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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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Washed Away: Seascapes by Kozyndan

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

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In my previous post I introduced the work of Kozyndan, a talented couple that work together on art and illustration. While that post featured some of their more colorful and humorous work, there’s another, more serious, to these artists. Their recent exhibition Washed Away at Outré Gallery, focused on the themes of the sea and sea-life, as well as Japan’s ama, women divers famous for collecting pearls. Kozyndan were also inspired by Hokusai’s iconic wave, and these works hint at the power and violence of the sea. The result are images that are beautiful, mysterious and poetic. 
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The Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters by Gojin Ishihara

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

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Kyūbi no kitsune (nine-tailed fox)

Gojin Ishihara’s Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters (1972), is filled with the spirits and monsters, ogres and imps of traditional Japanese folklore. Of course the more familiar you are with Japanese popular culture, the more you’ll have been exposed to these folk tales indirectly. From fantasy monsters in anime like Naruto and Inuyasha, to contemporary horror like The Ring, this rich cultural heritage can be seen in almost countless examples. I’ve also featured the Kitsune, or fox spirit, in my own work, so images like these are a great source of inspiration. Enjoy.

Images via Pink Tentacle.
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Images of War: Meiji Era Ukiyo-e Prints

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

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The Meiji Era was a period of intense societal change and rapid modernization. It was also a period of aggressive militarism. Japan was involved in both the first  Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War as Japan, as the country attempted to expand its borders to repel foreign incursion.

Japanese artists were exposed to Western art and photography, and this is evident in stylistic changes within the print medium. The traditional flattened perspective and stylized features of earlier ukiyo-e prints are less evident. The result is strangely reminiscent of American comics, and clearly shows the infancy of contemporary manga.

Images via the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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Clever and Cute Textiles by RAAK

Design, Fashion, Inspiration, Japan, Traditional Japan

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The RAAK brand was created by Eiraku, to bring tenugui, Japanese facecloths, into the modern era. Eiraku was founded in 1615, and this impressive legacy is the foundation of the RAAK brand, as traditional designs are fused with modern elements. The result is textile design that is not only cute and quirky, but also surprising elegant and understated.

In addition to tenugui dyed using the traditional methods, RAAK also stocks handbags, scarfs, hats and other accessories

Visit their official website here

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Sci-Fi Samurai by Tenmyouya Hisashi

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

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Tenmyouya Hisashi is a Japanese artist creating “Neo Nihonga” or  ”Neo Japanese painting”, contemporary art which combines classical Japanese painting techniques with subject matter from pop culture.

His works are created with a foreign audience in mind and Tenmyouya plays off Western perceptions of Japan. Imagery is taken from the media; from video games to science fiction and martial arts movies , and then pushed to the extreme.

Visit his official website here.
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Kaiseki Ryori: Japanese Haute Cuisine

Inspiration, Japan, Traditional Japan

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Kaiseki Ryori is traditional Japanese multi-course cuisine originating from the tradition of the tea ceremony. Although kaiseki has now evloved into the luxurious food of banquets, cha-kaiseki is still served to precede the chaji tea ceremony.

Kaiseki courses include different methods of preparation; raw, grilled, fried and deep-fried. Fresh seasonal ingredients are used and plates are decorated with garnish reflecting the seasons; maple leaves in autumn and cherry blossoms in spring. In this way kaiseki retains some of the contemplative nature of the tea ceremony, a reminder of the transience of life with each course meant to be savored to the fullest.

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Georgeous Cinematography in Sakuran

Design, Inspiration, Japan, Photography, Traditional Japan

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Sakuran was the directorial début of photographer Mika Ninagawa and was based on the manga by the same name. The film has some exceptional cinematography, not to mention gorgeous sets and costumes in rich jewel colors. Although the movie does lag in places, it’s much too pretty to miss if you have any interest in oiran or geisha.

Pics via AsiaBeam.

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