking inspiration from both the style of ukiyo-e, but also Hokusai’s initiative, Tokyo-based illustrator Shinji Tsuchimochi is creating 100 Views of Tokyo.

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Otaku Tattoos (Otattoos) are Becoming More Popular in Japan

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It’s a well-established fact that tattoos, despite recent acceptance by a younger generation, still largely remain taboo in Japan. Japanese celebrities have occasionally appeared on camera flaunting their ink, which has helped the art form – once reserved only for ranks of the yakuza – get its foot in the door of the fashion world. But if you look back on Japanese history, there’s a deep connection between tattoos and organized crime, which makes society’s collective disapproval understandable. However, a new form of tattooing, which draws on Japan’s anime and otaku culture, is helping change the image of ink in Japan.

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