Culture

Japanese Animation Artist Brings Ukiyo-e Prints To Life With Charming Gifs And Back To The Future

2017-08-15 05:07

Ukiyo-e, which translates to “image(s) of the floating world,” is a genre of Japanese art that thrived from the 17th to 19th centuries. Artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of everything from scenes of folk tales to erotica, and though the number of artists specializing in ukiyo-e has diminished since the genre was at its zenith, efforts are being made to bring it back into the modern art world. Some of these efforts include applying an Ukiyo-e aesthetic to popular franchises such as Star Wars, and legendary Iron Maiden mascot Eddie. One of the more charming and eccentric examples of this we have seen lately comes from Atsushi Segawa, a…


Beloved Japanese Robot Pepper Is Now Performing Funeral Services

2017-08-15 11:42

Japanese robotics can range from downright horrifying, such as this demonic poop robot that spews fecal liquid, to practical and service-oriented, such as the robot staffed Strange Hotel. Perhaps the most emblematic of what the Japanese robotics field strives for however, is Pepper, a domestic assistant robot programmed for a variety of services and growing by the day. (Although he has been known to be pretty creepy himself) Pepper is now adding a new and perhaps niche skill to his resume, and that’s the ability to perform funeral rites and chant sutras at Japanese funerals. Source: At Press Plastics technology company Nissei Eco has announced a new “IT Funeral Service”…


Japanese Artist’s Traditional Handmade Cut Paper Art Brings Old Text And Beautiful Animals To Life

2017-08-14 02:04

In that past, we’ve seen some incredibly intricate and beautiful work produced by the art form of kirie, or traditional Japanese paper cutting, which is also very similar to kirigami. While origami may be the more famous Japanese paper art, Japanese Twitter user and artist @mi_kocoa (Risa), is giving some much needed love to kirie in an absolutely gorgeous way with her intricately carved designs. Source: @mi_kocoa Risa’s animal and floral designs have gained her quite a following on Twitter, but its her latest text-based piece of kirie that is gaining her the most accolades. Intricately carved, she has taken an excerpt from Kenji Miyazaka’s classic Japanese fantasy novel Night…


Finnely-crafted Traditional Japanese Paper Art Takes A Step Further With A 3D-Look

2017-08-14 11:34

“Kirie” is a type of art-form where one cuts paper to reveal beautiful patterns. It is one of Japanese traditional art, and is so fascinating to look at. The fine and beautiful: the world of Kirie Yuko began creating Kirie when she created a welcome board for a friend 4 years ago. She uses a unique method where she places multiple layers of colored paper. In addition, acrylic sheets are used to create a 3D look. The result is a marvel. This one, for example, is a large work with a length of 60 cm, and it weighs around 8 kg! This masterpiece took around 6 months to complete. It…


Girl’s Japanese Tea Party Called Racist, But Japanese Response Shines A Light On How Japan Views Cultural Appropriation

2017-08-03 06:45

The very different filters with which Japan and other countries, particularly the United States, view topics of race and discrimination can be explained by a multitude of cultural differences, such as education, social homogeneity, regard for identity politics, and overall history–to simply name a few. One of the more contested gaps in understanding is the concept of cultural appropriation, which although not particularly new, has found more attention lately given its relatively recent nomenclature. A lack of mutual regard for the concept often puzzles Japanese observers when it is brought up in the news, with a blog post from a Utah mother who threw a Japanese-themed tea party for her…


Japanese Town Keeps Promise To Open Up A Hot Spring Themed Spamusement Park

2017-08-02 08:42

You may remember that last year, the mayor of Beppu city in Kyushuu, famous for its hot spring resorts, created a promotional video for his proposed concept of a hot spring-themed amusement park where guests could enjoy the refreshing experience of traditional Japanese hot springs while riding roller coasters and other attractions. While it seemed ridiculous at the time, the mayor promised to open up the park if the promotional video went viral with over one million views and cleared a crowdfunding goal. After those hurdles were easily cleared, visual plans for the park were released and now the park has arrived. たなともさん(@tana__tomo)がシェアした投稿 – 2017 7月 31 9:06午後 PDT While…


Japanese UV Ray Face Mask Is A Star Wars Style Declaration Of War On The Sun

2017-07-25 05:24

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you likely didn’t have to walk around too long before encountering someone wearing a sickness mask. These are primarily worn for etiquette during seasons where colds are prevalent, as a means of protecting yourself from circulating sicknesses as well as to prevent others from catching whatever cold you have. In recent years, people have begun to use the masks for a sense of privacy, style, and even beauty styling purposes. Similarly, you’ll see many people just as concerned about UV rays and getting sunburned during the grueling summer season, opting for sun-umbrellas and long-sleeve protectors. Japanese retailer Belle Maison decided to combine the practice…


Japan’s Latest Idol Unit Is A Group Of 60 Miner Mannequins

2017-07-18 04:15

When it comes to regional promotions, Japanese towns in search of escaping the shadow of the bigger cities in the country and showing off their local hidden gems often turn to the attention-grabbing song and dance routine of idol units. In the past we’ve seen areas in Japan promote themselves with idol units made entirely out of credit card company employees, young-at-heart grandpas, and one crazy mascot. Now Hyogo prefecture’s Asago is using the mining history of it’s Ikuno Ginzan to generate interest in the area–with 60 mannequin miners as its “underground idol group”. Once a valuable mining district and source of funds for warlords during Japan’s Sengoku Period, Ikuno…


