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Japanese Era Names Illustrated as Logos

all images courtesy @q_micke

Japanese era names are called nengō or gengō and were first adopted in 645 AD. But they weren’t really used consistently until the end of the Edo period in 1868. Each have their own styles and aesthetics and although we have yet to see what the current era Reiwa has in store, a Japanese designer who goes by the name micke came up with a series of illustrations that imagines what the past era names might look like if they had logos.

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Flora and Fauna Blossom in Anti-War Watercolor Paintings by Hiroki Takeda

Watercolor artist Hiroki Takeda is known for his vivid and wholesome depictions of cats, dogs and other animals using his signature style of botanicals. But the artist has recently turned his colorful brush to a darker subject matter: anti-war imagery and hopes for peace.

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Cafe in Koenji is Only For Writers Working on a Deadline

Are you a writer working towards a hard deadline but having trouble getting work done? Then the Manuscript Writing Cafe is your new best friend. Located in Koenji and run by a team of writers, the cafe is solely dedicated to other writers working on deadline. But beware, once you enter they will not let you leave until your work is done.

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Porcelain Brand Maruhiro’s New Shop & Cafe Comes With a Park

all photos by Kenta Hasegawa

Established in 1957 in Nagasaki prefecture, Maruhiro is a family-owned hasamiyaki ceramics business that originally began as a street vendor. They have a unique business model in that they don’t have their own factories. Instead, they handle the design and planning, and then work with local artisans to produce the actual ceramics. While emphasizing traditional methods and techniques, the company incorporates contemporary colors and forms into their line-up. But it’s not only their product portfolio that is forward thinking. In establishing their latest retail outlet, they wanted to create a space not only for fans of yakimono but also for local residents and children who could gather and just hang out. Hiroppa, which is a combination of the Japanese words hiroba (open space) and harappa (open field), officially opened late last year.

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Wander the Night Japan: An Ambient Soundscape Project on Vinyl Record and Photobook

all photographs by Cody Ellingham

Wander the Night Japan is an ambient soundscape project created by sound artist Simon James French (SJF) and photographer Cody Ellingham. Inspired by the difficulties of lockdowns experienced throughout 2020 and 2021, and based on their shared experiences of living in Japan, the two have collaborated on a limited edition 12″ vinyl record that captures the audio and visual magic of travelling through Japan.

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The Renovated Matsumoto Jujo Hotel Features a Public Bath House Turned into a Library

The Matsumoto Jujo hotel re-opened in 2020 after a multi-year renovation project that kicked off in 2018. The inn and entire area of Matsumoto (Nagano prefecture) has a 300-year history as hotspring village and the renovation project centered around preserving this heritage while also connecting the past to present and future. The architects at Suppose Design Office set off to achieve this goal by transforming obsolete spaces into unique and sometimes unexpected experiences.

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New Amazon Music Tokyo Studio Inspired by Japan’s Jazz Kissa Culture

all photos by Daici Ano and Kazuhiro Nagae courtesy Torafu Architects

In the 1960s and 70s, a unique type of bar began to flourish in Tokyo. Commonly referred to as jazz kissa, these bars invested in the finest of audio equipment and speakers, and served as a hub where people could gather and bond over music. This was the inspiration behind Amazon’s new music studio in Shibuya, where it will work with musicians, podcasters and artists on live-streaming, recordings and other musical events. The four-story studio, located roughly 10-minutes north of Shibuya Station, houses a recording studio, a podcast studio, a photo studio, as well as reception area and conference room, all designed by Torafu Architects.

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The Natural World Springs to Life in Kirie Paintings by Tamami Kubota

all images courtesy the artist

Tamami Kubota is a Tokyo-based artist who uses vibrant and colorful brushstrokes to create narratives based on her own lived experience. In recent years the artist has been incorporating kirie, the Japanese art of paper cutting, into her work, creating an additional layer of depth to her storytelling.

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Creative Ads for Kikkoman that Utilize the Iconic Soy Sauce Bottle

Soy sauce has become one of Japan’s most-significant culinary exports. But perhaps just as iconic as the condiment itself is the stylish bottle designed by Kenji Ekuan in 1961. Ekuan passed away in 2015 at the age of 85 but his design lives on. Not only did it go on to receive numerous design awards but it has become a hallmark symbol of the company itself and remixed by others. Here, we take a look at some gorgeous advertisements created for Kikkoman that incorporate the glass bottle.

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Vintage Illustrations of Vegetables by Graphic Designer Tadashi Ohashi

photos courtesy Nostos Books

This book just landed on our desk and we can’t stop flipping through the pages. Published by Bijutsu Shuppan-sha in Tokyo in 1991, the book compiles illustrations of vegetables created by graphic designer Tadashi Ohashi (1916 – 1998). Despite Ohashi’s realism, there is something nostalgic about the colors and compositions of each vegetable.

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