Tag Archives: japanese

What Makes a Selfie “Good”?

No camera angle magic, no flawless porcelain-like skin, and not even a hint of a smile – the selfies that Izumi Miyazaki takes often shows her looking unflatteringly solemn or completely emotionless. It’s clear that her rise to internet fame wasn’t the result of crafting a facade of beauty and perfection like the typical female internet celebrity. Instead, her devoted online following and feature in TIME magazine are the results of the absurdly and delightfully surreal self-portraits that she regularly uploads. Born in 1994, the Musashino Art University graduate uses Photoshop to expand on and exaggerate the possibilities of reality, creating a quirky and outlandish world of black humor where she touches on the heavy subjects of death, loneliness, and identity. “The tomato sauce coming out of my decapitated head represent my feelings towards mortality,” Miyazaki explains of the above image. “The imagery is meant to present a positive attitude towards death. It’s the same with the photo of my head being cut in half with a fish, I wanted to share my feelings in a comical way.” Scroll down to check out some more of Miyazaki’s self-portraits.

没有黄金45度仰拍,没有无暇的蛋壳肌,甚至连一丝笑容都没有,总以一副严肃甚至有点呆滞的表情出现在镜头前。日本少女Izumi Miyazaki就是以她与众不同的超现实自拍照走红于网络,甚至登上了美国时代周刊。Izumi Miyazaki1994年出生于日本山梨县,就读于武藏野美术大学。她利用Photoshop放大了现实世界的可能性,营造出古怪荒诞的个人世界,用冷幽默的画面去传达她对孤独、死亡和身份认同等话题的理解。“脑袋里流出的番茄酱是我对于死亡的态度,这种意象有点乐观又有点滑稽。”在介绍自己作品的时候Izumi Miyazaki这样讲到,“被劈开的生鱼和脑袋也是这样,我想用喜剧的方式去呈现死亡。” 下面一起看看Izumi Miyazaki的更多“迷之自拍“。

Website: izumimiyazaki.tumblr.com


Contributor: Ye Zi

网站: izumimiyazaki.tumblr.com


供稿人: Ye Zi

Cities & Places with Ryota Unno

(1400 x 2800 mm)

Ryota Unno is a Japanese artist whose work brings a playful and contemporary twist to traditional Japanese scroll painting. A graduate of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Japanese Painting, Unno is influenced by the art of the Edo period and employs traditional techniques in his creative process. Using traditional materials, such as iwaenogu (mineral pigments) and gold foil, on Japanese paper, Unno tells colorful stories about life in modern society set in cities across the world. His work has been exhibited in Japan, as well as internationally in the U.S., Hong Kong, Brazil, Italy, Taiwan, and Singapore. See below for more of the artist’s work.

日本艺术家Ryota Unno 以现代和俏皮的风格重新演绎了日本的传统卷轴画。Unno毕业于东京艺术大学,并获得了日本绘画美术的学士学位。他深受江户时代艺术的影响,喜欢运用传统绘画技巧来进行创作。Unno在日本纸上使用“岩绘具”iwaenogu(一种天然矿物颜料)和金箔等传统材料,以色彩丰富的画面展现出世界各地城市现代社会生活的故事。他的作品曾在日本,以及美国、香港、巴西、意大利、台湾、新加坡等地展出。下面一起来欣赏一下这名艺术家的更多作品吧。

A Mafia Loves Hot Springs
(600 x 720 mm)
Washington, D.C.
(1400 x 1400 mm)
Washington Park
(800 x 400 mm)
Central Park
(1400 x 700 mm)
(1400 x 2100 mm)
(1400 x 2800 mm)
Tower Life
(1400 x 1400 mm)
Chelsea Market
(800 x 560 mm)

Website: unnoryota.jimdo.com


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao



供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

Black & White Tokyo

Veteran Japanese photographer Junichi Hakoyama is best known for his minimalist black-and-white stills that he captures on the streets of Tokyo. Armed with his Leica M Monochrom, Hakoyama creates alluring images with bold lines and high contrasts through his effective use of light and shadow. The result is a beautifully understated monochromatic series that he has simply titled Tokyo. Every shot carries a soothing balance of proportion and geometric structure, which transforms a simple subject in a common setting into a moment full of purpose. See more of his work below.

