‘átoa,’ Part Art Museum and Part Aquarium, Opening in Kobe
12.August.2021 | SPOT
Blending living creatures with art, átoa, a new urban aquarium, will open in Kobe’s Shinkocho on October 29, 2021. New images have just been revealed, and we now have an idea of what the interior will look like!
‘átoa’ comes from a combination of the words ‘aquarium’ and ‘art,’ and as the name suggests, the space will blend over 100 pieces of digital and performance art with 3,000 ocean creatures to provide a never-before-seen experience.
The exterior of the Kobe Port Museum looks like a contemporary art gallery
The stairway leads guests to a cave entrance, making the visit feel more like an adventure
‘MARIN NOTE – The Movement of Life’ embodies underwater life
‘ELEMENTS – The Forest of Spirits’ welcomes you to a foggy sea of trees
Light cutout show by famed cutout artist Atsumi Sakai
A mysterious walk through a traditional Japanese garden
‘PLANETS,’ a journey through the darkness of outer space and the deep sea
Food & drink offerings worthy of posting on social media
A spectacular view of the Kobe Bay area
átoa original products on sale
Rokko, the land on which Kobe City sits, is said to have been formed over one million years ago by the upheaval of the Earth and consistent water erosion. The Kobe Port Museum (KPM), where átoa is located, has long attracted visitors with its unique exterior, embodying the ancient origins of the surrounding lands.
átoa will be divided into eight different zones, each with its own theme and distinctive presentation. Visitors will first enter the ‘Cave of Beginnings,’ where fish-shaped lights reflected on the walls and floor lead you deeper into the space, as if through a kaleidoscope.
After emerging, ‘MARIN NOTE – The Movement of Life,’ a visual embodiment of underwater life, will greet you. The sound and scents of the sea will surround guests, with a cylindrical water tank at the center of the room filled with zebra sharks, spotted garden eels, and many more underwater creatures.
On the second floor, enter ‘ELEMENTS – The Forest of Spirits,’ a foggy sea of trees straight out of a fairy tale. This is where you can find freshwater fish, amphibians, and adorable tree-dwelling animals not typically found in aquariums, like woodchucks! This is another highlight of átoa: you might find more animals you wouldn’t expect!
The third floor houses both ‘MIYABI’ and ‘PLANETS,’ where guests can enjoy a ‘theatrical aquarium experience.’ Discover Atsumi Sakai’s famed cutout art in the ‘MIYABI’ area, meant to simulate a Japanese garden. Enjoy the magical experience of fish swimming just beneath your feet as you stroll along a glass-covered floor.
The ‘PLANETS’ area houses AQUA TERRA, one of Japan’s largest spherical water tanks, with a diameter of 3 meters. Guests are welcome to ponder the vastness of both outer space and the deepest stretches of the sea. The area is bathed in the light of countless stars thanks to optical fibers embedded in the floor, while mist will continuously pour from above.
Housed on the fourth floor, an outdoor exhibit, the ‘SKYSHORE Sky Garden,’ will soothe your soul as you play with only the most adorable marine life, from penguins to otters. This is also where visitors can enjoy the átoa cafe, offering a lineup of Instagram-worthy food and drink.
The observation deck ‘ROOF TOP’ also provides a breathtaking view of Kobe. Whether you visit during day or night, take in the views of Kobe Harborland and Meriken Park to your heart’s content. A full museum shop will be stocked with adorable plushies and other original products.
Address: 7-2, Shinkocho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo
Open Date: October 29, 2021
Hours: 10:00-21:00 (Open Every Day)
Official Site: https://atoa-kobe.jp
NAKED’s Projection Mapping Show at Tokyo Tower Illuminates the City at Night
26.May.2022 | SPOT
Digital art collective NAKED has announced a new projection mapping show taking place at Tokyo Tower starting May 24! Welcome summer with the ‘Tokyo Tower City Light Fantasia ~Summer Landscape 2022~ event on the second floor of the 150-meter-high main deck of the classic landmark.
In 2019, the company introduced the ‘Tokyo Tower City Light Fantasia ~Cool Japanese Summer~ event, which has now been upgraded to a new version. Guests will now be treated to a colorful show highlighting the transition of the seasons in Japan from the rainy season to early summer to midsummer, filled with hydrangeas, sunflowers, and fireworks. Colorful flowers bloom in the rain giving way to a bright summer day complete with the sound of cicadas and bright white clouds in the sky. After the sun sets over the sunflower fields, fireworks light up the Tokyo sky.
