Asia Society art exhibition: “Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan”

Nyoirin Kannon. Kamakura period, early 14th century. Japanese cypress (hinoki) with pigment, gold powder, and cut gold leaf (kirikane). H. 19 1/2 x W. 15 x D. 12 in. (49.5 x 38.1 x 30.5 cm). Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Asia Society/Wall Street Journal:

Last week, the Wall Street Journal featured Asia Society‘s upcoming Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan exhibition as one of several ways to “travel the world” and absorb international culture without ever leaving New York:

This exhibition links artistic style to spiritual practice. As religious trends of the time brought worshipers closer to their deities, sculptors pursued innovations in woodwork, carving expressive, humanlike forms that were intended to “come alive” during public ritual and private devotion. The show features a stellar lineup of figures, mostly carved in cypress and adorned with gilding and lacquer. Look for the miniature Buddha figures and sutra text, fascinating examples of tiny items that artists left embedded in hollow spaces to empower their figures from within.

The Kamakura exhibition begins on February 9 and goes through May 8.

Click here for more information about the exhibit.

Tokyo University of the Arts students create giant artwork of an octopus attacking a temple

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RocketNews 24:

Tokyo University of the Arts, a school founded in 1949 through the combination of a music and fine arts school, is one of the most popular art schools in Japan. It has produced a host of famous alumni, including numerous artists, directors, musicians, and designers, so it’s not entirely surprising to see the university making headlines.

But one of the pieces created for this year’s art festival is nothing short of amazing!This massive work of art, which features a giant octopus wrapped around a Greek-style temple, has captured the attention of people across Japan. Now that the festival is over, though, the students are asking if anyone wants to buy it! If you’ve ever wanted a piece of art to decorate your entire front lawn, hurry because supplies are definitely limited.

It looks like the piece is still available, so head over to their Twitter page if you’re interested.

Giant Gundam headed for Hong Kong

Unicorn Gundam

RocketNews 24 (by Aleisha Riboldi):

Citizens of Hong Kong, brace yourself. An exciting Gundam exhibition is headed your way. This summer, as part of a month-long exhibition in Hong Kong, a giant  Gundam statue – something not usually seen outside of Japan’s Odaiba Bay in Tokyo – will be on display.

This isn’t the first time that Hong Kong has hosted a Gundam display; two years ago, there was an exhibit featuring a stand-off between an RX-78 Gundam statue and a Char’s Zaku statue. This time around, the exhibition will feature several giant displays including a 1:3 scale statue of an RX-0 Unicorn Gundam suspended Wing Gundam, a three-metre (approx. 10-foot) wide S-06F Zaku II head, and two-metre (6.5 foot) tall Gundam Build Fighters TRY statues.

Gundam build fighters

Gundam suspended

According to the Gundam Global Portal Facebook page, there will also be the chance to meet director Kazuhiro Furuhashi and voice actor Koki Uchiyama from the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam UC. In addition, there will be lots of limited-edition model kits and items as well as a display of Hajime Katoki’s Gundam art which has never been exhibited outside of Japan.

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Occupying Hong Kong’s Time Square, the exhibit will no doubt be hard to miss. The event, titled “Gundam docks at Hong Kong II“, will only be on exhibit for a limited time running from August 1-31.

Statue of Mahatma Gandhi unveiled in London’s Parliament Square

India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled the statue in Parliament Square


The unveiling of the 9ft (2.7m) bronze statue marks 100 years since Gandhi returned to India from South Africa to begin his struggle for independence.

The Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust raised more than £1m for the work which was described as a “magnificent tribute”.

The statue was unveiled by Indian finance minister, Shri Arun Jaitley, in a ceremony which also involved Gandhi’s grandson, Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Prime Minister David CameronPrime Minister David Cameron spoke at the unveiling of the statue which he called a “magnificent tribute”

British sculptor, Philip Jackson, was commissioned to create the work with his previous pieces including statues of the Queen Mother and Bomber Command. He said he was inspired by photographs of the civil rights leader outside 10 Downing Street on a visit in 1931.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This statue is a magnificent tribute to one of the most towering figures in the history of world politics and by putting Mahatma Gandhi in this famous square we are giving him an eternal home in our country.”

Gandhi was known for his use of non-violent protest and undertook various hunger strikes to protest against the oppression of India’s poorest classes.