Foxy Kitsune-Mask Band Rocks Out To Utada Hikaru, Lupin, Arrietty, and More On Traditional Japanese Instruments

2017-07-14 05:16

We’ve seen the wonderful sounds of traditional Japanese instruments fuse old and new in fantastic ways before, with several artists treating us to traditional Japanese instrumental renditions of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses, and an awesome medley of nostalgic Nintendo music. As Japanese Instrumental Ensemble band Mahora (真秀) is showing us, however, adding Shinto-style fox spirit masks to the mix makes for a killer aesthetic. Lupin the Third Mahora is a group of five graduates from the Tokyo University of the Arts, and they’ve taken to YouTube to show off the awesome sounds of traditional Japanese instruments such as the koto, shamisen, shakuhachi,…


Have A Drink Inside Barbie’s Dollhouse At Barbie-Themed Pink Holiday Cafe

2017-07-14 04:04

If there’s one word to describe Barbie in Japanese, it would probably be “kawaii.” With her fashionable clothes and enviable lifestyle that includes big houses and pink convertibles, it’s no wonder many Japanese fans look to her with a feeling close to that of admiration. This might be the reason why Barbie is popular with adults, not just kids, and why people have been flocking to the Barbie-themed Pink Holiday Cafe in droves. A post shared by yuka.k (@yuka0223_) on Jun 20, 2017 at 8:07pm PDT The cafe, located in Yokohama, is decorated to be every Barbie-lover’s dream. Inspired by a Barbie dollhouse, the interior is pink from floor to…


Japanese Comedian Naomi Watanabe Makes Vogue Debut With The Most Relatable Makeup Video Ever

2017-07-14 01:10

Having made her mark in the world as a Japanese plus-size comedian (who does a mean impression of Beyoncé, by the way), Naomi Watanabe isn’t afraid to keep it real if it means playing her part in empowering women and spreading body positivity. Her strong mindset has contributed to her well-established career not just as a comedian, but also a model and fashion designer. In fact, she’s proven that nothing can make her abandon her silly antics and self-deprecating humor, not even a highly-coveted collaboration with Vogue. A post shared by 渡辺直美 (@watanabenaomi703) on Sep 15, 2016 at 1:32am PDT Watanabe, who is known for her bright and colorful fashion…


Japanese Artist Carves Dreamlike Creatures Out Of Wood

2017-07-13 06:25

A quick glance at Japanese artist Yoshimasa Tsuchiya’s animals sculptures won’t suffice to figure out what kind of material they’re made of. Smooth and delicate, each creature possesses a mystical beauty that captivates all who lay their eyes on it. The sculptures are so breathtakingly realistic that most people are unlikely to guess that they’re actually carved out of wood. With wooden bodies and eyes made of crystal and glass, the animals resemble those you might expect to see in the world of fairytales. They are all the masterpieces of Tokyo-based woodcarving artist Tsuchiya, who has long been creating creatures that look like they’ve just arrived from unknown lands. Those…


Top Ramen-Flavored Pringles Is The Hangover Food We Didn’t Know We Needed

2017-07-13 04:50

Dorm life, school cafeterias, hangovers — there’s nothing like top ramen to take us back to our memories of the good old days. And now thanks to Nissin Foods, we won’t even have to eat top ramen to get a nostalgic taste of college (or whatever point in life top ramen was heavily involved). Sold in the U.S. for a limited time only is the new Top Ramen Chicken-Flavored Pringles. Available for purchase exclusively at Dollar General stores, one container can be devoured for $1.50. Better yet, it can be enjoyed side-by-side with some actual piping hot top ramen for double the deliciousness. Ramen-flavoured @Pringles now exist, and they taste…


Unbearable Summer Heat Inspires VR Work System Where Employees Are Replaced With Teddy Bears

2017-07-12 07:14

“I’m starting to think it’s absolutely nuts to have to commute to work in this blazing hot weather.” This kind of thought has surely crossed the minds of anyone whose commute resembles anything like walking to the station in the heat of the scorching sun, getting packed like sardines onto a humid train, and arriving at the office drenched in sweat. Why go to such unpleasant lengths to do work that can be done at home, or go to meetings that can be attended virtually? This is what @GOROman, CEO of VR content production company XVI, realized this summer. Knowing there must be a way to alleviate the woes of…


Hauntingly Beautiful Japanese Horror Tattoos By Korean Artist Suzani

2017-07-10 09:52

One thing Japan is known for is horror, whether it’s blood-curdling folktales or good old scary movies like Ju-On and the Ring. Manga isn’t devoid of a horror genre either, with perhaps one of the most prominent works being Tomie by renowned manga artist Junji Ito. Tomie is a breathtaking yet evil woman who manipulates men and women to become insanely jealous, murderous creatures, eternally destroying the lives of those around her. Her hypnotizing appeal has caught the interest of not only the other characters in the series, but also artists worldwide. One such artist is Korean tattoo artist Suzani of Bad Hands Tattoo Works, who is widely known for…


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