Japanese rail company uses ukiyo-e posters to ask commuters to mind their manners on the train
01.April.2017 | SPOT
The ever-growing series of traditional artworks is grabbing everyone’s attention for its beauty and humour.
One of the many things we love about Japan is the way that art blends into everyday public life. Whether it’s custom-wrapped trains, plastic food replicas, or Hello Kitty-adorned construction sites, everywhere you look there are eye-catching images that inadvertently grab our attention.
One place that’s particularly well-known for its arty posters and banners is the Japanese rail system. Here, we’ve seen “manner posters” that ask commuters to refrain from things like eating and manspreading, but now there’s a brand new type of manner poster on the rail network that’s got everyone talking.
Inspired by traditional ukiyo-e woodblock prints, the new series from Seibu Railways is called “Denshanai Meiwaku-zue“ (電車内迷惑図絵), a title in line with traditional ukiyo-e naming conventions, which translates to “Picture of Annoyances Inside the Train”.
▼ The first poster in the collection is “Please let others sit comfortably“.
The second print in the series, called “Please turn down your volume“, features groups of chattering animals, harking back to the style of Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831–1889), an acclaimed caricaturist known for his images of demons and animals.
Gorgeous Ukiyo-e iPhone Cases Released by ARTiFY in Japan
22.February.2020 | FASHION
Smartphone case brand ARTiFY showcased its Klimt and ukiyo-e glitter cases at art museums in Japan last year, which was a huge hit. They were so popular that the company has decided to make them available to consumers online.
The brand’s name, ARTiFY, means to “make something into art.” But for them, that doesn’t simply mean a piece of art to look at: it’s things you can wear, things you use in your everyday life and beyondーbringing life and art together and making it more fun and integrated.
ARTiFY’s products are on the rise. You can find their products at the Ukiyo-e exhibition at the Fukuoka Art Museum’s museum shops, and in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the number of souvenir shops aimed at foreign tourists they are stocked in are set to go up.
Ukiyo-e iPhone Glitter Cases
Designs: Soma no Furudairi by Utagawa Kuniyoshi / The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai / Fine Wind, Clear Morning by Hokusai
Released: February 10, 2020
Price: ¥3,960 (Tax Included)
Compatible With: iPhone6, 6s, 7, 8, iPhoneX/Xs, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max
Available: Art museums, museums, online stores and elsewhere in Japan
Ukiyo-e Soap On Sale at SOLEIL TOKYO Pop-up Store in Shinjuku NEWoMan
08.August.2018 | FASHION
A brand of Ukiyo-e themed soap by Hinata Hina is currently on sale at the SOLEIL TOKYO pop-up store in Shinjuku NEWoMan, a huge shopping mall packed with fashion boutiques, food shops, cafes, bakeries and restaurants, and more. The soap is available until August 16.
The soap was created with the Edo period in mind. There are two different gift packages being sold in addition to three new designs available in early limited stock before they go on general sale.
The soap is a fusion of original lactic acid bacteria which enables a luxurious marshmallow-like foam when lathered that’s gentle to the skin, opening your path to looking beautiful like those in the ukiyo-e illustrations.
The soaps are made in Japan and are made using only the necessary ingredients. They are made simply, use no synthetic surfactant and are odour-free. This is all replaced with natural ingredients like plant lactobacillus, yeast, honey, and olive oil.
They make for a perfect souvenir for Japanese, so be sure to check them out if you’re in Shinjuku.
Ukiyo-e & Sengoku Busho Crest Limited Edition Soy Sauce Packaging
18.June.2018 | Uncategorized
Soy sauce company Marusen Shoyu, who are based in Yamagata Prefecture, are selling bottles of soy sauce with limited edition packaging. Get your hands on either the ukiyo-e soy sauce or sengoku busho crest soy sauce.
Yamagata Prefecture has a long history of ‘dashi soy sauce,’ which takes regular soy sauce and adds stock like bonito and kelp which brings an exquisite balance of sweetness and deliciousness and deepens the flavour of the soy sauce. Aji no Daimyo Shoyu is a type of dashi soy sauce made with dashi bonito. It was developed 40 years ago and remains a best seller among customers.
When the 2011 Tohoku earthquake hit Japan in 2011, Marusen Shoyu began to think up ways they could cheer up customers, locals and Japan as a whole from Yamagata by using their soy sauce. This is what led them to start producing dashi soy sauce. First and foremost was putting a smile on people’s faces, and so they used the great local ingredients at their disposal as well as delicious ingredients in Japan to enable people to enjoy a bit of luxury and brighten up.
