art

“Pop” daruma dolls so popular you’ll have to wait three years to get one

Daruma are a kind of roly-poly wishing doll in Japanese Buddhism. You draw one eye in while making a wish, and then fill in the other when your wish comes true. Given their sweet purpose and blob-like shape, traditional daruma are already pretty charming, but a woodcarving shop in Kagawa Prefecture has found a pop makeover makes them even more attractive, so much so that there is a 3-year waiting list to get one!

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Combine your love of Godzilla, ukiyo-e and fashion with these fresh kicks from TeeFury

Recently, we brought you the news that you can now view an online animated sketchbook version of works by famous Japanese Ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. But what if you’re not content just looking at beautiful art online? What if you could see it every time you look down at your feet? Well, with these awesome printed sneakers from TeeFury.com, you can get some culture into your wardrobe while still looking cool!

Oh, and as an added bonus, they’ve stuck Godzilla’s ugly monster mush into the design, too!

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Young Japanese artist crafts exquisite animal-shaped candy at his shop in Asakusa

Remember those traditional Japanese sweets from last summer that were simply divine? Oh, and let’s not forget those cupcakes that were almost too beautiful to eat!

Japan sure knows how to elevate its food to an unparalleled level of art, and today we’d like to introduce you to the works of another master Japanese craftsman of sweets. His life’s passion is creating exquisitely detailed animal-shaped candy, which are so astoundingly intricate that it probably won’t be long before a museum asks to put them on display!

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Stirring animated version of Hokusai paintings is like watching anime from the Edo period 【Video】

If there’s one Japanese artist just about everyone is familiar with, it’s Hokusai. Even if they don’t know the late Edo-period painter by name, his landscape series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji is instantly recognizable, with The Great Wave off Kanagawa and South Wind, Clear Sky, better known as Red Fuji, perhaps the most famous works in all of Japanese painting.

Hokusai passed away in 1849, meaning he never got the chance to work in the mediums of motion pictures. Had he been born a bit later though, and had the desire to move into animation, perhaps the result would have looked a little something like this video.

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Tokaido ukiyoe series by Hiroshige now free to share, we celebrate with five favourites

Lovers of Japanese art and history will be familiar with the world-famous set of ukiyo-e woodblock prints known as “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido.” Created in the 1800s by famed artist Utagawa Hiroshige, the collection is a series of landscape paintings from each of the post stations on the ancient coastal walking route from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto and is frequently praised for the way it captures the spirit and essence of old Japan.

While the masterful works have garnered fans around the world, when it comes to sharing the images online, things haven’t been so easy. Now, limitations have been lifted and the beautiful series is free to share without copyright restrictions. What better way to celebrate the good news than to share some of the best with you, our dear readers?

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Warning! You may never see drawings of cherry blossoms the same way after this

What do you see when you look at the Batman logo? To most people, it’s clearly a black bat, spreading its wings against a yellow background. But others interpret the design a little differently. To them, it’s a set of yellow teeth and tonsils staring back from the inky darkness of a gaping mouth.

Surprisingly, what works with bats apparently can work with sakura, too, as one Japanese Twitter says that instead of a single cherry blossom, the etching on this manhole cover looks like a cluster of five cute surprises.

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You know what? An Alice in Wonderland/Spirited Away mashup actually kind of works!

Artist and T-shirt designer Saqman, who, despite his pen-name inadvertently reminding this writer of genitals, actually seems like a pretty wholesome guy, recently put together this spiffy and kind of spookily appropriate-looking mashup of Spirited Away and Alice in Wonderland, and it really works on a level we never really thought about!

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Book shows the art of the Hayao Miyazaki Pippi Longstocking anime we never got

Sometimes they might be princesses, and other times they might be fish, but a recurring theme in the works of anime legend Hayao Miyazaki is “resilient, strong-willed girl gets tangled up in an adventure.”

But no matter how many times he goes to that well, Miyazaki always seems to come up with something unique. The character arc of Castle in the Sky Laputa’s Sheeta is different from that of Spirited Away’s Chihiro, which is again unlike the one which little witch Kiki goes through in starting her fledgling delivery service.

So it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed that there’s one plucky heroine Miyazaki never got to bring to life in anime form: Pippi Longstocking. Thankfully, there is a book that details the plan to do so and shows some of the imaginative concept art Miyazaki created for his anime that never was.

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Look again! This isn’t a drawing, it’s an amazing mecha model! 【Photos】

One of the things that separates great comic artists from merely good ones is the ability to apply screentone. By using sheets of flexible material that transfer ink to a flat surface, such as paper, a skilled artist can add texture and shadowing effects beyond those achievable with ordinary line art.

But while the technique is generally used to make a flat drawing look a three-dimensional object, it turns out the opposite is possible too, as demonstrated by these amazing photos of a model kit colored with screentone to look like exactly a 2-D manga sketch.

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Amazing Japan Model Expo shows off creations creepy, cute, and undeniably gorgeous

It’s no exaggeration to sat that Japan is the plastic model capital of the world. There’s a tiny decorative version of pretty much anything you can imagine, from Gundam figures covered in actual moss to build-your-own gyoza.

To celebrate their love of all things models, Amazing Japan Model Expo 2015 invited model-crafters and sculptors from all over Japan to show off their goods built from a variety of materials, not just plastic. “Amazing Japan Model Expo” may be a bit of a silly name, but once you take a look at some of the incredible detail in these models, you’ll see that they easily lived up to the “amazing” part of the promise.

