Japan

Posts tagged
with Japan



Design Science

Japanese Aquariums Track Penguins’ Dramatic, Salacious Love Lives Through Complex Flowcharts

July 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

From Sumida Aquarium. All images © Kyoto Aquarium and Sumida Aquarium

Like most romances, penguins’ relationships aren’t black and white. The aquatic birds’ are known for their scandalous affairs, messy heartbreaks, and frequent kidnappings of each others’ chicks. To keep track of their complicated relationship statuses, caretakers at the Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium and Kyoto Aquarium have created a complex network documenting 2020’s romances.

The two flowcharts are replete with color-coded lines and symbols: Red hearts denote couples. Purple lines with question marks signify more complicated relationships with the potential of romance. A blue, broken heart indicates an ended affair. Yellow lines mean friendship, while green marks an enemy. Each penguin’s name is written underneath its photo.

In an interview with CNN Travel, Shoko Okuda, a spokeswoman for the aquariums, said the caretakers have included the dramatic birds’ flirtatious tactics, too, which includes wing flapping and shaking their necks left to right. Heartbroken birds—one female in Kyoto (shown below) ended six relationships last year alone—often refuse to eat their rice as they cope with the loss. The caretakers included have formed strong bonds with the penguins, sometimes even coming between same-species connections.

And remember, these are just the charts for 2020. Be sure to check back in with the Kyoto and Sumida caretakers to see what unfolds for 2021’s edition. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

From Sumida Aquarium

From Sumida Aquarium

From Kyoto Aquarium

From Kyoto Aquarium

 

 



Design

This Japanese Zoo is Using Stuffed Capybaras to Visualize Social Distancing

May 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images by @chacha0rca

Take a seat for lunch at Izu Shabonten Zoo in Shizuoka, Japan, and meet your plush dining partners. To help restaurant patrons visualize social distancing guidelines, the zoo has occupied chairs with stuffed capybaras. The soft toys encourage diners to space out among the tables and maintain an appropriate distance.

With only a few other cuddly creatures in the mix, the institution’s main choice is a nod to its decades-long fascination with the giant rodent. Izu Zoo boasts a plethora of capybara-themed programming and souvenirs and also is credited with creating open-air hot baths in 1982 that offer the animals, which are native to South America, a place to bathe, relax, and warm up during cold winters.

Although many of us won’t be visiting the wild creatures in the near future, you can get a glimpse at their steamy retreats below. For similarly visual social distancing, check out Singapore’s tape demarcations. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

 



History Illustration

Artists Respond to the Coronavirus Outbreak by Flooding Social Media with a Japanese Yokai Said to Ward Off Epidemics

March 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

A Japanese legend dating back to the 1800s has been resurfacing across social media recently because of its tie to staving off epidemics. A three-legged mermaid or merman with long hair and beak, the Amabie falls within the tradition of the yōkai—which is a supernatural monster or spirit in Japanese culture— and is said to have appeared from the waters near Kumamoto. The mythical tale states that the scale-covered creature emerged from the sea to tell prophecies about the upcoming harvests and potential destruction from disease. In the case of an epidemic, the legend states that people are supposed to draw the Amabie and share it with everyone who is ill. In response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Twitter and Instagram are full of illustrations, pencil drawings, and wool sculptures of the mysterious figure. (via Spoon & Tamago)

by illustrator Satake Shunske

phone backgrounds by tettetextile

by artist, painter, and designer Abe Seiji

by manga artist Keiichi Tanaka

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sonoko Takiguchi (@nokonokofelt) on

 

 



Art

A New Book Chronicles Over Two Centuries of Japanese Woodblock Prints

December 15, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Featuring 200 prints by 89 artists, Taschen’s new book Japanese Woodblock Prints (1680- 1983) is a journey through two centuries of the art form. Ranging from depictions of everyday life to kabuki and erotica, the XXL edition is a 622-page art history lesson and a high resolution visual compendium rolled into one.