The new limited-edition packaging is linked to this idea.
Ukiyo-e Packaging 220ml x 3 Bottles
These make for a perfect souvenir outside Japan. The bottles are designs on the ukiyo-e pieces of Sharaku, a print designer of the Edo Period.
Sengoku Busho Crest Packaging 50ml x 3 Bottles
These mini bottles bear the family crests of Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu from the Sengoku period. They each have their own flavours and make for a great gift.
Both package designs come with 3 bottles each containing 3 different flavours. The Aji no Daimyo Shoyu is made with bonito dashi to make a sweet and deep flavoured dashi soy sauce. The Kombu Daimyo Shoyu is made with a delicious and fragrant kelp dashi. The Tokugawa Shoyu, which isn’t made with dashi, has the same kick you’d find in a high quality soy sauce for sashimi.
Try these soy sauces for yourself, you’re guaranteed to get addicted to each and every one of them!
David Bowie Ukiyo-e and Photography Exhibition to Take Place at Bookmarc
30.May.2018 | SPOTBookmarc is a bookstore managed by New York fashion brand Marc Jacobs, where the long-awaited third entry to UKIYO-E PROJECT’s series will have its launch event, paying homage to David Bowie and his works. The ukiyo-e and photography exhibition will run from June 23 to July 1.Title: David Bowie Hengekyou “Takezawa Douji”
From Terry O’Neill’s “Diamond Dogs”
Artist: Masumi Ishikawa / Engraver: Yusuke Sekioka / Printer: Tatsuya Ito Size: 480mm×340mm (Portrait) *200 copies available
Price: ¥108,000 (Tax Included)Takezawa Douji the Second was a hugely popular acrobat during the Edo Period popular for numerous kinds of performances as well as puppetry. As an entertainer, you could say he has a high affinity with Bowie, who in a sense was an illusionist.This art piece takes inspiration from Diamond Dogs and changes a dog for the Nine-Tailed Fox, and David Bowie switches places with Douji to perform the spinning top.Title: David Bowie Hengekyou “Kidomaru”
From Brian Duffy’s “Aladdin Sane”
Artist: Masumi Ishikawa / Engraver: Sato Nami / Printer: 中山誠人 Size: 480mm×340mm (Portrait) *200 copies available
Price: ¥108,000 (Tax Included)
Kidomaru is a familiar face in the world of ukiyo-e, a sorcerer who appears in myths and legends of the Kamakura Period. This art piece features the giant snake itself and an intricately drawn Bowie.These captivating and bewitching ukiyo-e pieces of David Bowie are sure to entice fans around the world.
Edo Cat Cafe Combines the Worlds of Ukiyo-e and Cats
An Edo-style cat café will bring to life the world of ukiyo-e with real cats you can play with. The Edo Cat Cafe will run from June 15 to August 31 this year at the event space outside the West Entrance at JR Ryogoku Station.
The concept behind this event is: “A rumour between the residents of an Edo ‘nagaya’ and cats. Travellers from across the country catch sound of the rumour and come to get a glimpse.”
The nagaya was a type of living quarters in the Edo period made like a row of houses. The cat café building is made to look like one of these. Ukiyo-e paintings and models will decorate inside and bring to life the street and atmosphere of the Edo period. There will also be entrances, streets and staircases for cats to use. You’ll be able to enjoy a unique experience and take photos while playing with cats in what will really feel just like the world of Edo.
There will be several zones inside building, including the cat tea room, cat ‘red light district,’ cat bath, cat nagaya, and cat plaza. Each area will be furnished with ukiyo-e that fit the scene, bringing to life the world of Edo. As well as being able to take photos with the cats anywhere inside the café, you’ll also have the chance to learn about the deep relationship between the people of Edo and cats through the commentaries of each ukiyo-e piece. There’ll even be a merchandise corner to purchase original goods related to cats.
But it doesn’t stop there. There will also be a chance to enjoy Edo’s food culture at -Ryogoku- Edo NOREN, join in a campaign being held in collaboration with Sumida Hokusai Museum, and more. Part of the proceedings made at the café will go towards tackling the problem of homeless cats. Cat-loving artists are also set to cooperate in the event and they will produce original ema plaques.
If you’re also a cat-lover then don’t miss out on this unique Edo and cat café mashup!
Let’s learn about the history of Japan at renewed “EDO-TOKYO MUSEUM”
12.April.2018 | SPOT
After closing for 6 months, EDO-TOKYO MUSEUM was reopened on the 1st of April and about 22,000 people visited the museum between the 1st to 7th of April.