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The Mother’s Day portraits at 7-Eleven in Japan are amazing…and hilarious!

For many of us, Mother’s Day is just around the corner. We’re sure you’ve already got a present picked out, but just in case you forgot, here’s a friendly reminder: Get your mother something nice to say thank you for wiping your butt when you were a baby!

Of course, we’re not the only ones getting ready to celebrate Mother’s Day. 7-Eleven Japan is also making the most of the holiday with their annual Mother’s Day art exhibitions. While most of the drawings are done by young children, some of them are impressive illustrations by much older artists…and others are just down-right hilarious!

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Check out cool artwork of monsters that could have been in the Godzilla 2014 movie!

Godzilla, the gargantuan dinosaur-like creature that has starred in roughly 30 movies to date, has to be one of the most famous characters to ever come out of Japan. Since its first appearance on the screen in 1954, Godzilla has captured the fascination of fans around the world and has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Japan. Yes, there just seems to be something about Godzilla that we can’t get enough of, and even if you’re not a hard-core kaiju fan, we’re guessing that many of you saw the Hollywood movie that was released last year.

Now, the monster action in that movie was certainly spectacular to look at, but don’t you think it would be interesting to see some ideas for monsters that didn’t appear in the film? Well, that’s exactly what we’re sharing with you here today!

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Smoking may be bad, but these tobacco art creations are nothing short of fab!

Smoking is commonly seen as a vice, health hazard, and sometimes a dangerous weapon, and in the eyes of most non-smokers, smoking has virtually zero benefits — be it to the person smoking, the people around them, or, well, pretty much the entire universe.

However, if there was one thing related to smoking that smokers and non-smokers alike could enjoy, it would probably these tobacco art pieces made out of nothing but cigarettes!

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Shocking gap between TV and Blu-ray versions of same anime prove you get what you pay for

There’s an odd paradox to anime in Japan. There’s no easier place to watch anime completely free, as just about every series of note airs on regular broadcast television. At the same time, fans pay far more for anime TV series’ subsequent Blu-ray releases in Japan than any other market, with prices of 5,000 yen (US$42) and up for individual discs containing just two episodes.

So what’s convincing Japanese fans to shell out so much cash for something they already have access to without spending anything at all? For some it’s a patron-of-the-arts-like sense of pride that comes from financially supporting the cultural works they love, but for others, it’s the shockingly wide gap that’s sometimes present between the artwork in the broadcast and home video versions of the same anime.

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Filipino artist captivates with beautiful ink drawings, invites us to do the coloring ourselves

The Internet is full of gorgeous illustrations by talented artists, so when someone stands out, they tend to be really talented. And Kerby Rosanes, an artist from the Philippines, certainly fits the definition of talented.

At only 23, he’s already quit his full-time job to work on his own art. And when you see it, you’ll understand why! Even better, everyone around the world can get in on the action with his coloring books. Even if you think you’re too old to play with markers, this book is definitely something you should check out!

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Pure-gold traditional Japanese coins might just be the Star Wars collectibles you’re looking for

We recently took a look at some Star Wars-themed gogatsu ningyo, the decorative dolls families with young sons place in their homes on May 5. But what if you don’t have kids? Is there still a way to combine your love of Star Wars with some high-end Japanese traditional craftwork?

There sure is, in the form of traditional Japanese gold coins bearing the mark of the Imperial Military and the silhouette of its most famous commander, Darth Vader himself.

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Frieza’s secret battle training regimen and more revealed in awesome Dragon Ball Z fan art

As far as anime bad guys go, Dragon Ball‘s Frieza has actually got quite a loyal following. People are willing to wait in line for hours to meet their hero, and he’s also the star of stacks of fan art, too.

But if you thought that Frieza just wakes up every day ready to wreak havoc on Goku’s day, you’d be wrong. It actually takes a great deal of preparation, as shown in some rather sweet Frieza fanart that’s been delighting Dragon Ball Z fans all over Twitter.

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These Japanese cat masks both enchant and terrify

Cats have been our free-willed companions for centuries, even revered as gods in some cultures, and in modern times still have our hearts (and the internet) wrapped around their little kitty toes. But despite their closeness to our hearts, there is still so much about them that remains mysterious, and it is this mystery that captured the imagination of Japanese artist Junko Koguchi as she rendered these gorgeously enchanting cat masks.

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Manga goes 2.5-D with artist’s awesomely clever paper cutout photography 【Photos】

These days, we’re seeing more and more manga and anime being adapted into live-action movie, stage, and musical versions. In other words, Japanese animation and comics are going from the 2-D world to the 3-D one.

But it turns out there’s an intermediary step that we’ve been forgetting. Here with a reminder is one talented comic artist who’s using illustrated cutouts of his characters, settings, and even sound effects to create an amazing 2.5-D manga.

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Master glass craftsmen creating 500 handmade Spears of Longinus for Evangelion giveaway

With its crowdfunding project falling short of its goal, Evangelion’s Spear of Longinus won’t be hitching a ride to the moon after all. That doesn’t mean the iconic weapon isn’t still going places, though.

As part of the influential anime’s 20th anniversary celebration, 500 lucky fans will be receiving handmade glass replicas of the spear, just the right size for equipping their Eva models with. The talented craftsman responsible for the high-class anime goodies recently spoke about the experience of making them, and one of them could be yours as long as you remember that you mustn’t run away from your daily glass of vegetable juice.

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