I love pictures like this, honestly because I think they’re fun to make as well as look at. I know that in America it’s like a scavenger hunt to find animals as depictions. It’s mostly commercial; they’re in logos, as representations and mascots for products and athletic teams, etc. I enjoy this artist’s sentiment about animals’ appearance in Japanese culture rooting from a relationship that is more complex than one might think (how interesting that their “meaning is mainly symbolic”).
From the artist’s statement: They say in Japan that a giant catfish lives under the archipelago, and that his movements are the cause earthquakes. They say in Japan that rabbits live on the Moon, where they pound mochi. They say in Japan that the fox [transforms] into a woman to seduce and lure lost and unlucky [travelers]… These three tales from the Japanese folklore are just a very small part of the very deep relationship between Japanese and animals. The success of Tamagochi, Pokémon or Nintendogs are a great example of that fondness for animals, even when they’re only virtual.
The Japanese city is inhabited by animals, some real and well alive (cats and dogs, carps, crows, crayfishes, herons…) but also representations of animals (logos, mascots, signs, wall paintings, stickers, posters, origamis, sculptures, statues, plush toys, cartoons, key-rings…). Only in Japan is there such an overwhelming animal presence. However, that country is not a paradise for animals, because their meaning is mainly symbolic. It is above all a bestiary which has been domesticated, tamed, immortalized, and one which fits Japan’s modernity.
Why do Japanese give such importance to animals ? I have no answer to that question, but I really like to think that their presence makes the Japanese cities and society less hostile and inhumane.
Visit artist's site: chunglengtran.com
Found via: urbanautica