The ‘Tokyo Tower City Light Fantasia’ nightscape event was planned, directed, and produced by NAKED, and began in 2014. By combining the night view from the observatory with projection mapping, guests can experience something one-of-a-kind.
Following the original launch of the event, it has traveled to towers and observatories around Japan including Abeno Harukas and the Nagoya TV Tower, playing off the particular characteristics of each locale.
This event isn’t the only thing going on at Tokyo Tower this summer. Guests can also enjoy the DANDELION PROJECT by NAKED and Ryotaro Muramatsu in the northwest section of the second floor of Tokyo Tower’s main deck. The project is based on the concept of world peace and harmony and was unveiled at Miyashita Park, Tokyo Tower, Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, and Nijo Castle in Kyoto in 2020. The networked art project invites guests to send their wishes for world peace on digital dandelion fluff to other locations where DANDELIONs are planted around the world, and these messages are delivered in real-time.
Come enjoy this incredible night view while you can!
CITY LIGHT FANTASIA ~Eternal Lights in TOKYO~
Venue: Tokyo Tower Main Deck (Height: 150m) 2F Facing North
Running: May 24 – September 4, 2022
May 24 – June 5, 19:00 – Close
June 6 – July 18, 19:30 – Close
July 19 – August 21, 19:00 – Close
August 22 – September 4, 18:30 – Close
Fee: The event is included in the price of observation deck admission.
Official Site: https://naked.co.jp
Sumida Aquarium to Introduce New Baby Penguins in Late June
23.May.2022 | SPOT
Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium welcomed three new baby Magellanic penguins on April 14! This marks the 10th year in a row that the location has seen new baby penguins born.
Magellanic penguins start their breeding season in March each year, finishing in May. The first baby born this year, Daifuku, hatched on April 14, becoming Sumida Aquarium’s first second-generation penguin. Komari hatched on April 20 and Shiratama hatched on April 30.
The penguins were given names signifying good luck and joy. Komari and Shiratama both evoke images of ‘circles’ in Japanese, with the aquarium hoping that the penguins will sever as a link to guests.
All three babies will make their public debut towards the end of June in the designated penguin pool. The Sumida Aquarium Twitter feed will provide updates about how the babies are progressing, so be sure to keep an eye out!
10th Anniversary Celebrations: May 22 – December 31, 2022
Special Site: https://www.sumida-aquarium.com/10th/
Limited Edition Sake Released Alongside NFT Art to Share the Value of Japanese Spirits with the World
Two incredible new Junmai Daiginjo bottles, the highest-quality sake, have been released in limited quantities. Hitou ASCENDING and Touka ILLUMINATING were made by sustainable means and incorporate NFT art to share the process of sake creation with the world.
While sake companies keep traditional Japanese production methods alive, some are seeking to solve problems in the sake industry by turning to current technology, like the blockchain and NFTs. In this age of convenience and automation, this particular sake maker is aiming to show the true value and authenticity of Japanese craftsmanship to the rest of the world.
Certain types of sake can only be made and enjoyed at certain times of the year, as they are not suitable for storage at room temperature and can only be consumed for a brief period to get the best taste. Many sake fans around the world might not be aware of this, so the new NFT collaboration aims to educate!
The bottles contain unique ukiyo-e NFT art prints of a dragon and phoenix on the bottle, respectively. Those who purchase a bottle will also find the year of production and bottle number etched onto the glass with lacquer. Be sure to keep the bottle even after the delicious sake is gone!
Rice / Tobe Rice
In Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, farmers have been cultivating this unique brand of Koshihikari rice without the help of pesticides or fertilizers for over two decades. The rice is called the best in all of Japan, and one-third of its yield is used to make sake.
Water / Pure Groundwater
The Japan Median Tectonic Line, also known as the ‘Dragon’s Vein,’ is a massive fault line that is home to numerous sacred sites, including Suwa Grand Shrine, Toyokawa Inari Shrine, Tenkawa Benzaiten Shrine, Ise Grand Shrine, and the Koyasan Mountain. The groundwater found here is some of the purest found in Japan and flows from the Bungui Pass in Ina, Nagano Prefecture. The pass has been featured in many publications as one of the most famous power spots in Japan.
