art

Fan-made Totoro is causing a stir in Taiwan but how soon before it’s shut down?

Ghibli films and Hayao Miyazaki are synonymous with anime all over the world, and arguably one of their most popular characters is Totoro from My Neighbor Totoro. It’s easy to see why people love the big huggable guy. He’s cute, he’s fuzzy and he’ll whisk you away on fantastic adventures and introduce you to his other friends, Catbus, blue Totoro and white Totoro.

But when an unofficial Totoro shows up out of the blue, how popular does it need to get before lawyers start sending cease and desist orders?

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Japan’s newest models are all about their busts: Classical statues reimagined as fashion idols

From hyperactive pear fairies to gross mushrooms, it seems that Japanese consumers have an appreciation for the unusual. Of course, it can be hard to predict exactly what will win hearts and minds, but that won’t stop people from trying to kickstart the newest craze.

Kadokawa, a publishing company among other things, Zarigani Works, a toy and merchandise production company, and Holbein, an arts materials company, have teamed up to turn classical statues into the latest hot items. They still haven’t revealed all the items they’ll be producing and it remains to be seen just how many people actually want products with Hermes’s statuesque face emblazoned on it, but you can’t blame them for trying!

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Have ridiculously expensive tastes? Set your wallet on fire with these Andy Warhol candy tins

Sometimes Japan produces things that are totally worth the high asking price if you really want them: like the US$16,000 wood-carved dragon guitar, or the $1.4 million golden Godzilla. But then there are the things that make you laugh out loud when you see the price: like $18 per cup Geisha Starbucks coffee or $100 rainbow-colored tissues.

A set of 30 newly-released candy tins based on the artwork of Andy Warhol definitely falls into the “excuse me what?!” category. Sure they’re beautifully made and come inside lacquered medicine boxes, but you won’t believe how much they asking for them.

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Amateur comic strip perfectly captures “personalities” of moe-fied gaming consoles

The “console wars” have become so complicated lately. Unlike the glory days of Nintendo Vs. Sega, there are now a good half-dozen or more consoles to choose from, with exclusivity deals between publishers and console makers forcing hardcore gamers to go all-in and purchase three or four consoles just to play all the games they want to.

On top of all that, Sony wants its PlayStation 4 to murder the Xbox One with a sword, the Wii U is kind of promiscuous, and the PS Vita suffers from severe depression.

Wait, sorry… We’ve been reading too many of these comics that perfectly moe-fy the various consoles.

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i-katana? Apple designer collaborates with traditional craftsmen to create Japanese sword set

Marc Newson’s versatile talents have led the industrial designer to work in a number of fields. While he first garnered critical acclaim for longue chairs and other pieces of furniture, the Australian native has also created watches, shoes, and cameras.

Since 2014, Newson has been providing his services to Apple, being involved with the design of the iPhone 6. For his latest project, though, he’s shifting from the cutting edge of consumer electronics to the cutting edge of bladed weaponry, as Newson is part of a collaborative team producing a set of traditional Japanese swords.

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See, hear and taste at the L’art de Rosanjin exhibit, where projection mapping meets fine cuisine

If you have an interest in modern Japanese art, you may be familiar with the name Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883 – 1959). As it happens, the versatile Japanese artist is currently the subject of a an innovative and unique exhibit being held at the Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall in the Coredo Muromachi shopping, dining and entertainment complex.

Rosanjin, who was known not only as an artist, but as a very discerning food connoisseur and a man well ahead of his time, is considered to have had a huge influence on modern Japanese art and cuisine. He has even been the inspiration behind one of the central characters in the popular gourmet comic Oishinbo, so when we heard that the exhibit combined digital technology with elements of both his art and love of food, we knew we had to go and experience it ourselves. And from what we’d already heard,  this was going to be an exhibit that you not only see, but hear and taste as well!

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Which do you like? Twitter asks if you prefer girls naughty on the inside or outside

We’ve seen a lot of comparisons between different types of women here at RocketNews24. First there was girls you want to look at vs. girls you want to date, then women who attract chikan vs. those who don’t, and fashion model vs. gravure idol.

