Giant rubber duck arrives in Osaka!

Rubber ducks invoke a sense of bath-time fun and childhood wonder no matter how old we get. Their bright colours and kind expressions are so pleasing that one artist has super-sized the fun by creating giant, inflatable versions that travel around the world.

One of these has recently taken up temporary residence in Nakanoshima, Osaka, where it will be appearing for one week only. To add to the excitement, a local hotel is serving up limited numbers of ‘rubber duck plates’ featuring the cutest rice creation you’ve ever seen!

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Legendary mecha designer dreams up the future of Japan’s fire trucks

Fire truck manufacturer Yoshitani Machinery Co. recently approached mechanical designer Kunio Okawara and asked him to draw the next generation of fire engine. Of course, when you ask an artistic talent behind the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise and other giant robots to make a fire truck, you’re in for a treat.

Behold, The Next Yoshitani Rescue Vehicle!

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Saiyans, pirates, and Jesus all come alive on Japanese blackboards

As we saw from their hilarious textbook doodles not too long ago, Japanese school children seem to be bursting at the seams with creativity. Now, with the slightly more public and temporary space of a classroom blackboard, some students with encouraging teachers were able to create some very impressive murals.

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Goodnight, sweet prince: Polish artist’s chainsaw sculpture depicts the death of Super Mario

Even the greatest of heroes meet their end eventually, whether they be staff-wielding wizards or portly plumbers. With this incredible sculpture, Polish artist Kordian Lewandowski presents the demise of none other than our favourite 8-bit champion, Super Mario. And as sad as it is, it’s really quite breathtaking.

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Meet the new model set to make manga artists’ lives a whole lot easier

When it comes to replicating human poses and natural movement, artists often look to anatomical models. Traditional figures do have their limitations, though, with the lack of details making it difficult to recreate the lines of a raised shoulder or a clasped fist. But things are set to change, with a new figure on the market called the S.F.B.T-3, (Special Full-action Body Type v.3). Ten years in the making, this girl has 80 moveable parts in her body, allowing for an unprecedented number of poses and anatomical designs. We take a look at the doll’s amazing details and see how it performs in some popular anime poses for the illustrator’s eye.

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Handicapped man draws beautiful and detailed trains entirely from memory 【Photos】

Hisashi Fukushima, a 44-year-old man from Hidaka City, was born with a serious learning impediment, but this handicap has in no way gotten the better of him. This truly gifted individual is an awe-inspiring artist with an unbridled passion for the beauty of the railway system. Fukushima’s photographic memory and steady hands have allowed him to recreate many life-like scenes of trains upon their tracks in paintings as well as paper craft. His faithful renditions of Japan’s railways have earned him a number of prizes in art exhibitions, and one glance at his work makes it obvious why! Keep reading for a sample of Hisashi Fukushima’s stellar art portfolio.

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Pins ‘n’ peel: This banana art will blow your mind

We don’t know about you guys, but when we were kids our parents always told us not to play with our food. Judging by the number of “banana tattoo” photos doing the rounds on Twitter today however, it looks like there are plenty of people here in Japan prepared to ignore that particular piece of parental advice in the name of art.

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Japanese bad boy wows foreign audiences with his beautiful Ghibli fanart 【Photos】

They say that beauty is fleeting and withers with age, at least in the personal sense. Perhaps that’s why Takumi Kanehara walked away from a life of charming women as a professional host in order to pursue a career as a comic artist. Now, the self-made illustrator is gaining international attention for his beautiful re-interpretations of the characters created by Studio Ghibli. The combination of recognizable characters and subtle symbolism shows the artist’s deep love of the source material, and the artistic execution is positively stunning, ensuring that these works will never lose their luster no matter how many years ago by.

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Hiragana art: Creating pictures using the Japanese syllabary

Written language can be beautiful. From hieroglyphics to devanagari to latin script, single letters can be considered works of art. But in Japan, the syllabic characters, while beautiful on their own, are often used to create images and pictures. For example, in the photo above, うんこ (“unko”, the Japanese word for…how do I put this delicately…”poop”) gradually evolves into a face. While not the most elegant of examples, the practice of transforming hiragana, katakana, and kanji into art work has been around in Japan for longer than you might think.

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Top 27 ugliest album covers from Yugoslavia 【Photos】

As with any major business venture, presentation is very important when working in the music industry. Cool covers on brand new CD albums can inspire one to make a purchase without ever having heard the band. Granted, the Internet makes it easy to find a few demos before handing over your cash, but a well-designed jacket still makes a big difference. A great, eye-catching cover can make even the most mediocre album famous for its genre by drawing in attention from fans.

Then again, ugly covers can be just as eye-catching and somewhat endearing in their own way. Here we have a collection of hideous, old CD and record jackets that were probably purchased out of pity alone. Get ready to laugh at this collection of music covers that really missed the mark. From a list initially provided by a French entertainment site, we now bring you 27 of the ugliest album covers from the former Yugoslavia. Read More

This sushi art is the coolest thing made out of food you’ll see all day

Edible art is kind of a thing these days, especially in Asia, where seemingly every dish is so artfully crafted and cute you couldn’t possibly eat it – especially when it takes the form of a cat poking out of your latte.