日本资深摄影师Junichi Hakoyama凭借在东京街头捕捉的简约黑白摄影作品而闻名。通过他的Leica M Monochrom 相机,他用大胆的线条和高对比度的光影组合呈现了一系列出色的影像作品。他将这个精美而低调的黑白摄影作品系列简洁地命名为《东京》(Tokyo)。每一张照片的比例和几何结构都有一种令人看上去很舒服的平衡,将人们常见的环境和普通的人物定格为一个充满目的性的时刻。一起来欣赏一下他的作品吧。

Flickr: ~/junichihakoyama
Instagram: @junichi_hakoyama


Contributor: Whitney Ng

Flickr: ~/junichihakoyama
Instagram: @junichi_hakoyama


供稿人: Whitney Ng

Designing Happiness

Since arriving in Tokyo, Duncan Shotton has set about bestowing happiness around the world, one little hand-painted push pin at a time. Five years ago, in 2012, Shotton set up his own design studio in Japan. Since then, many aspects of his adopted home have served as inspiration. From holding his first pop-up shop in a tree within Tokyo’s Harajuku district to rethinking the humble soy sauce dish, Shotton has the ability to turn the everyday into the extraordinary.

2012年来到东京之后,英国设计师Duncan Shotton一直通过自己对平常生活的小用品的创意设计(譬如手绘小图钉),在世界各地传播快乐的精神。五年前,Shotton在日本成立设计工作室,日本的许多方面启发了他的创意灵感。不论是他在东京原宿区一棵树上开设的第一家概念性快闪店(pop-up shop),或是他对酱油碟的重新演绎,Shotton一直着眼于将平凡的小用品变得不平凡。


In Japan, it’s considered rude to wear shoes indoors. This custom is so deeply embedded into Japanese culture that many apartments come with a built-in sunken porch at the entrance. Shotton was inspired by stepping stones that he saw in Kyoto and designed Tobiishi as a clean space that serves as a stable treading spot for people greeting guests or accepting deliveries.


在日本,在室内穿鞋都是不礼貌的。这种习俗在日本文化中影响很深,以至于许多公寓在入口处都会设有一个“ 凹陷式门廊”。Shotton以自己在京都看到的垫脚石 为灵感,设计出Tobiishi,为人们在门口迎接客人或签收包裹时提供一个干净、稳固的踩点。

Soy Shape

Noticing that the natural color of soy sauce takes on a gradient form when poured into a shallow dish, Shotton designed these delightful dipping sauce dishes to give off the illusion of 3D shapes, giving an extra “dimension” to every sushi eating experience.

Soy Shape


Sticky Page Markers

This stationary series allows every bibliophile to build adorable landscapes from their favorite pages. From the iconic junk boats of Hong Kong sailing around the harbor to the infamous Godzilla monster terrorizing downtown, these page markers are sure to be a favorite amongst bookworms.

Sticky Page Markers


Shotton continues to work from Tokyo, collaborating with Japanese companies and sticking to a small production scale to maintain a high level of quality. His latest project, Planet Pins and the Moon – which is comprised of a hand-painted solar system and complete with a hand-casted concrete moon push pin – is now available for pre-order.

Shotton目前仍在东京生活,他与日本企业合作,坚持小规模的产量,以保证最佳质量。他最新的作品Planet Pins and the Moon是一组太阳系行星主题的手绘图钉,以及一颗用纯手作的混凝土月球图钉,现在已经开放预订。

Website: dshott.co.uk
Facebook: ~/DuncanShottonDesignStudio
Instagram: @_dshott


Contributor: Whitney Ng

网站: dshott.co.uk
脸书: ~/DuncanShottonDesignStudio
Instagram: @_dshott


供稿人: Whitney Ng

Makin’ Moves



Following the transhumanism concepts of his past works, Japanese art director Kouhei Nakama is back with his latest video, Makin’ Moves. Departing from the aesthetics of DIFFUSION and CYCLE, the two other short videos of the series, Nakama wanted to make the latest installment more visually approachable. This decision comes from the fact that his past two videos had received decidedly mixed reactions; while most viewers were impressed by the stunning visuals, others found them to be rather disturbing. “I thought that the parts people found ‘shocking’ in those two videos might have hindered the message I originally wanted to convey,” Nakama explains.

