Sculpted Sushi Made Entirely From Natural Polished Stones

all images courtesy the artist

Bite into this sushi and you’ll not only lose your appetite but probably a tooth. Each piece is made from natural stone, hand-polished by an art student who created the series for his graduating thesis exhibition.

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100 Illustrators From 35 Countries Contributed to a Book on Japanese Onomatopoeia

A newly polished floor shines pika pika. But after all that hard work your stomach might be peko peko. These are just a few examples of Japanese onomatopoeia: an element of the language that makes it so richly nuanced. The Japanese language is said to have over four thousand, making it the most onomatopoeia-heavy language in the world. An ambitious new book has compiled one hundred of the most-common onomatopoeia, alongside illustrations from artists all around the world.

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Over 250 Pictograms Depicting Japanese Culture, Released to the Public for Free Use

Graphic designer Kenya Hara and his firm Nippon Design Center have self-initiated a project to release over 250 pictograms — free for anyone to use — in support of tourism in Japan from a visual design perspective.

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Bold and Expressive Oil Paintings Make Chifu Onishi the Youngest Recipient of the Taro Award

the 17-year old artist with 55 of her paintings which are on display at Taro Okamoto Museum of Art (through April 11, 2021)
all images courtesy the artist

Chifu Onishi is a 17-year old painter primarily working in oils. A junior attending high school in Osaka, Onishi creates bold and expressive paintings that often emphasize the shape of the human form through light, shadow and color. During a 4-month period when schools were shut down last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Onishi created a series of 4 artworks that have now won the Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art, making Onishi the youngest recipient over of one of Japan’s most prestigious art awards.

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Eighty-Meter Mural on Tokyo Embassy Celebrates 160 Years of German-Japanese Relations

160 years ago the Kingdom of Prussia and the Tokugawa Shogunate signed the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation, which today is largely considered the starting point of German-Japanese diplomatic relations. In tribute to these long-standing ties, an expansive 80-meter (262 ft) mural has been created along the exterior wall of the German Embassy in Tokyo.

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Akari Kokeshi Light the Way When Toppled Over in an Earthquake

In 2008 the Iwate–Miyagi Nairiku Earthquake struck the Tohoku region. The 7.2M tremor resulted in over a dozen fatalities, landslides and power outages. Local company Shimanuki, a purveyor of the kokeshi doll tradition, awoke to find almost all of their craft work toppled over. But destruction gives birth to new ideas.

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Experimental Restaurant Tokyo Burnside Combines Bronx Bodega and Conbini Culture

all photos by Keishin Horikoshi

New York bodegas and Tokyo Conbinis are conceptually quite similar in their ubiquity and convenience. But the experience of using one couldn’t be more different. Therein lies the intrigue of a new experimental restaurant opening in Harajuku, which will function as a casual café and eatery by day, a restaurant and bar by night, and feature the culinary art of Bronx-based Ghetto Gastro.

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Jimoto Made: A Starbucks Japan Initiative to Collaborate with Local Artisans

Starbucks Japan has a Jimoto Made series in which stores across the country collaborate with local artisans to create coffee mugs and tumblers, which are then sold only at those local outlets.

Jimoto is a japanese word meaning “local area” and the initiative aims at highlighting and preserving local craft and materials. As soon as the pandemic is over we’re tempted to travel Japan, collecting mugs from all 14 locations. Below are some of our favorites.

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Japan Society and the Agency for Cultural Affairs Present 21st Century Japan: Films from 2001-2020

Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish, 2003

As Japan’s film industry enters its third decade in the new millennium, the inaugural ACA Cinema Project online film series 21stCentury Japan: Films From 2001-2020 takes a look back at the last 20 years of Japanese cinema to celebrate some of the most remarkable narrative fiction films and filmmakers that define the era. Covering a wide range of production styles and genres—from small budget independent debuts to festival favorites and award-winning major studio releases—this diverse slate of 30 feature films and shorts offers a guided tour of modern Japanese cinema, including special spotlights dedicated to the work of Kiyoshi Kurosawa and a selection of free breakout films by up-and-coming filmmakers.

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Photographer Ken Ohyama’s Cutouts of Japanese Urban Buildings

a building in Kagoshima that houses a nursery school on the ground level

Urban photographer Ken Ohyama is passionate about cities and the various structures that form them. The 48-year old photographer has a knack for taking oft-overlooked elements of urban environments, from highways to housing projects, and highlighting their beauty by forcing us to look at them in ways we never have.

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