The latest “girl comparison” to take Twitter by storm is the most bizarre yet: girls who look innocent but aren’t vs. girls who don’t look innocent but actually are. I’m not quite sure how we got here, but hey! There are cute anime girls to pick from so let’s get choosing!

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Teen whose Frozen chalkboard art went viral gets an art commission before a high school diploma

A while back, we took a look at an amazing piece of artwork by student and Twitter user Rena Rena. Almost finished with her last year of high school, Rena realized her opportunities to indulge in youthful abandon were about to become that much scarcer, so she grabbed a piece of chalk and drew an amazing scene of Frozen’s Elsa standing on a snowy mountaintop.

Two months later, it looks like Rena’s life has indeed become so busy that she has no time for such ambitious amateur chalkboard art projects. On the bright side, that’s because she’s now doing professional chalkboard art, having been commissioned to create the cover to the newest book from one of Japan’s most celebrated fantasy authors.

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Optical illusion, or mind game? Japanese website asks how many colors you see here

There’s a pretty standard progression that most people go through when they come across a optical illusion. Once the effect is revealed, you’re supposed to have a moment of disbelief, which gives way to wonder at the mysterious way our senses work, and a deeper understanding of and appreciation for how the complex human neurological system comes together.

Or, if you’re the stubborn type, you never get past the disbelief stage. If that describes your usual reaction, today you’re in luck, because it turns out there are actually two twists to this image making the round online in Japan, and possibly only one of them is intentional.

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Japanese illustrators’ Pokémon mashups are probably the coolest thing you’ll see all week

Japanese users of Twitter have an instant advantage over English speakers, because the Japanese language is much more efficient in its use of characters. Take the word “book” for example. Write “book” in a tweet, and you’ve used up four of your characters. In Japanese, however, the word for book (本 “hon”) only takes up one character, so a 140-character tweet written in Japanese gives quite a bit more breathing space to the writer.

This, combined with the fact that Japanese doesn’t have spaces between words either, means the wonderful world of Japanese Twitter has another feature that’s not so common among English-language users: absurdly-long hashtags, like #1番目にリプがきたポケモンと2番目にリプがきたポケモンをフュージョンさせる (“reply to this with Pokémon and I’ll make a mashup combining the first two”), the hashtag being used by Japanese illustrators on Twitter recently. The results are glorious visual mashups of our favourite Pokémon – with some other shows’ characters sneaking in too.

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Experience Japanese culture in a new way, inside a glass teahouse at an ancient temple

Imagine yourself nearly floating in the sky, surrounded by green trees and fluffy clouds. Now you sip some green tea and feel completely at peace. Does this sound too good to be true? It isn’t, because now you can actually experience this in Kyoto.

At the Blue Dragon Hall of Shorenin Temple, artist Tokujin Yoshioka has designed a clear glass teahouse sitting amongst the trees of Higashiyama, one of the city’s famous mountains.

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Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure creator shares manga-making secrets, Hemingway influences in new book

You won’t find many manga authors who’ve achieved more success than Hirohiko Araki. In 1986, Araki put the finishing touches on the first chapter of supernatural brawling saga Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and the series has just kept going from there.

With over 100 collected volumes of Jojo already published, and who knows how many more until its seemingly tireless creator runs out of steam, Araki is undoubtedly a font of knowledge about crafting a successful comic series. As a matter of fact, you could say he wrote the book on how to make a successful manga, and you’d be right both figuratively and literally, thanks to the soon to be published Hirohiko Araki’s Manga Techniques.

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Get a pen pal because Japanese post offices are about to launch super cute regional postcards

If you haven’t been in a Japanese post office lately, you might not have heard of the annual Regional Form Cards postcard series. Since 2009, there has been a new set every year that depicts every one of Japan’s 47 prefectures through postcards shaped like a local food, landmark or well-known citizen.

The seventh edition of the series is going to launch this week, so you might want to get yourself a pen pal or two from Japan to send you some of the cool postcards that show what makes every prefecture famous!

