Eijiro Miyama, Japan's Kawaii-est Older Gentleman


Photo by Geoffrey Gray

Eijiro Miyama, also known as Bōshi Ojisan (“Hat Man”) or Harajuku Ojisan, is an outsider artist living in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. He’s known for crafting strange hats adorned with dolls, live goldfish, candy wrappers and other adornments.

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From l’Art Brut, Lausanne:

Eijiro Miyama was born in Mie Prefecture, Japan. A loner, he never married and has always led a wandering sort of existence. He has had various jobs, notably as a day labourer in the construction industry and as a lorry driver. When he was around fifty-five, he settled in one of the boarding houses for impoverished working men in Yokohama’s Kotobuki district, where the unemployed and the socially excluded, homeless, tend to congregate. Today, aged seventy-four, he divides his time between free karaoke and his parades in town : every Saturday and Sunday, Eijiro Miyama goes to the Chinese district in Yokohama, a very lively place. There he meanders through the crowd on his bike, decked out in his brightly coloured hats and clothing, with messages of peace and fraternity written on cardboard packaging attached to his back.

One day, about ten years ago, Eijiro Miyama walked around with a cup of instant noodles on his head. People turned to stare as he went by. This act, provocative and liberating, gave him a huge feeling of exaltation. He gradually created eccentric headgear that he adorned with toys and sundry objects found discarded at flea markets. But this creator also applies his ingenuity to the clothes bought at jumble sales that he dons for his weekly appearances, turning his body into a support for expression.

Here he is being photographed by the Gothic Lolitas of Japan. Awww! More images and information herehereherehere, here, here, and buy generic viagra online here.


Photo by Gregory Flynn.

More images, after the cut!

Japanese Fart Scroll from 1847

WOW. Wow…

Over at Tofugu, author Hashi states:

I was doing research for another post a while back, and found something a bit…unusual. It was an old Japanese scroll about farting. No, you didn’t misread that last sentence. The whole scroll, which is called He-Gassen (“The Fart Battle”) is just about people farting. Farting at other people, farting at cats, farting off of horses, farting into bags; just farting everywhere. [...] I kept expecting to find some deep cultural explanation as to why these guys made whole scrolls about farting. But I think it really just boils down to one universal truth: farts are funny. We can pretend that our senses of humor are more sophisticated than that, but let’s face it: when somebody lets one rip, you’re going to chuckle.

Couldn’t have put it better myself!

Click this link to read and see more. Click it now. Trust me. You may not know it yet, but you need more 19th Century Japanese fart scroll in your life. Delve deep into this dubious cleft of cryptohistory.

{Via Jessica Joslin, with fragrant thanks!)

WTFtastic Music Video for Maruosa’s “ACA” by Sekitani Norihiro

This perfect, gleaming sliver of transcendent “whaaaa thaaaa faaaaaa??!” comes to us care of a tweet from Keith Jenson of Brainwomb, who claims to be sharing it to polarize the effect of the “‘spirit bomb’ of Harajuku” video that Nadya just posted. (Athough it seems just as likely that he’s trying to insidiously destroy us with subliminal mind control.)

Laughing Squid says that Japanese artist Sekitani Norihiro –be sure to check out that website, but be warned, it is rife with CAN’T UNSEE imagery– made this succinctly fucked-up-beyond-all-reckoning-ness for the digital grindcore demigod Maruosa.

おはようございます!!!

Collage detail by Sekitani Norihiro.

The “Spirit Bomb” of Harajuku Culture

Featured previously on Coilhouse for her debut music video Pon Pon Pon, 19-year-old blogger-turned-singer Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (also known is Kyary, or Carrie Pam) is back with a new music video for her single Tsukema Tsukeru.

According to Super Happy Awesome, the song is all about the application, appreciation, and effects of false eyelashes. Kicking off the video with a sparkly-lashed wink to Kanye’s Power (which was also parodied to great effect by Freddie Wong), Kyary celebrates the art of eyelash extension through lyrics (“It’s the magic in a type of eyelash / My confidence changes, the way I see the world changes”), choreography (plenty of jazz hands emulating the batting of full lashes), set design (with some terrifying CGI depictions of the (lash-bedecked) Hamsa Hand floating in the background), and, perhaps most potently, costume design (featuring an extra head on top of her wig wearing lashes, a rather anatomical-looking corset decorated with an eye pendant, and two giant false eyelashes on her boobs).

The same team that created Pon Pon Pon was responsible for Tsukema Tsukeru. The song was produced by Yasutaka Nakata, one half of the electronic duo capsule. The video was art-directed by Sebastian Masuda, a pioneer of “kawaii culture” who also founded Harajuku fashion label %6DOKIDOKI. Masuda and Kyary also recently collaborated on an exhibition titled Table of Dreams.