CT scan of 1,000-year-old Buddha statue reveals mummified monk hidden inside



What looks like a traditional statue of Buddha dating back to the 11th or 12th century was recently revealed to be quite a bit more. A CT scan and endoscopy carried out by the Netherlands-based Drents Museum at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, showed the ancient reliquary fully encases the mummified remains of a Buddhist master known as Liuquan of the Chinese Meditation School.

While it was known beforehand the remains of a person were inside, another startling discovery was made during the scan: where the organs had been removed prior to mummification, researches discovered rolls of paper scraps covered in Chinese writing.

The Liuquan mummy has since been transported to Hungary where it will be on view at the Hungarian Natural History Museum through May of 2015.


Hachiko, Japan’s most loyal dog, finally reunited with owner in heartwarming new statue in Tokyo

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RocketNews 24:

Even in a country that adores its pets, none have captured the hearts of Japanese animal-lovers like Hachiko. The Akita dog touched the hearts of people across the nation by devotedly waiting every day for more than nine years in front of Tokyo’s Shibuya Station for his master to return from work, not knowing that he had died from a cerebral hemorrhage and wouldn’t be coming back.

Today, a statue of Hachiko stands in Shibuya, showing the dog patiently waiting. But while the bittersweet quality of the story made Hachiko famous, it overlooks the fact that before his master’s passing, the two would happily reunite every evening and walk home together. Now, it’s that moment’s turn to be immortalized, with a new statue showing Hachiko as he’s rarely been depicted before, bursting with joy upon seeing his owner.

While Hachiko is arguably the more famous of the two, his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, also contributed greatly to Japanese society. Ueno was a professor at the University of Tokyo (then called Tokyo Imperial University) for over 20 years, and a celebrated scholar in the field of agricultural engineering. As a matter of fact, it was during one of his lectures in 1925 that Ueno collapsed and passed away.

▼ A bust of Ueno at the University of Tokyo

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This year marks the 90th anniversary of Ueno’s death, and also the 80th of Hackiho’s passing. In memoriam, the University of Tokyo’s agriculture department has erected a bronze statue of man and dog on its campus, together at last.

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The heartwarming scene has had a powerful effect on online commenters in Japan.

“I’m so happy for you, Hachiko.”
“I already cried when I saw the 1987 Hachiko movie. I didn’t think this would make me cry again, but it sure does…”
“So moving.”
“What’s the big idea, making me cry like this?”

We have to agree. After waiting almost 100 years, it’s hard not to get a little choked up at Ueno and Hachiko’s reunion.

Limited Edt (Singapore) x Jahan Loh “Full Metal Twenty Three” Life Size Sculpture

Giant statue built into station in northern Japan is historical, terrifying, and awesome

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RocketNews 24:

The major train stations in urban Japan almost seem like small cities, packed with restaurants, hotels, and shopping space. Things are usually pretty different out in the countryside, though, where many rail stops are little more than an awning with a short bench to sit on while you wait for the trains to roll in.

We say rural stations are “usually” simple, though, because in one town up north in Aomori Prefecture, you’ll find a station guarded by what looks like a massive alien.

Actually, the inspiration for Kizukuri Station’s unique facade didn’t come from outer space, but from below the earth. Archeological digs in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region sometimes turn up clay figures called dogu. While their is unknown, their cultural value is unmistakable, as most were crafted some 2,500 years ago. The town of Tsugaru, where Kizukuri Station is located, was the site where one particularly pristine example, the Shakoji Dogu, was found in 1887.

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Like so many other figures that achieve fame, though, the Shakoji Dogu made its way to the capital, and is now housed in the Tokyo National Museum. Tsugaru does still have a replica in its Karuko Archeological Hall, but given that it’s a modern recreation, the most famous dogu in town is now the gigantic 17-meter (56-foot) example built into the wall of Kizukuri Station.

Built at a rumored cost of some 100 million yen (US$870,000), the concrete figure has been nicknamed Shako-chan. The designers did a through job adding the intricate and authentic textured patterns to Shako-chan’s arms and body, and the giant’s lack of a left leg matches the condition in which the Shakoji Dogu was unearthed.

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Historically accurate and relevant as he may be, though, Shako-chan wasn’t exactly a hit when he was first completed. Particularly after the sun goes down, the statue takes on a certain ominous aura, as evidenced by comments online about passersby’s nocturnal encounter with the town mascot.