日本艺术总监Kouhei Nakama曾在过去的作品中探讨超人类主义(transhumanism)的概念,现在,他又带来了最新的短片作品《Makin’ Moves》。同系列的前2部短片《DIFFUSION》和《CYCLE》在网上发布后,毁誉参半。有人认为它们视觉效果震撼,有人则觉得不适。而这次的全新短片一改前两部短片的美学风格,呈现了更轻快的风格。“我觉得在前两部短片中那些令观众‘震撼’的内容可能反而阻碍了我原本想要传达的信息。“Nakama解释说。

Nakama describes the subjects in this latest video as the “dance team of the future.” The humans (and one lone dog) in the video swirl and contort, with complete disregard for the laws of physics; pop and lock, splitting their anatomy in biologically impossible ways; and gyrate along to the rhythm, exploding into colorful fractals in sync with a hypnotic, pulsating track produced by BrokeForFree. Nakama tells us, “Please, don’t think too hard. Just enjoy the video!”

Nakama说最新短片的主题是“未来的舞蹈团队”。视频中的人(和一只孤独的狗)打破所有物理定律,不断旋转和扭曲;他们的身体在跳着机械舞的pop 和lock动作的同时,以超越生物学的方式不断分解;并跟着BrokeForFree迷幻、跃动的音乐节拍旋转、爆发出多彩的分形图案。Nakama 说:“不要想太多,好好享受这部短片就行!“

Website: kouheinakama.com
Vimeo: ~/kouheinakama
Behance: ~/kouheinakama
Instagram: @kouhei_nakama


Contributor: David Yen

网站: kouheinakama.com
Vimeo: ~/kouheinakama
Behance: ~/kouheinakama
Instagram: @kouhei_nakama


供稿人: David Yen

Bicycle Boy

After visiting Seiseki-Sakuragaoka, the Japanese suburbs that the 1995 Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart was modeled after, Polish-born and Tokyo-based artist Mateusz Urbanowicz was inspired to paint his Bicycle Boy series, which consists of ten watercolor paintings that bring the film’s narrow roads and suburban landscapes to life. Urbanowicz uses 6B pencils to sketch out each moment before coloring them with Schimincke and Winsor & Newton watercolors. This series takes us on a journey of a dedicated bicycle boy who rides up challenging inclines and through the elements in order to reach his destination. Many of Urbanowicz’s other illustrations are also inspired by his new adoptive home of Japan as well as the animated backgrounds that feature in many Japanese anime films.

波兰出生的艺术家Mateusz Urbanowicz目前生活在东京。在参观完日本郊区圣迹樱丘(Seiseki-Sakuragaoka)——1995年吉卜力电影《心之谷》(Whisper of the Heart)的场景原型后,Urbanowicz创作了《自行车男孩》(Bicycle Boy)水彩画系列,通过十幅水彩画,栩栩如生地呈现出电影中出现的狭窄小巷和日本郊区景观。Urbanowicz在创作时,先使用6B铅笔画出草图,然后用Schimincke和Winsor&Newton水彩上色。这个水彩画系列带领观众,跟随一名骑自行车的男孩,骑过艰难的斜坡,经历各种天气,朝着目的地进发。Urbanowicz的许多其它插图的灵感还来自于他如今生活的日本,以及许多日本动画中的场景。

Website: mateuszurbanowicz.com
Facebook: ~/urbanowiczmateusz
Instagram: @mateusz_urbanowicz


Contributor: Whitney Ng

网站: mateuszurbanowicz.com
脸书: ~/urbanowiczmateusz
Instagram: @mateusz_urbanowicz


供稿人: Whitney Ng

An Artful Aftermath

Cleveland-born and Singapore-based artist Debra Raymond knows first hand about being in transit. After leaving Ohio, she lived in Jakarta before relocating to the little red dot; in her art,“constant migration” remains as a heavy inspiration. Contemporary social issues such as urban alienation and technology’s hindrance on human connection feature heavily within her body of work.

