Author Archives

Video: Siberian tiger ‘escapes’ from Tokyo zoo

23 Feb 2011

A person disguised as a Siberian tiger ran wild through Tokyo's Tama Zoo yesterday in an exercise to prepare zookeepers for dangerous situations involving escaped animals.

+ Video

Yesterday's dramatic simulation involved a Siberian tiger that escaped its pen following an earthquake. The mock animal wandered freely through the park, attacking zoo workers and visitors before it was surrounded with nets, shot with a tranquilizer dart, and transported back to its cage.

Theatrical exercises involving people in animal costumes are conducted each year in Tokyo at either Tama Zoo or Ueno Zoo. In addition to providing hands-on experience with capturing escaped animals, the drills force zookeepers to administer first aid, usher visitors to safety, and coordinate with local emergency services. Here are a few videos of past exercises.

+ Rhinoceros - Ueno Zoo, 2004

+ Polar bear - Ueno Zoo, 2002

+ Orangutan - Tama Zoo, 2007

+ Tiger - Ueno Zoo, 2010

+ Zebra - Ueno Zoo, 2008

Japanese graphic design from the 1920s-30s

15 Feb 2011

In the 1920s and 1930s, Japan embraced new forms of graphic design as waves of social change swept across the nation. This collection of 50 posters, magazine covers and advertisements offer a glimpse at some of the prevailing tendencies in a society transformed by the growth of modern industry and technology, the popularity of Western art and culture, and the emergence of leftist political thought.

Modernist Japanese poster --
"Buy Domestic!" poster, 1930 [+]

Modernist Japanese poster --
Cover of "Nippon" magazine issue #1, Oct 1934 [+]

Modernist Japanese magazine cover --
"Fuji Weekly" cover, Oct 1930 [+]

Modernist Japanese poster -- Modernist Japanese poster --
Poster for Japan's first national census, 1920 [+] // "Health for body and country" poster, c. 1930 [+]

Modernist Japanese poster --
Grand Nagoya Festival poster by Kenkichi Sugimoto, 1933 [+]

Modernist Japanese poster --
Kyoto Grand Exposition to Commemorate the Showa Imperial Coronation, 1928 [+]

Modernist Japanese poster --
Poster design by Shujiro Shimomura, 1928 [+]

Modernist Japanese magazine cover --
"NAPF" (Nippona Artista Proleta Federacio) magazine cover, Feb 1931 [+]

See more Japanese graphic design from the 1920s-30s »

Video: Slow-motion running in Cambodia

10 Feb 2011

Video director Sou Otsuki has released a new version of his video for the song "Luv(sic) pt.2" by Nujabes with Shing02, featuring a variety of people running ludicrously in slow motion. The new version was shot in Cambodia and stars a few courageous amputees and exploding landmines.

+ Video

Here is the original version shot in Japan (and a link to the lyrics).

+ Video

Photos: ‘Snow monsters’ of Japan

04 Feb 2011

Ghostly trees covered in snow and rime ice -- known as "snow monsters" or juhyou (frost-covered trees) in Japanese -- are a celebrated feature of the winter landscape in mountainous areas of northern Japan. Here are a few photos.

Snow monster --
Hakkōda Mountains, Aomori prefecture [via]

Snow monsters --
Hakkōda Mountains, Aomori prefecture [via]

Ice monster --
Mt. Moriyoshi, Akita prefecture [via]

Snow monster --
Hakkōda Mountains, Aomori prefecture [via]

Ice monster --
Mt. Zao, Yamagata prefecture [via]

Trees covered in rime ice --
Mt. Moriyoshi, Akita prefecture [via]

See more photos of Japanese "snow monsters" »

Video: GAL-O Sengen

02 Feb 2011

Tokyo hip hop artists Policeman pay irreverent tribute to the gyaruo youth subculture in a funky animated video for "GAL-O Sengen," a track from their "Keisatsu" album due out later this month. Directed by AC-Bu.