Believe it or not, Shako-chan used to have an even more dramatic appearance. Initially, when trains would arrive at or depart from Kizukuri Station, its eyes would flash and glow red as part of something dubbed the “Welcome Beam.” This proved to be more effective at driving people away than beckoning them into town, though, and after complaints that the Welcome Beam was frightening small children, the performances were stopped.

But as we’ve seen before, sometimes the line between creepy and cute is a fine one in Japan. Since his less than illustrious debut, Shako-chan has been featured by various media outlets, and is actually seeing his popularity gradually build up towards planners’ original hopes and expectations. Local sentiment is starting to swing away from embarrassed terror towards acceptance and even pride, with one Twitter saying he feels more secure with Shako-chan “watching over the street in front of the station.”



Giant Marilyn Monroe is now face-down in a dump in China


Giant Marilyn Monroe

RocketNews 24:


An 8-ton statue of Marilyn Monroe has been unceremoniously deposited in a dump in southern China, putting the American beauty in a hilariously bizarre position.

Giant Marilyn was once seen towering over visitors to Guigang Prefecture’s “Chinatown.” Here she is smiling as she tries to keep her billowing white dress from blowing skyward.


Marilyn Monroe4

Marilyn Monroe5


The 8.18 meter tall statue has been criticized for its resemblance to artist Seward Johnson’s “Forever Marilyn” statue, depicting the actress in an almost identical pose from her iconic film, The Seven Year Itch.

But as it turns out, China’s Giant Marilyn is no longer being viewed by the public. She was recently taken down and moved to a far less glamorous location.


▼ She’s so huge, heavy machinery was brought in to tame the woman in white.Marilyn Monroe7

Marilyn Monroe8


Standing on her two feet, high above the crowds, Giant Marilyn looks quite classy despite her enlarged stature. However, she begins to take on a uncharacteristically comical appearance once she’s been lowered and laid horizontally just before being shipped off to her final resting place at a dump in Guigang Prefecture.

We realize she’d be very difficult to ship standing up, but you would think they would give Giant Marilyn the dignity of propping her upright once she reached her unglamorous destination.


▼ No such luck.Giant Marilyn Monroe


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Poor Giant Marilyn. At least she can still smile with her face nestled in a pile of trash.


Check out this link:


Giant Marilyn Monroe is now face-down in a dump in China


Spider-Man sculpture installation at Korean shopping center has an erection. Pisses people off


Korean Spider-Man Has an Erection, Pisses People Off


Oh hey, it’s your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Your very, very friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Since last year, Lotte Shopping Center in Busan, South Korea has been home to a Spider-Man sculpture by an artist Eunsuk Yoo. It’s a rather unusual, somewhat amusing sculpture as Spider-Man has a boner.

As pointed out by tipster Sang, the image has gone viral online in South Korea recently as complaints got bigger regarding the piece. The artist was told to either take the statue down or modify it (lose the woody, I guess). Instead of compromising his vision, Yoo decided to have his sculpture taken down.

On his Facebook page, the artist provided his reasons why (translation via Sang):

I am the artist who made this piece. My reason for it was that I wanted apply the natural physical phenomenon to a superhero depict whats’s natural in the morning without lies and superficial-ness in a comical way.

There have been some comments on various community sites and Facebook pages that this is lewd and a disgrace to the source material. Lotte Shopping Center has received many complaint calls this morning from a certain organization, and after their meeting, it was decided that I have to either modify or take the statue down. Instead of modifying my work, I’ve decided to take it down.

It was ok for about a year and now it has to be taken down due a sudden interest in the piece, which is sad. But I understand that a piece that could be potentially interpreted as lewd can be offensive at a place like shopping mall. It’s disappointing, but I’ll reach out to the public with a better work next time.


Think he’s too hard on himself? Also, maybe pick a better place next time? While the sculpture probably counts as parody, I wonder if Lotte ran it by Marvel first? Or even, notice the boner?


Check out this link:


Spider-Man sculpture installation at Korean shopping center has an erection. Pisses people off

Korean Spider-Man Has an Erection, Pisses People Off

Korean Spider-Man Has an Erection, Pisses People Off

Korean Spider-Man Has an Erection, Pisses People Off

Korean Spider-Man Has an Erection, Pisses People Off

Korean Spider-Man Has an Erection, Pisses People Off

Korean Spider-Man Has an Erection, Pisses People Off

Korean Spider-Man Has an Erection, Pisses People Off