艺术家Debra Raymond出生于美国克利夫兰,如今定居新加坡。对于”迁徙“,她深有体会。离开俄亥俄州后, 她先是在雅加达生活,后又移居新加坡。在她的作品中, “不间断的迁徙” 一直是一种沉重的创作灵感,她在作品中深入探讨着各种当代社会问题, 如城市异化和科技对人际关系的影响等等。

During her BA (Hons) Fine Arts in Singapore’s LASALLE College of the Arts, she explored the significance of play in childhood development and how to encourage human interaction through art in our technologically advanced era. In late 2016, Raymond completed an artist residency at the Children Centre of Japan in the Miyagi Prefecture’s Ogatsu-cho. During her residency, she conducted workshops with local children to create a series of works to remember the 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

在新加坡拉萨尔艺术学院(LASALLE College of the Arts)攻读荣誉学士学位期间, 她研究了戏剧在童年发展中的意义, 以及如何在科技先进的时代通过艺术来鼓励人类互动。2016年9月, Raymond 完成了“艺术家驻住计划”(Artist-in-residence),居住在日本宫城县小村庄Ogatsu-cho的儿童中心。期间, 她以2011年的海啸事件为灵感,为当地的儿童举办艺术讲习班。

Inspired by the houses that survived the tsunami, Raymond created 20 sculptures out of wood that was foraged from the area. The sculptures are based on 30 sketches that were painted in 30 days. The series was created to commemorate “the everydayness that we often take for granted” and installed around the prefecture.

Raymond 以海啸中幸存的房子为启发,利用当地获取的木材,并以她在驻住期间完成的30幅作品为基础创作了20个雕塑。她所创作这一系列雕塑,被安放在村庄的不同角落,目的是为了赞颂 “那些往往被人们当作理所当然的平凡生活” 。

Website: debraymond.com
Instagram: @deb.ra


Contributor: Whitney Ng
Images Courtesy of Debra Raymond




供稿人: Whitney Ng
图片由Debra Raymond提供




INORI–PRAYER is digital art collaboration between Japan-based visual design studio WOW Inc., creative production team TOKYO, the Ishikawa Watanbe Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, and iconic dance duo AyaBambi. The project was the brainchild of Nobumichi Asai, creative and technical director of WOW Inc. Inspired by the soundtrack by Yosuke Nagao’s, Asai felt the music symbolized a radioactive, destructive power. The visuals and the choreography blend together to represent “death, suffering and sadness” as well as “the opportunity to overcome.”

《INORI–PRAYER》是日本视觉设计工作室 WOW Inc.携手创意制作团队TOKYO东京大学的石川渡辺研究室以及舞蹈组合AyaBambi一起打造的数码艺术项目。项目由 WOW 创意及技术总监Nobumichi Asai 发起。他在听到Yosuke Nagao的配乐后,深受启发,觉得它象征了一种放射性般的破坏力。通过将视觉效果和舞蹈相结合,表达出“死亡、痛苦和悲伤”的情绪以及“战胜的希望”。

One of the main challenges of the project was to ensure that the facial mapping would be precise throughout the entire dance segment. After three months of trial and error, the team managed to reduce the projection delay down to mere milliseconds — this was accomplished through the use of DynaFlash, a state-of-the-art 1,000 fps projector with an ultra high-speed sensing system. The projected images take on the form of a second skin, which continuously distort and transform the faces of AyaBambi’s two dancers throughout the entire performance.

这个项目的主要挑战之一是确保在整个舞蹈环节中获得精确的面部映射。历经三个月的试验后,团队使用最先进的1000fps DynaFlash 超高速传感投影机,成功地将投影延迟减低至数毫秒,投影图像宛如舞者的第二层皮肤,更使得AyaBambi 两位舞者的面孔在整个表演过程中扭曲和变幻出各种图案。

Website: w0w.co.jp


Contributor: Whitney Ng
GIFs Courtesy of Prosthetic Knowledge
Image Courtesy TOKYO
Video Courtesy of WOW Inc.