This admittedly somewhat wasteful art form may have reached its pinnacle with these mind-boggling works of makizushi magnificence.

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Canadian artist’s “what happened next” Street Fighter character designs are dark and awesome

Montreal-based artist and owner of personal blog Novamesh Arman Akopian (perhaps better known by his DeviantArt tag of GUYJIN) is causing quite the stir here in Japan today with a series of illustrations depicting the cast of Capcom’s genre-defining fighting game series Street Fighter years after the events of the game’s martial arts tournament.

Tremendously dark but expertly drawn and with detailed character descriptions alongside each illustration, we learn that things are not looking good for the majority of the Street Fighter crew, with Blanka struggling with alcoholism, Guile’s “sonic boom” attack eventually causing him to go deaf, and Chun-Li… well, Chun-Li is still looking as flexible and muscular as ever.

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Hardcore Totoro: Western fan art reimagines Studio Ghibli classics with gritty realism

We’ve already seen what can happen when artists take the creations of Studio Ghibli and thrust them into the world of the macabre, but the following collection of fan-art posters has left us feeling quite on edge.

Reimagining all of your animated favourites with a shocking level of impact and realism, it’s fair to say that these posters are perhaps truer to their films’ roots than Ghibli would ever care to admit, but at the same time we’re quite sure that, had the films had debuted with these as their official posters there would be far fewer kids pestering their parents to go and see them.

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Brighten your day at the Magical Art Museum in Ueno 【Photos】

From now until October 6 at the Ueno Royal Museum, a very special art exhibit is on display called Trick of the Light『Magical Art Museum』~Art in Wonderland. This unique collection of modern art encourages participation from visitors, rather than mere observation, creating an individualized artistic experience for every person taking part.

The magical exhibit houses 19 installation art pieces put together by 11 very talented artists. Felix Sayaka, talented reporter for our Japanese sister site, Pouch, visited the museum to give us all an illuminated introduction to four of the exhibition’s stellar works.

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A century of culture: Isao Tomita and Hatsune Miku pay musical tribute to author Kenji Miyazawa

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Kenji Miyazawa’s Death, and as a tribute to the celebrated writer a revival of the Ihatov Symphony was performed in his hometown of Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture on 29 August. The symphony was composed by Isao Tomita, a true originator of electronic music in Japan and features Hatsune Miku the iconic vocaloid who embodies the trail blazed by Tomita decades ago.

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Artist amazes with Mario and Yoshi water sculptures

It’s one thing to look up into the clouds and see the vague shape of some video game character you recognize or maybe a dinosaur or something. After all, clouds are slow moving and amorphous; you’re bound to see some sort of Rorschach-esque pattern in there. But would you believe that a splash of water might, just for one instant, contain something as awesome as Mario and Yoshi?

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Japan questions imagery in risque portraits by New Zealand Prime Minister’s daughter

The current prime minister of New Zealand, John Philip Key, has been big in the news lately owing to his 20-year-old daughter, Stephie Key. Stephie is currently studying in France at the highly acclaimed art school, Paris College of Art, and is causing quite a stir with her newest string of risqué self portraits. Controversial as the work might be, it’s also quite cutting-edge, as one of her pieces was chosen to promote Paris Design Week on the second week of September.

But, it’s neither the nudity nor the artistry that caught the attention of Japanese news outlets. You see, many of the pictures contain words and themes that are obviously intended to be Japanese, but leave actual Japanese people scratching their heads.

Caution: some pictures contained in this article are not safe for work.

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Thirty-Six [ ________ ] of Mt. Fuji Project has a view of conserving the iconic mountain

Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji is a series of 36 masterpieces by Katsushika Hokusai in the medium of ukiyoe woodblock printing. Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you certainly must have caught a glimpse of the iconic The Great Wave off Kanagawa (above) once or twice somewhere, or maybe you saw a Japanese passport encased in South Wind, Clear Sky.

A new non-profit organization with the aim of conserving the newly appointed World Heritage Site is using these famous pieces of art as the theme for a new fundraising campaign. However, instead of limiting themselves to woodblock prints, Thirty-Six [ _____ ] of Mt. Fuji Project is taking out the “Views” and opening it up to any form of artistic expression such as “Thirty-Six Songs of Mt. Fuji” or “Thirty-Six Sweets of Mt. Fuji”.

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The street art at this year’s culture festival in Beijing will blow your mind

As part of The Fourth Qianmen Historical & Cultural Festival, the streets of China’s capital city have been transformed this month by a group of talented artists. Using the pavement and plain stone walls as canvases, the artists have produced an array of incredible 3-D paintings that is wowing both tourists and locals alike, with photos of the jaw-dropping work being shared all across Asia. Check out some of the coolest street art we’ve ever seen after the jump.

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Airport art! Local airports in Japan having fun with baggage carousels

Is that a giant eyeball in your luggage or are you just happy to see me?

Actually, it’s neither! What you’re looking at up there–and what’s staring back at you–is an art piece that rides the baggage carousel at a local Tottori Prefecture Airport. Realizing how boring it can be to wait for your luggage to come, the airport lets Medama no Oyaji ride around to his tiny heart’s content to cheer up impatient passengers.

But Tottori’s airport isn’t the only one getting in on the rotating art displays. Check out some of the country’s best below!

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