+ Video

Paintings by Alex Gross

31 Jan 2011

A dreamlike mix of retro Japanese-style visuals, Victorian imagery and consumer culture iconography is found in the oil paintings of California-based artist Alex Gross.

Paintings by Alex Gross --
Koshimaki-Osen, 2003

Paintings by Alex Gross --
The Sugar Sickness, 2001

Paintings by Alex Gross --
Ice Cream Cone (Despair), 2007

Paintings by Alex Gross --
Mammon, 2010

Paintings by Alex Gross --
Lanvin (Paris), 2010

See more paintings by Alex Gross »

Video: Kirishima volcano eruption

27 Jan 2011

+ Video

Shinmoe peak (Shinmoe-dake), part of the Kirishima volcano group in southern Kyushu, began erupting yesterday (Jan 26) in dramatic fashion. The eruption, thought to be the largest at Kirishima since 1959, sent a plume of ash 1,500 meters into the air, prompting the Japan Meteorological Agency to issue a Level 3 volcano warning for the surrounding area. This spectacular footage of the eruption was captured by an observer in the area.

+ Video

Last night's action was also captured on a webcam at Kirishima [click "霧島山 猪子石(新燃岳)" in the menu on the right to display the latest image], and the still images were pieced together into a time-lapse video.

+ Video

Cute antique Japanese postcards

25 Jan 2011

Here is an assortment of playful Japanese postcards from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, found in a recent book by collector Hiroki Hayashi entitled "Antique Cute Post Cards in Japan" (Nippon no kawaii ehagaki).

Vintage Japanese postcards --
Betty Boop (Yamaguchi Seikyokudo Co., Ltd. - c. 1930s)

Vintage Japanese postcards --
Betty Boop (1937)

Vintage Japanese postcards --
Betty Boop, Mickey and Minnie (1936)

Vintage Japanese postcards --
Mickey (c. 1920s-40s)

Vintage Japanese postcards --
Kewpie Mayonnaise ad (1932)

See more cute antique Japanese postcards »

Illustrated anatomy of Gamera and foes

21 Jan 2011

The anatomical features of Gamera and his foes are detailed in a set of illustrations found in one volume of the Kaijū-Kaijin Daizenshū movie monster book series published by Keibunsha in 1972.

Gamera anatomical illustration --

Gamera's features include infrared eyes with night vision, arms that can lift 50,000 tons, an organ for producing the flames he shoots from his hands, electrical spikes on his back, poison claws, sac-like organs for storing lava, coal, oil and uranium, balloon-like organs that blast jets of air out through the feet, and a tail of elastic cartilage that can deliver a powerful punch.

Guiron anatomical illustration --

Guiron's most prominent feature is his knife-shaped head, which is 100 times harder than diamond and is packed with shuriken-like stars that can be fired from a pair of openings above the eyes. The creature has 360-degree radar vision, 60 times more teeth than a piranha, lungs adapted for long-distance space travel, sac-like organs for storing energy and uranium, balloon-like organs in the legs that blast jets of liquid through the feet, webbed fins for stability in water, and magnetic suction cups on the hands.

Baragon anatomical illustration --

Barugon's features include dorsal spikes that produce a deadly rainbow ray, an organ to produce frosty liquid (-100 degree Celsius) that can be shot from his 30-meter-long weaponized tongue, a stomach that can digest diamonds (his favorite food), and radar horns atop his head.

Viras anatomical illustration --

Viras's features include a spike-shaped head capable of piercing through a meter of steel, a brain with an IQ of 2500, organs for producing a force field and controlling the minds of others, tentacles that are 10,000 times stronger than an elephant's trunk and which can emit powerful beams for space travel, and organs to break down cell tissue and control metamorphosis (for creating its human disguise).

Jiger anatomical illustration --

Jiger's features include a pair of horns that shoot missiles made of hardened saliva and one that fires a deadly "magnetium" beam, powerful suction cups covering her entire body, an organ for shooting jets of seawater at 300 kilometers per hour, a stomach that can melt iron ore, and an ovipositor tail.

[Via: Tokusatsu Figure-kan]