DAJAART dajare art (header)

can you guess which common dajare are represented in these photographs?

Dajare is a form of Japanese wordplay, much like a pun, that relies on similar-sounding words to form the joke. And in Japan, these puns are literally everywhere. They’re in dates, they’re in advertising, they’re in business. Japan even built their famous Tokyo Sky Tree to a height of 634 m (6-3-4 can be pronounced “musashi,” which is the old name for the area the tower stands) just so that the tower could be more pun-y.

Now, an artist duo are doing the impossible: they’re translating dajare into visual works of art.

DAJAART dajare art (5)

“arumi kan no ue ni aru mikan” | Translation: A tangerine on an aluminum can | Explanation: Arumi kan means “aluminium can” while aru mikan means “a tangerine is there”.

Last year Photographer Ryo Katsumura and graphic designer Shun Inanuma got together and formed DAJAART, a portmanteau of the words dajare and art. Together, they are attempting to reproduce puns, which conventionally only existed in verbal form, as aesthetically pleasing compositions. Some of these are a bit paint-ful, but we’ve picked our favorites. Trust us – you’ll never see these puns in the same light ever again.

DAJAART dajare art (1)

“futon ga futton da” | translation: the futon flew away | explanation: futon is mattress and futton da means “it flew away”

DAJAART dajare art (6)

“sai wo mitekudasai” | translation: please look at the rhinoceros | explanation: sai means rhino but kudasai is a particle used at the end of sentences when asking for something.

Want to see them in person? DAJAART will be exhibiting their work for the first time this weekend. From April 23 – April 29, 2016 several works will be on display at Design Festa Gallery in Harajuku. We’re not sure how well they’ll sell but if the artists are baroque we sure hope they’ll make some Monet!

DAJAART dajare art (3)

“denwa ni daremo denwa” | translation: no one is picking up the phone | explanation: denwa means phone but denwa can also be slang for not picking up



DAJAART dajare art (2)

“kuruma ga kurumade” | translation: until the car comes | explanation: kuruma means car and kurumade means until it comes