Brewing / Ono Brewery
While dealing with some of the harshest winter weather in Japan, the brewery has continued to create sake the old-fashioned way–with human hands. For the creation of these two bottles, the brewers took on the challenge of making a very small amount of sake, something they had never done before. Based on the concept of “making the most of the environment,” the rice was prepared in a special room with no air conditioning under the watchful eye of the master brewer.
Bottle Art/ Ukiyo-e Artist, Shun
The art displayed on the bottle is printed in a unique way, allowing it to be put on display separately. The Japanese-style art is perfect for the collaboration and was inspired by one specific hope: that a new path will open to those who work hard after the many difficulties and troubles caused by the pandemic.
Bottle Making / Maruyoshi Kosaka Wood & Urushi Works
The circular label symbolizes the moon (water) and the sun (fire), each representing a world where different values are not only accepted but welcomed. Hand-painted and made with pure platinum and gold leaf by the talented craftsman at Maruyoshi Kosaka Wood & Urushi Works in Shiojiri, Nagano, these advanced painting techniques are sure to impress.
Each Bottle Features the Brewing Year, Number Printed in Lacquer
Marked with a unique serial number, all proceeds from the sales of these special sakes will be used to maintain and promote sustainable agriculture, support sake brewers, and bring traditional Japanese craftsmanship to the world.
Junmai Daiginjo – ‘Hitou ASCENDING,’ ‘Touka ILLUMINATING’
Official Site: https://hitoutouka.com/
Nakamura Keith Haring Collection Holds 15th Anniversary Exhibition, ‘Chaos and Hope’
The Nakamura Keith Haring Collection in Yamanashi Prefecture will be holding a celebratory exhibition in honor of the location’s 15th anniversary from May 14, 2022 until May 7, 2023.
In April 2007, the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection opened in Kobuchisawa, located at the foot of Mt. Yatsugatake. The only museum in the world dedicated entirely to New York-based artist Keith Haring, Kazuo Nakamura collected the works and acts as the director of the museum. Over 300 works of art are on display along with 500 other pieces, from photographs and videos to merchandise. The new exhibition features approximately 150 works.
Three Lithographs (People Ladder), 1985
Icons (Radiant Baby), 1990
Untitled (Subway Drawing), 1981-1983
The ‘Chaos and Hope’ exhibition was originally held during the museum’s first year of operation and looks back at Haring’s first experiences in New York City in 1978. The artist was present at the dawn of the hip-hop movement and was struck by the clash between typical white art and underground minority artists. In only five years, Haring rose to stardom. Sadly, while traveling the world, he contracted AIDS, passing away at the age of 31. Behind the bright and cheerful artwork he left behind, he hid his inner suffering and desire for hope and freedom.
All Keith Haring Artwork ©Keith Haring Foundation
Courtesy of Nakamura Keith Haring Collection.
Nakamura Keith Haring Collection 15th Anniversary: Chaos and Hope
Venue: Nakamura Keith Haring Collection
Running: May 14, 2022 – May 7, 2023
Official Site: https://www.nakamura-haring.com
teamLab Opens 8th Annual Art Exhibition at Mifuneyama Rakuen in Saga Prefecture
From July 15 until November 6, 2022, the ‘teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live’ exhibition at Mifuneyama Rakuen, an ancient forest at the Takeo Hot Springs in Saga Prefecture. The massive event is held each summer and fall and was named CNN World’s ‘Best Outdoor Art Exhibition to Visit’ in 2021 and one of the Top 10 Art Installations in the world by DesignboomMagazine in 2017.
Works on Display
Universe of Water Particles on a Sacred Rock, 2017
Drawing on the Water Surface Created by the Dance of Koi and Boats – Mifuneyama Rakuen Pond, 2015
Ever Blossoming Life Rock, 2017
Life is Continuous Light – Azalea Valley, 2017
Rock Wall Spatial Calligraphy, Continuous Life – Five Hundred Arhats, 2017
Split Rock and Enso, 2017
Resonating Forest – Cherry Blossoms and Maple, 2017
Megaliths in the Bath House Ruins, 2019
Graffiti Nature – Living in the Ruins of a Bathhouse, Red List, 2017-
Resonating Forest in the Ravine, 2019
Abstract and Concrete – Forest Entrance, 2018
Flowers Bloom in an Infinite Universe inside a Teacup, 2016
Forest and Spiral of Resonating Lamps in the Forest – One Stroke, Summer Forest, 2018
Mifuneyama is said to have risen from the Ariake Sea 3 million years ago. The 500,000 square meter Mifuneyama Rakuen Park was created in 1845, at the end of the Edo period. The park is home to megaliths, caves, and forests that have been slowly shaped over thousands of years. teamLab believes that the shapes and textures of these objects are important, serving as traces of ancient people and natural changes over time. The concept of the project is that non-material digital technology can turn nature into art without harming it.
