‘Full Page Editorial’ Sand Sculpture by Toshihiko Hosaka Implores Japan to Reduce Plastic

pg 15 in today’s Tokyo Shimbun newspaper

Today, May 30, is Zero Waste Day* in Japan. And on this day, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper ran a full-page editorial made to look like a front-page headline titled “Plastics Floating in our Seas” and highlighting the devastating impact that plastic is having on sea life.

Everything from the article headline to the images and text were actually carved into sand on a beach in Japan and photographed from above.

*The name is derived from the numeric pun for 5 (go) 3 (mi) 0 (zero), which can be read as gomi zero, or zero waste. 
the full page editorial on pages 16 – 17 in today’s Tokyo Shimbun newspaper

The actual editorial that was carved into sand is the work of artist Toshihiko Hosaka, who specializes in sand sculptures. Hosaka worked with local residents and students at Iioka Beach in Chiba prefecture to create the massive sand sculpture. It took 11 days to complete and measures 50 x 35 m (164 x 115 ft). Below is a brief excerpt from the text:

The sea does not speak. So, I will speak in its place. Currently, the lives of many creatures in the sea are being taken. The cause is plastic. Plastic bags, plastic bottles, styrofoam… 8 million tons of plastic used in everyday life are dumped in places like rivers and the ocean every year, and remains floating as garbage. By swallowing or being entangled in plastic garbage, about 700 species of animals including sea turtles, seabirds, seals, and fish are harmed and killed.

The editorial also calls out Japan as for it’s addiction to plastic:

We Japanese are also largely responsible. Japan produces the second most garbage per person. In order to rectify this, we have to take a good hard look at what is happening in the ocean. We need to think about things we have been ignoring as a result of prioritizing economic growth, everyday convenience, and such.

You can red the entire text in English here. Below are some behind-the-scenes photos and a video from the sculpture being created.


  1. Everything from the article headline to the images and text were **actually ***??? …..or was this example Japanese ”YARASE” …..fake PR which is normal in Japan media…? RSVP. i have suspicions. I lived in Japan many years, much media is fake. editorial is good but did they really put this on beach for 11 days without rain or wind or high tides damaging it. i smell a fish here. Please repy . I’m a reporter in Taiwan. Danny ……re carved into sand on a beach in Japan and photographed from above.

    • Daniel – I have no reason to suspect this was staged or faked in any way. I know the artist and he would never compromise his work in such a way. In fact, the artist has been using beaches and sand boxes as his canvas for almost 20 years and he’s developed his own proprietary hardening spray. Non-toxic and environmentally-friendly, he applies it to his sculpture in order to prevent wind and sun from eroding it.

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