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Mod Pop Punk: Contemporary Kimono by Modern Antenna

Fashion, Inspiration, Japan, Traditional Japan

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Modern Antenna creates amazing contemporary kimono designs. Their simple and bold graphic prints are incredibly versatile, and can be styled in fashions ranging from chic to cute. J-pop group SCANDAL rocked these Brit-punk inspired co-ordinates for their album SCANDAL SHOW.

Check out the official Modern Antenna site here (all Japanese unfortunately).
SCANDAL pics via Comtrya Sugoi.

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Kimono-clad Women: The Work of Manami Koike

Art, Inspiration, Japan, Traditional Japan

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While there’s not a lot of information about these paintings by Manami Koike, the work speaks for itself. Delicately painted as if in soft focus, these works reflect on the place of the Japanese woman within the Western imagination, and the mysterious allure the kimono-clad woman, whether she’s an oiran, geisha or even a virginal bride.

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Textile Landscapes: The Kimono of Itchiku Kubota

Art, Fashion, Inspiration, Japan, Traditional Japan

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Itchiku Kubota is an artist recognised for his unique contributions to the art of kimono. A master of traditional decorative techniques, he attempted to recreate the lost tradition of tsujigahana. After decades of experimentation Kubota eventually merged modern innovations with ancient tradition to create his own unique decorative technique. Kubota’s planned masterpiece was a series of eighty kimono called the Symphony of Light, in which vast panoramas, flowed between kimono. While Kubota was unable to finish this work before his death, his son and daughter continue their father’s work today.

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Creepy Cute: Paintings by Ciou

Art, Inspiration, Japan

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This is part two of my previous post featuring Ciou‘s creepy cute work. While my previous post focussed on her black and white ink drawings, this post features the same crazy work in full color. So expect more doll-like heroines and assorted anthropomorphised animals, as well as a cascade of morbid symbolism and cute motifs.

Enjoy.

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Tattoo Flash: Drawings by Ciou

Art, Inspiration, Japan

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Ciou‘s spiky-lined ink drawings seem perfect for tattoo flash. Girls with over-sized eyes and serpentine hair are paired with Disney animals on crack. Ciou combines these sweet/scary characters with Dios De Los Muertos inspired symbolism; flowers with coffins for petals, an upside-down cross on a party hat, and fingers grow into the branches of a tree.

Expect to see another post dedicated to color works by this talented artist.

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Bubblegum Tokyo: The Work of Karasumaru Yumi

Art, Inspiration, Japan

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Karasumaru Yumi‘s work combines images of Japan’s past and present. The recurring image of the atomic bomb collides against images of the fashion-conscious youths of Harajuku. And yet Karasumaru’s distinctive candy-coloured palette seems to somehow reduce these images to the same thing; yet another image in a media saturated culture. Indeed Japanese popular culture is saturated by references to the bomb in everything from anime like Akira, to Godzilla movies.

As the generation that experienced the war is dying off, so Japan’s influential history is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to imagine. And yet the photographic image represents history, something as real as the images of contemporary Tokyo. It is this contradiction which lies at the heart of Karasumaru’s work.

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Doll Portraits: The Work of Emma Mount

Art, Design, Inspiration, Japan

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Annie: The SweetheartBlythe White
Riiko: The VivaciousValentine: The Celestine

Emma Mount‘s portraits of Blythe and Pullip dolls, walk the line between cute and scary. With bobble heads and big eyes, these dolls are definitely a matter of love or hate. Although plenty of enthusiasts have come to love their exaggerated proportions and quirky expressions.

A large part of these dolls’ appeal is their almost infinite customizability. Creator go to extraordinary lengths; re-rooting the hair, re-painting the lips, replacing the eyechips, repainting the skin, and sand-matting or spray finish matting the faces. The result are dolls that are truly unique, and serve as a form of self-expression for their owners. In this way Emma Mount’s works are not only a portrait of the dolls themselves, but a reflection of their creators.

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Sweet Skits by Naoshi

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Inspiration, Japan

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The works of Naoshi are like one-scene skits; surreal plays with a deadpan cast of anthropomorphized animals, foods and everyday objects. Naoshi’s distinctive visual style is based on a large part on his use of sunae, shiny and colorful sand which gives his works their bright color palette and soft texture. Naoshi uses sunae to create a beautiful and sparkling world, filled with surreal characters living their everyday lives. Enjoy.
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Daicon IV Opening Animation

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Design, Inspiration, Japan

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I was blown away when I recently watched the Daicon IV Opening Animation.  Somehow I’d manage to miss this crucial piece of otaku history.

The Daicon III  and IV animations were amateur works done for the 1981 and 1983 Nihon SF Taikai conventions. This group of amateur animators would go on to form Gainax, and the Daicon animations show the genesis of imagery that would be repeated in projects like Evangelion and FLCL.

As an animation it’s a testament to the beauty and visual power of traditional  cel animation. There’s something timeless about these videos, and incredibly after almost thirty years they can still compete with some of the best animation being produced today. Unfortunately these works have never been officially released, and never will be, so watch it now.

Pics via Daicon and Daicon III and IV Opening Animations.

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Chaotic Cute: The Work of Chikuwaemil

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Inspiration, Japan

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The work of Chikuwaemil is an explosion of color; a hypnotic and chaotic mess of cute girls, scribbled cats and miscellaneous doodles. It’s a mix of raw energy and naïve imagery, in sweet candy colors. It also features a lot of the teal-haired idol, Hatsune Miku, being drawn in Chikuwaemil’s distinctive style. Enjoy.

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