The creative team will be holding a number of other high-profile exhibitions this year, including installations in Paris, Tallinn, Shanghai, and Geneva. Their sauna collaboration with TikTok for teamLab Reconnect in Roppongi made huge waves in 2021–guests would take alternating hot and cold baths to experience intense physical sensations while surrounded by digital art.
teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live
Running: July 15 – November 6, 2022
Location: Mifuneyama Rakuen (4100 Takeo, Takeocho Oaza Takeo, Takeo City, Saga)
Official Site: https://www.teamlab.art/jp/e/mifuneyamarakuen/
Fendi and Harajuku Omotesando Keyaki-kai Collaborate on #FendiTsunaguOmotesando Art Project
Italian luxury fashion brand Fendi has teamed up with Harajuku Omotesando Keyaki-kai on a new street art project! ‘TSUNAGU – Omotesando Street Art Project’ was unveiled on April 29, 2022.
The project, which aims to improve the city’s scenery and share positive messages, is on display in Omotesando, a popular area with young people. The canvas is the formal site of the Oriental Bazaar, an iconic part of Omotesando for over four decades. Under the theme of ‘hope,’ three young artists will be displaying their artwork in a massive temporary enclosure on the site. Hopefully, Japan really will open tourism soon so that guests from around the world can enjoy these inspiring pieces!
The first piece of art was unveiled on April 29 and was drawn by Dai Tamura, a young Japanese artist who has attracted worldwide attention after becoming an illustrator for the NBA. The dynamic and powerful compositions vividly depict endangered animals and plants alongside delicate flowers to symbolize hope for the futures of these beautiful creatures.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the next installation coming soon!
TSUNAGU – Omotesando Street Art Project
Location: Oriental Bazaar Former Site
Address: 5-9-13 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Official Site: http://www.fendi.com
Popular illustrator and alcohol ink artist Jiji will release her first artbook in May!
This is the first collection of works by Jiji to be compiled and released. ‘Jiji ILLUSTRATION AND MAKING BOOK’ will include around 110 illustrations, including both past creations and new images made exclusively for the book’s release. The compiled illustrations were made in a variety of ways, including with alcohol ink, fountain pens, and by digital means.
Jiji ILLUSTRATION & MAKING BOOK
Release Date: May 2022
Price: ¥2,530 (Tax Included)
NAKED FLOWER AQUARIUM -Bring You Happiness- Event Opens at Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa
Tokyo’s Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa has opened its seasonal event NAKED FLOWER AQUARIUM -Bring You Happiness- until June 19, 2022.
The aquarium has been continuously developing entertaining exhibits and events based on the beauty of each season. The creative company NAKED uses projection mapping to transform the space with cherry blossoms in spring and fireworks in summer, allowing guests to enjoy a special atmosphere indoors.
Welcome Flower Gate
Floral Café Bar
For spring, the Aqua Park has been decorated with gorgeous flowers and lush greenery. The new event uses state-of-the-art technology to surround visitors with a spectacular view of early summer. Each area of the aquarium was inspired by the subtheme of ‘bringing happiness,’ with seven different Happiness Experiences for guests to enjoy. These experiences offer things like healing sound effects and scents made to calm the mind and offer additional immersion.
The popular dolphin performance has both a day and night show. The day version offers guest participation, in which the dolphins will show off their choreographed moves. The night version was inspired by the early summer sea and uses projection mapping to bring the underwater world to life in a spectacular way.
NAKED FLOWER AQUARIUM-Bring You Happiness-
Venue: Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa
Address: Shinagawa Prince Hotel (4-10-30 Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo)
Official Site: www.aqua-park.jp
HERALBONY GALLERY to Hold 8th Original Exhibition Highlighting Artists with Disabilities
HERALBONY is currently holding its 8th exhibition of original paintings featuring pieces by Kaoru Iga. The art is available to view at the HERALBONY GALLERY in Iwate Prefecture, which showcases creations made by artists with disabilities.
Kaoru Iga’s colorful artwork features unique textures and an abstract worldview. The works featured will be on sale at the gallery and on the official HERALBONY online store.