供稿人: Whitney Ng
GIF图由Prosthetic Knowledge提供

视频与由WOW Inc.提供


In post-war Japan, cities victim to firebombings were left in a state of ruin and despair. But in the wake of devastation, some Japanese architects optimistically saw opportunity; they saw a chance to prove the country’s resilience, rebuild their cultural identity, and transform the nation into an improved version of its previous self. During this period of time, the influential architectural movement known as Metabolism was born, revolving around the concepts of organic growth and megastructures. The idea was that buildings didn’t have to be static; instead, they could be ever-changing, adapting and transforming according to different needs. One of the most iconic buildings of the movement—the Nakagin Capsule Tower—can still be found today in Tokyo’s Ginza District. Built by the famous architect Kisho Kurokawa, the unique structure consists of 140 removable capsules plugged into two concrete cores and is the main subject of Noritaka Minami’s photo book 1972, named after the year that the building was officially completed.


Noritaka Minami is a Japanese-born and America-raised photographer who only began documenting the building in 2010. At the time, there was a sense of urgency to complete the project. “There was a very real possibility that it would be demolished and replaced with a more ‘conventional’ apartment complex,” says Minami. “As of today, the building does not face imminent destruction, but still faces a very uncertain future in regards to its preservation.” The building was experimental, a prototype that sought to explore the possibilities of alternative methods of urban living in the future. Through his photos, Minami wants to offer viewers an opportunity to see the past’s interpretation of the future.


“Each capsule is a container that has accumulated all of the moves and decisions that were performed by individuals over the course of four decades,” says Minami. “Although I do not directly depict the resident who occupies that space, I want each photograph to suggest that the capsule holds the history and presence of people who occupy or have occupied that space.” With respect to the inhabitants, his photographs are completely documentary in nature; objects, furnishings, and light were photographed as it were without any alterations on his part.


Shot on both medium and large-format cameras with an ultra-wide lens, Minami’s collection of images captures the nuances of each ten square meter living space, revealing the the ways each resident has adapted to the living conditions. “The limited space of a capsule also influences the amount of belongings each resident can possess, more so than a conventional apartment,” Minami mused. The restricted space of each capsule often leads to the majority of an inhabitant’s worldly belongings to sit out in plain view; To this effect, Minami saw each pod as an extension of each resident’s personality. “From a very early point in its history, the criticism against the Capsule Tower was that the individual units are too small and not flexible enough for everyday use,” he says. “Yet, the fact that these small rooms are still being occupied to this day demonstrate the residents’ ability to find new and unexpected applications within the limited area of ten square meters that go beyond the original vision of the building as urban homes for businessmen.”


As the Nagakin Capsule Tower is a private building, gaining access can be rather difficult for non-residents. “The project was only possible through the generosity of the couple that first allowed me to visit their capsule during the summer of 2010,” Minami explained. Many of the photographs in the book were made possible through the couple’s acquaintances in the building. By luck, Minami eventually met others in the building who granted him permission to document their pods, offering a candid glimpse into their living space.


During the time that Minami worked the project, the people that chose to live in the building came from all walks of life, ranging from a young local art student attending university to a construction worker in his sixties. What attracted each resident was different: some were interested in its historical significance, some were curious about living in an unconventionally built structure, and others lived there for practical reasons like convenience and affordability. Although many residents are in favor of preserving the building, aware of its history and cultural significance, there are some residents who aren’t as keen, seeing the potential of maximizing the prime real estate that the building sits on by replacing it with a newer apartment.


Minami’s book was finally published last year, made possible with a successful Kickstarter campaign and a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. “The idea of presenting this project as a photo book attracted me because the format could show more photographs than what is normally possible within the physical space of a gallery,” he explained. “Designing the book also presented challenges and possibilities that are different from designing an exhibition. I learned a lot by creating the specific selection and sequence of images in order for the series to be experienced as a book.” 1972 is now available online through Amazon and other select retailers.




Contributor: David Yen
Images Courtesy of Kana Kawanishi Art Gallery



寄稿人: David Yen
Images Courtesy of Kana Kawanishi Art Gallery

Japan, Pixelated

Since 2011, Japanese illustrator Toyoi Yuuta has been posting animated GIFs on his Tumblr under the moniker 1041uuu. Finding beauty in simplicity, he’s translated his vision of life in Japan into gorgeously animated pixel art. The highly approachable style of his pixel art has allowed his work to be widely praised and shared by netizens from all over the world. At the same time, Generation Xers, millennials, and gaming enthusiasts are able to more deeply appreciate the nostalgic qualities of his retro aesthetics.