They held talk sessions and live performances between the 1st of April (Sun.) to the 7th (Sat.) which was designated as reopening commemoration week named, “EDO→TOKYO VISION Edo Tokyo no Rekishi (history) Bunka (culture) to Tsunagaru (connect with) Isshukan (one week).”
First, Shiriagari Kotobuki from Nakamuraza appeared on the stage and along with the performance of Kanya Tsuruzawa, a Gidayu Shamisen player, he performed live drawing on a 30m long Japanese paper using sumi (Japanese ink.) The audience was glued to the performance. Lastly, he drew the illustration of Sky Tree and hung the work from “Nihonbashi,” one of the works exhibited in the museum.
The event started with the rakugo performance (Japanese traditional comic storytelling) of the female rakugo performer Kokintei Kikuchiyo. She performed one of popular story created during the Edo period named, “Tarachine.”
About 300 spectators attended the“Rekishi Special Acoustic Live.” The venue was filled with excitement right after Rekishi wearing a hakama appeared on the stage with the sound of a trumpet shell and drums.
EDO-TOKYO MUSEUM is planning to introduce the history and culture of the Edo Period and Tokyo to those who love history, to those who have never visited the museum and to tourists from foreign countries. They will hold many events to become a focal point of Tokyo’s culture.
Let’s visit the renewed EDO-TOKYO MUSEUM and learn about the history of Tokyo!
Edo-Tokyo Museum Re-Opens With Exhibition of Mysterious Ukiyo-e Painter Sharaku
14.March.2018 | SPOT
The Edo-Tokyo Museum will re-open on April 1st after a 6-month closure. The museum has been newly fitted with a shop and restaurant.
To commemorate the re-opening, Tōshūsai Sharaku’s Actor Ichikawa Ebizo as Takemura Sadanoshin and Kitagawa Utamaro’s Reflective Love from Anthology of Poems: The Love Section will be put on regular display for the first time.
Tōshūsai Sharaku was an ukiyo-e print designed of the Edo Period. Sharaku is known as a mysterious artist who, after releasing a whole collection of other prints in a small timeframe of just 10 months, suddenly disappeared.
Other events are also scheduled for the museum including talk sessions. Topics center around questioning what things modern Tokyo inherited from the Edo Period, as well as what is necessary to revive traditional things into modern life. Other talks and performances will also take place by experts in other fields and artists too.
Discover the world of the mysterious ukiyo-e painter Tōshūsai Sharaku at the refurbished Edo-Tokyo Museum.
Dr.Martens’ boots & shoes using the motif of “ukiyoe”
30.January.2018 | FASHION
Dr.Martens will release their new shoes collections called “FLORALS REMIXED” (2018,02,09) and “EASTERN ART” (2018,02,23).
The “FLORALS REMIXED” shoes have a flower-patterned print on them named, “Wonder Last” which symbolizes the freeness to go out on a trip. The flowers printed on the shoes are colored pink, blue, yellow and green. This collection includes the 10-hole boots, 8-hole boots, 3-hole shoes, Mary Jane shoes and the Jungle boots with a zip.
The 8-hole boots and 3-hole shoes of the collection titled, “EASTERN ART” using the motif of ukiyoe (Japanese traditional painting) uses grain leather on their uppers and are finished with emboss to represent the texture of “washi” (Japanese traditional paper).
The exotic design was created by the design team in England. Also, the gold-colored studs on the shoes are brilliant.
Why not get your very own Dr.Martens’ unique products.
An “ukioe” item now comes with the “Tokyo Midtown Award’s” award product – a sake gift
18.October.2017 | FOOD
Tokyo Midtown has been holding an art and design competition titled, “Tokyo Midtown Award” starting from 2008 with the aim of “promoting JAPAN VALUE.”
In this competition, a lot of design ideas are collected and some winning works can be commercialized. This time, the winning work in 2015, 「Ukiyoe puchipuchi」will be commercialized. To date, a total of 16 works have been turned into events or commercialized products.
Ukiyoe puchi puchi(R) won the semi-grand prix from among 1,316 entries in the design competition held with the theme of “hospitality” in 2015.
In the begging of 20th century, Japanese people surprised Europeans by exporting ceramics using cushioning material that had “ukioe” designs on them.
This is a product where ukiyoe has been printed on bubble cushioning material. It is perfect for the wrapping of alcohol bottles.
“Omedetai paper cup” received the Good Design Award in 2017. It was commercialized in March of this year.