For this tome, Taschen spent three years reproducing woodblock prints from museums and private collections from around the world. Written by Andreas Marks, head of the Japanese and Korean Art Department at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the book is divided chronologically into seven chapters beginning with the 17th century early masters and concluding with the Shin-hanga movement. Large, vibrant images of demons, villages, confidants, and landscapes fill the book’s pages, complemented by essays and captions that reveal more about the artists and techniques. There are 17 fold-outs, as well as a full appendix listing the artists, the titles of the woodblock prints, and editorial notes.

To add this comprehensive edition to your art book library, head over to Taschen.

 

 



Photography

Quirky Juxtapositions Capture Imperfect Human Moments in Photographs by Shin Noguchi

September 27, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs shared with permission of the artist

Photographer Shin Noguchi spends his time, camera in hand, in Japan’s public spaces, observing and seeking out candid moments that reflect the humorous, heartbreaking, and bizarre realities of the human experience. Noguchi shares with Colossal that he values the existential affirmation of human life that he gleans from his work, accepting his and others’ situations as they are. The artist shies away from the term ‘street photographer’, as he views his work as more of a sociological experience.

“To shoot people with a camera is, for me, is like saying hello,” the photographer explains. “Sometime I use my mouth for it, sometime I use my eyes, and sometimes my camera, that’s it. I just really enjoy ‘talking’ or making conversation with people in the street, and if I use a camera for it, I always use the viewfinder; I never use hip-shots to hide myself.”

Noguchi tells Colossal that he was raised in a very creative household, and quickly fell in love with photography as a teen when his father gave him an old Fujica camera. Of the innumerable memorable moments Noguchi has encountered over the years, two memories stand out in particular.

After an exhausting day one February, in which the photographer had spent four hours shooting during heavy snowfall in Kamakura, he passed by a life-size mascot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken store, with the snow-crested Colonel Sanders offering a quiet, seemingly reassuring smile. On another winter’s day, Noguchi observed a craftsman carrying dozens of shoji (paper-paned interior doors) out of a Shibakoen temple for routine re-covering. Growing tired from his repetitive labors, the man finally punched a hole in the paper to make the shoji easier to carry.

You can follow along with Noguchi’s visual discoveries on Instagram and explore his extensive portfolio on his website. (via The Guardian)

 

 



Art

Four Seasons of Flowers Appear to Blossom and Wither in a Responsive Installation by teamLab

August 7, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Illuminated columns protrude from the ground of bath house ruins in a new installation by teamLab (previously). The structures, which the Japanese collective refers to as “megaliths,” feature moving images of waterfalls and flowers in a constant state of change. Over the course of an hour, visitors will experience one year of seasonal flowers bud, grow, blossom, and wither away. Incorporated into the megaliths is also imagery of flowing water that adapts to the movement of nearby viewers. Each element of the artwork is computer generated, unique, and will never appear in the same state again.

Megaliths in the Bath House Ruins was created for a new exhibition titled A Forest Where Gods Live, in Mifuneyama Rakuen Park on the Japanese island of Kyushu, which runs through November 4, 2019. The soundtrack for the piece was created by Hideaki Takahashi, and sponsored by Grand Seiko. You can view more computer-animated sculptures and installations on teamLab’s website and Vimeo. (via designboom)

 

 



Design

Japanese Monster Figurines Apologize For Their Destruction at Press Conference Podiums

March 15, 2019

Johnny Waldman

The art of the apology – it’s an integral part of Japanese culture that helps maintain balance and harmony in society. Combining that with kaiju figurines is this brilliant little set of toys that feature the likes of Godzilla and Mechagodzilla apologizing at a press conference, head hanging solemnly, for the destruction they’ve caused.

The toys were released back in 2016 as part of a promotion campaign for the Shin-Godzilla movie. They were sold as gachapon and retailed for 300 yen each.

They included Godzilla apologizing for destructive vandalism (破壊行為), Mechagodzilla for imitation and copyright infringement (模倣行為) and King Gidra for aggressive invasion (侵略行為). The toys have since been taken off the primary market but for those willing to pay up, they’re available on the secondary market, albeit at a 500+% markup. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)