A Japanese artist’s venture into the uncanny through cityscapes

In videogames, cityscapes are often the most interesting types of environments. From Jet Set Radio’s neon-colored, ever-grindable Tokyo-to, to Mirror’s Edge’s parkour-ready, futuristic city, cityscapes in videogames emit the uncanny, but not quite in a Freudian way. Fictional cityscapes are instead uncanny in that they always feel familiar, but still mystify and surprise us. In a similar sense, there’s a weird ping of fantastical familiarity that emanates from the recent award-winning artwork of 22-year-old Japanese artist Daisuke Tajima. Is it the breathtaking detail solely drawn by a black ink pen? The immense precision of the windows on buildings? The scale…


Tokyo 1923 conveys one of Japan’s worst natural disasters

In reading Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa’s memories of the Great Kant? earthquake of 1923, there appear two images more striking than the rest. The first one is the bloated corpses that lapped up against the bank of Sumidagawa River: a dirty red assemblage of death that made Kurosawa’s knees weak, and that he tried to shutter his eyes to but was forced to stare at by his brother. “I remember thinking that the lake of blood they say exists in Buddhist hell couldn’t possibly be as bad as this,” Kurosawa wrote.  The other image is much less gruesome but equally…