Originally born in Fukushima, Toyoi is currently based out of Kyoto, preferring the quiet pace of life there compared to the sensory overload of Tokyo, where he had previously lived for six years. In those six years, Toyoi found solace and inspiration in different aspects of the Tokyo that many might not immediately associate with the city, such as its rivers. “I think I’ve been influenced by the unique rivers of all the cities I’ve lived in. In particular, Tokyo’s Sumida River had a profound impact on me,” he says. From a cityscape reflected on the rippling surface of a river to koi fish idly lazing beneath a lotus leaf-covered pond, water makes frequent appearances in Toyoi’s work and is often one of the most noticeable animated elements.


Another big influence for Toyoi is the popular arcade-style fighting game, The King of Fighters. The different two-dimensional background scenes in the game clearly lends inspiration for his animated GIFs. These in-game backgrounds range from forests with falling rain and leaves fluttering in the wind to industrial settings with machinery bellowing out clouds of steam. Some other scenes might depict more mundane moments of city life, such as lovers interacting in the background and blinking traffic lights. These little moments stuck in an infinite loop fascinated Toyoi. “To an art geek like me, these elements sparked something within me and I became interested in these realistic backdrops,” he says. Similar to the aesthetics of The King of Fighters and other retro fighting games, animating select details in a mostly still frame has become the trademark of Toyoi’s work.


For many artists, figuring out how to make sustainable income while pursuing their creative vision can be problematic, and Toyoi isn’t an exception. He revealed that his initial decision to create pixel art was in part due to to the restrictive nature of the tools he had access to. “I was poor and unemployed. I didn’t have a pen tablet and only had a PC track pad. But to create pixel art, I don’t need a high-resolution computer or much special knowledge and training,” he recalled. Despite garnering high praise for his GIFs, the popularity of his work still hasn’t translated into any money-making opportunities. “I still don’t have any money at the moment, so I’m trying to sell some of my artwork now,” Toyoi candidly admitted. “I’m looking into selling silkscreen prints in the near future.”


Introverted by nature, Toyoi tells us that people aren’t of much interest to him. Instead, his interests lie in the intangible, such as the feelings and smells of a place, holding the belief that these are the elements that truly make up the essence of a city. “The world is filled with rules that aren’t explicitly written out, and it feels like I’m not very good at reading them, because I don’t understand these unspoken codes. I find society to be a scary place,” he says. Toyoi’s work is a tranquil respite from the whirlwind of unpredictability, volatility, and anxiety that plague our modern lives. His gift lies in the way that he’s able to invoke a blissful sense of tranquility by simply presenting the nuanced beauties of life that many overlook, rendering these ordinary moments into gorgeous works of art.


It generally takes Toyoi two days to complete a GIF. The preliminary planning stages are admittedly much more difficult, he says. It’s crucial for him to avoid repetition. “Sometimes choosing the idea can take up to two weeks. Even now, two months can go by without me drawing anything,” he says. “For example, if I have already drawn a picture of a businessman asleep in a in a bus, then I would not draw a picture of a student asleep on a train.  There is no essential difference in my mind between the sleeping businessman and the sleeping student, or a train and a bus.”


“For now, I’ll be content if my work allows people to better appreciate the world around them. Japan has many problems, such as the threat of earthquakes, nuclear power plant accidents, distrust of the government, overworked people suffering from work-related stresses, and so on.” As if to counterbalance these large scale, hard-to-solve problems that trouble his mind, Toyoi’s charming GIFs instead hone in on the simple beauties of everyday life in Japan. “Regardless of some of the country’s issues, I want people to visit Japan. I certainly recommend Kyoto.”


Tumblr: 1041uuu.tumblr.com
Instagram: @1041uuu


Contributor: David Yen

Tumblr: 1041uuu.tumblr.com
Instagram: @1041uuu


寄稿人: David Yen