Iga’s paintings don’t show any specific objects or people, rather focusing on color, shape, and texture. Some pieces are rough, some pieces are gentle, and some utilize various textures or overlapping lines. Together, the works are like a single piece of music consisting of multiple movements.
Iga, who has played the cello for many years and honed his ability to connect with others without words, reminds viewers of the simpler aspects of life on Earth. Each day, we are met with a barrage of information and chatter–what is it like to cut all of that out?
The artists featured at HERALBONY will continue creating in the hopes of finding worldwide recognition.
HERALBONY GALLERY 8th Exhibition ‘The Art of Kaoru Iga’
Artist: Kaoru Iga
Exhibition Open until May 8, 2022
Address: HOMEDLUX Building 4F (2-38 Kaiunbashidori, Morioka, Iwate Prefecture)
HERALBONY Online Store: https://heralbony.com/collections/original-painting
NAKED Collaborates with Uta no Prince-sama Game for Special Art Installation
Creative company NAKED is bringing the world of Uta no Prince-sama to life! From April 16 until April 24, fans will want to come to Ikebukuro Sunshine Plaza to see MAJI LOVE KINGDOM MEMORIES, a sensory photo booth decorated with floral art.
The first Uta no Prince-sama game was released in 2010, with an anime series following in 2011. In 2019, the first Uta no Prince-sama film, Maji LOVE Kingdom, was released.
NAKED’s project mapping and digital art are being used to create unique photo booths where guests can take pictures with their favorite idols as seen in the 2019 film.
Each photo booth was created using a variety of techniques, combining video, sound, scent, and even wind. The flowers included in each booth were inspired by the flowers that members of ST☆RISH, QUARTET NIGHT, and HE★VENS wear on their chests. How often do you get to experience a 3D photo booth with your favorite fictional boys?
Guests can also enjoy a unique AR experience at the venue by using NAKED INC PLAY!
Uta no Prince-sama on Stage: MAJI LOVE KINGDOM MEMORIES
Location: Ikebukuro Sunshine City World Import Building 4F Event Hall A
Running: April 16 – April 24, 2022
Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Last admission 60 minutes prior to closing)
*Open 10:00-17:00 on April 24
Official Site: https://ml-kingdom-memories.com/
Nostalgic and New Neo-Retro Illustrations to be Featured in New Book
14.April.2022 | FASHION
Pie International will release Neo-Retro Illustrations: A Creator’s Guide to Blending the New and Nostalgic on April 22, 2022.
In recent years, blending both nostalgic prints with modern sensibilities has become a popular trend in art, especially among young people. This “retro boom” has become a genre in itself, and this tome compiles some of the most incredible examples of this genre from 40 popular illustrators.
The book contains over 250 pieces of “neo-retro” art, blending past eras with futuristic colors and highlights.
The new book also includes interviews with the featured artists, providing a glimpse into their creative roots and personalities. The cover illustration was done by NAKAKI PANTZ.
AiLeeN / an / itousa / Inata / Inoue Noi / Oliwa / Sawako Kageyama / Kamin / Kisumi Rei / Guugorou / Kano Komori / Natsumi Sato / Michi / Sanho / Haruna Sudo / Soreeeeyu / tabi / Choo / TV♡CHANY / NAKAKI PANTZ / NANCYSNAKE / Nekopota. / noco / hachika / Hana Chatani / Hanabushi / Harawata Chanko / PHI / Catherine Hitachi / HOHOEMI / mawawiz / Mannen Mofuku / Hiro Mizuno / Monyochita Pomichi / Yoko / Rasuku / Rikku / RING / Rorurari / wacca
Art Lifestyle Brand HERALBONY to Collaborate with Clothing Shop SHIPS on New Collection
13.April.2022 | FASHION
HERALBONY will start selling unique new apparel and goods in collaboration with the clothing shop SHIPS starting March 26, 2022.
Title: (Untitled) (Home)
Artist: Kiyoshi Yaegashi
Title: (Untitled) (Circles)
Artist: Sanae Sasaki
Artist: Fumie Shimaoka
Artist: Fujita Nozomi
HERALBONY continues to make a positive impact in the community by incorporating artwork created by those with disabilities into one-of-a-kind fashion items.
The collection includes T-shirts, reusable bags, folding umbrellas, and much more. Items will be sold at SHIP stores nationwide and online.