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Rolls-Royce’s new sedan, with silk and cherry blossoms, is as luxurious as a Japanese garden

For generations, Rolls-Royce has been the most exalted name in British automaking. Yes, the Mini may have had the most historical significance. Various models of MGs and Triumphs provided immense pleasure for the driver at an affordable price, and Aston Martin did likewise at unaffordable ones. But for absolute presence and luxury, none of them could ever touch Rolls-Royce.

For its latest showcase model, though, the carmaker with a history as English as high tea looked east for inspiration, and the result is the Serenity Phantom, a car decorated in silk and cherry blossom motifs that looks like it’d be as appropriate for transporting a member of the Japanese imperial family as a British royal.

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Test your Ghibli knowledge: Can you identify the films by these minimalist fan-made posters?

Last month we saw one artist’s interpretation of Studio Ghibli films as super-detailed movie posters. This month though we’re feeling a bit more minimalist, so we want to showcase the work of artist Jackman Chiu. His simple yet impactful poster designs of the Ghibli movies are eye-catching, mysterious, and best of all make for a really good game of Guess That Ghibli Film!

So put on your Ghibli fanboy/fangirl hats and get ready to tally some points and see how many minimalist movie posters you can match with the correct title!

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Village in Taiwan has dozens of anime and children’s characters painted on its houses!【Photos】

Don’t you agree that our surroundings influence our mood? Being in a bright, vibrant environment usually makes one feel more positive and happy, and the positive energy in us in turn has the power to influence the mood of others around us.

A small village in Tainan City of Taiwan has been attracting attention online and attracting visitors because of the cheerful vibes that emanate from its brightly colored walls. With walls covered in colorful paintings of SpongeBob, Totoro, Doraemon and other characters and motifs, there’s no doubt this village must be a happy place!

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Photohoku: helping northeastern Japan rebuild, one picture at a time 【Photos】

After the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan, Tokyo-based photographers Brian Scott Peterson and Yuko Yoshikawa were frustrated by the limited impact of volunteer options close to home, so they decided to head up to Tohoku with the vague idea that people in temporary housing might be interested in having family portraits taken.

Clearly, that tapped into an unmet need, because four years later that one-off trip has become Photohoku, a ballooning volunteer organization that takes monthly trips to Tohoku, has gifted over 10,000 instant family portraits, and has even inspired similar groups overseas.

Today, as we remember those who lost their lives in the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami four years ago, we take a brief look at how this truly inspired project continues to bring a little bit of extra sunshine into the lives of those who survived one of Japan’s greatest natural disasters.

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Kiss-signed Japanese calligraphy works on sale, get the paperwork for a second mortgage ready

As you may have noticed, KISS have recently made their way back to Japan and it’s always a treat when they do. This year we’ve already seen them make a well-received cross-genre music video with Momoiro Clover Z and release a line of skin smoothing facepacks with the Japanese cosmetic brand Isshin.

If those weren’t surprising enough, now KISS has collaborated with shodo calligrapher Ryugen Sobukawa for a limited collection of KISS-themed works each autographed by a member of the band.

Oh, and they cost a small fortune…

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Hachiko’s new statue is now open to the public, and we’ve got pictures and video from our visit

Last month, we got our first peek at the brand-new statue of Hachiko, in which Japan’s most famous dog is reunited with his loving master after almost a century apart. But while Hachiko’s legendary loyalty is inspiring, we weren’t waiting 100 years to see the statue for ourselves.

With the piece now installed and open to viewing by the public, we made the trip to the campus of the University of Tokyo, and we’ve brought plenty of photos and video that we shot while looking at Hachiko through both our viewfinder and a constant stream of tears.

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Artist helps “entrepreneurial” Pokemon with clever business logos and concepts

Have you ever wondered what comes next for Pokémon after they’ve evolved to their final stage? Some of them, according to one graphic designer, have ventured away from their Poké-world and entered the small business world.

Pictogram, a graphic design company headed by Sebastiaan de With, created business logos for a variety of Pokémon. Each Pokémon’s “company” is also somehow related to its abilities and comes with a back story. Aside from the amusing concept, the logos themselves are top-notch, so along with us and check them out!.

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