Tatsuya Tanaka is a Japanese artist that’s an expert at looking at small things and creating a whole world out of them.

The miniature artist is the creator of the on-going “Miniature Calendar” series, where he finds creative uses for everyday objects by having very tiny figures interact with them. The figures—some of which are no larger than his own thumb—can be seen doing very human actions, such as waiting on chairs, surfboarding, or hanging around a park. It's only upon closer inspection that you realize the chairs are binder clips, the sea is a pair of pants, and the park is a mosquito coil.

Since he started creating and photographing his art in 2011, he’s gained 2.6 million followers on Instagram, has been commissioned for work by large Japanese companies and has started an exhibition that’s had over a million visitors in Japan and abroad. We've had opportunities to introduce his art not once but twice at grape Japan.

This month, he’s set to open a new exhibition in Osaka called “MINIATURE LIFE Exhibition 2: Tatsuya Tanaka’s World of Resemblance”. It will feature 120 photos and around 50 of his actual miniature works, some of which are being shown in Japan for the very first time.

Tanaka's work is clearly varied in form. He doesn’t just show that he’s capable of depicting everyday human actions, but that he can also create entire cities and sceneries if he wanted to.

On his website, he brings up a very common thought that might have given birth to his whole series. He says, “Everybody must have had thoughts like these before: Broccoli and parsley may sometimes look like a forest of trees.”

But despite the commonness of this thought, it takes the talent and creativity of Tanaka to take that idea and run with it, creating almost dream-like scenes such as an airplane flying through clouds of rice or a bustling metropolis made entirely out of sushi along the way.


MINIATURE LIFE Exhibition 2: Tatsuya Tanaka’s World of Resemblance

  • Date: September 16 to October 5, 2020
  • Hours: 10AM - 7:30PM
  • Location: Daimaru Museum Osaka, Daimaru Umeda 15th Floor, 3-1-1 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 530-8202
  • Admission fee: ¥800 for adults, ¥600 for junior and high school students, ¥400 for elementary school students, free for pre-school children
  • Event website

By - Jen Santelices.