Check out the following URL to see other commercialized items. http://www.tokyomidtown.com/jp/award/design/product.html
Also check out the following URL to see Tokyo Midtown Award 2017 selection results for the art and design awards. http://www.tokyo-midtown.com/jp/award/
Stay tuned for the next commercialized items!
Oh you fancy, huh?
Normally the meal of choice for hard-up college students, salarymen who’ve blown through their weekly food allowance, and late night boozers with poor impulse control, the original high-salt, low-cost instant noodle phenomenon Cup Noodle launched a new line of “luxury” flavors last year to appeal to—presumably—more discerning palates.
We scoffed a bit at the time, but the new flavors proved to be a spectacular hit, selling about 14 million cups to date. Unsurprisingly, the company has decided to expand the series, and this week, they announced the latest flavor: rich abalone and oyster stew.
Available nationwide on April 24, the new flavor boasts the freeze-dried noodles you know and love in a “thick, rich oyster sauce-based soup flavored with abalone soy sauce, topped with abalone-seasoned bok choy, king oyster mushrooms, cloud ear mushrooms and red bell peppers.”
Tokyo yakiniku restaurant begins offering halal course meals for Islamic diners
18.April.2017 | FOOD
Japan’s biggest Korean barbecue chain adds two set meals for Muslim meat fans.
Gyu-Kaku is one of Japan’s most popular yakiniku (Korean barbecue) chains, with locations all across the country. However, Gyu-Kaku is also an internationally minded company, having expanded to the U.S., Canada and other parts of Asia as well.
While Gyu-Kaku is yet to reach the Middle East, it is ready to start accommodating Muslim diners at its new branch in Tokyo’s Akasaka neighborhood. When it opens on April 17, the Akasaka Gyu-Kaku will be the first to offer halal course meals, in accordance with Islamic dietary customs.
Appearing on the menu are the 4,500-yen (US$41) Muslim-Friendly Gyukaku Course, and the more upscale 6,500-yen Muslim-Friendly Wagyu Course. Both feature a variety of vegetable and meat dishes, but neither contain nor are prepared with any sort of pork products/extracts or alcohol.
In keeping with halal principles, the cooking and eating utensils involved are used exclusively for the Muslim-friendly course meals, and bear a mark of certification from Islamic Center Japan.
▼ Even the dipping sauce containers and drinking vessels are halal-certified.
▼ The dishes, glasses, and cookware for the halal meal are also hand-washed separately from those used for Gyu-Kaku’s non-halal meals.
We stopped by the restaurant for a pre-opening taste test of the Muslim-Friendly Wagyu Course, which includes beef, chicken, and seafood.
The first order of business was to compare the flavor of Gyu-Kaku’s standard dipping sauce, made with mirin (a sweet cooking rice wine that’s extremely common in Japanese cooking), to the halal sauce which uses sugar instead.
▼ Standard sauce on left, halal sauce on right
We’re extremely familiar with Gyu-Kaku’s sauce, having eating at the chain dozens of times. And yet, we honestly couldn’t tell the difference, as the halal version tastes just like the original.
Next up: kimchi.
▼ Standard on left, halal on right
Again, the two versions’ flavors were remarkably similar. If we had to make a distinction, we’d say the halal version was just a touch spicier, but we only noticed that because we we’re eating them at the same time. Had we just walked into a Japanese yakiniku restaurant and been given Gyu-Kaku’s halal kimchi without knowing about its special status, we would have simply thought we were eating ordinary, extremely tasty kimchi.
PABLO’s mouthwatering matcha cheese tart is back again for a limited time
17.April.2017 | FOOD
It’s back and is looking better than ever!
No one does cheesecakes quite like Osaka-based “fresh-baked cheese tart” chain PABLO. Part of what makes their cheesecakes so special is that they are baked to your desired level of firmness. PABLO founder Masamitsu Sakimoto wanted to produce a cheesecake that could be served with different textures, much like a steak, and from there, the original recipe was created and perfected.
Now, what could make a perfect cheesecake even better? The one thing that makes everything better – matcha green tea. PABLO released their matcha cheese tart for a limited time last year, and now it’s back to grace our taste buds yet again.
The matcha cheesecake will be available from this Saturday, April 15 at PABLO locations across the country, for 1,111 yen (US$10.20) per 15-centimeter (six-inch) tart.
The batter is thoroughly infused with just the right amount of aromatic Uji matcha powder, from the Uji area of Kyoto. Inside is plenty of tsubuan red bean paste and shiratama rice flour dumplings. The combination of slightly sweet red beans and rice flour dumplings with the bitterness of matcha gives the tart a uniquely Japanese flavor.