In describing his first meeting and subsequent collaboration with Kyary, Nakata calls her “the ‘spirit bomb’ of Harajuku culture.” (The spirit bomb, the translator explains, “refers to an attack in the classic anime ‘Dragon Ball’, which channels the energy of surrounding life forms into a powerful sphere.”) Kyary’s success, writes Nakata, lies in her ability to infect people with enthusiasm for her projects. “I think it’s because everyone who gathers around Kyary feels like, ‘if I were with Kyary, I’d be able to express things that are new to me.’ That is, of course, how I feel too. So it’s different from a collaboration, and – to tell the truth – even saying that I produce her has a different meaning. The closest I can get is saying, ‘I’m doing it just for the fun of it.’ I feel like Kyary has this power in her to involve people that way.”

See also:

[via Nicole Aptekar]

R.I.P. Eiko Ishioka, July 1939 – January 21, 2012


Eiko Ishioka, Motoko Narsue, Kyoko Inui, poster 1979. Photographed by Kazumi Kurigami.

One of the world’s greatest costume designers, Eiko Ishioka, died today at age 73. Ishioka’s work spanned genres and continents; she is best known for her costume design on Dracula, The Fall and The Cell, as well as her collaborations with Bjork, Grace Jones and Cirque du Soleil. From the New York Times:

Ms. Ishioka won an Academy Award for costume design in 1992 for “Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula,’ ” directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Her outfits for the film included a suit of full body armor for the title character (played by Gary Oldman), whose glistening red color and all-over corrugation made it look like exposed musculature, and a voluminous wedding dress worn by the actress Sadie Frost, with a stiff, round, aggressive lace collar inspired by the ruffs of frill-necked lizards.

These typified Ms. Ishioka’s aesthetic. A deliberate marriage of East and West — she had lived in Manhattan for many years — it simultaneously embraced the gothic, the otherworldly, the dramatic and the unsettling and was suffused with a powerful, dark eroticism. Her work, whose outsize stylization dazzled some critics and discomforted others, was provocative in every possible sense of the word, and it was meant to be.

Ms. Ishioka was closely associated with the director Tarsem Singh, for whom she designed costumes for four films. In the first, “The Cell” (2000), she encased Jennifer Lopez, who plays a psychologist trapped by a serial killer, in a headpiece that resembled a cross between a rigid neck brace and a forbidding bird cage.

“Jennifer asked me if I could make it more comfortable,” Ms. Ishioka told The Ottawa Citizen in 2000, “but I said, ‘No, you’re supposed to be tortured.’ ”

Eiko Ishioka worked until the very end of her life. Her latest works can be seen in Tarsem Signh’s Immortals (2011) and Mirror Mirror (2012). After the cut, more images of Ishioka’s work throughout the ages, as well as recent video of her talking about her work on Immortals.


Costume design from The Fall


Costume design from The Cell

Championship Masturbation

In case you weren’t sure if there was a contest for everything, Metropolis TV is here to assure you that yes, indeed there is. The above preview of their new season on masturbation spotlights Masanobu Sato who one both the 2008 and 2009 Masturbate-A-Thon, held by the Center for Sex & Culture in San Francisco. Both times he set a record, the current being 9 hours and 58 minutes, a time that sounds as impressive as it does painful.

In an especially surreal moment we get to watch Soto begin his day with a 2 hour “practice session”. There he sits, cross-legged on the floor, peacefully watching the news while his girlfriend sews, all the while casually working an artificial vagina over his turgid member. His girlfriend, for her part, sees this as a hobby, not unlike her sewing, She even helps him “train” by timing him, a decidedly different reaction than I would probably get from my girlfriend if I decided to jerk off on the couch in front of her every morning. There is also a harrowing moment in which their cat climbs on his leg to investigate, running the risk of being pulled into the thresher like vortex created by Sato’s inexorable pumping.

Things turn even weirder, though not unexpectedly, when we accompany Soto to his favorite adult video store. Here he explains his particular taste in pornography: specifically adult anime, explaining that a “real female” can be both smelly and/or dirty, whereas, conversely, the women in anime are nice and clean. Which is true, but really, it’s not something we should be saying out loud. Just let those dirty, stinky women live in ignorance. Better to suffer in silence like a gentleman than complain aloud like a man best known for stroking his dick for nearly 10 hours at a time.

Credit where credit is due, though. A lesser man than Soto would no doubt collapse around the one hour mark, exhausted, frustrated, and horribly, horribly chafed. There are worse things, I suppose, than being known as the world’s premiere practitioner of the autoerotic arts. Better to be recognized for a talent than have none at all.

Interpretive Futon Dance Duo

NO idea what the heck is going on here, or why, but I wholeheartedly approve:

(Via Patrick McCracken.)

“Hall of Thirty-Three Bays” by Hiroshi Sugimoto

A captivatingly atemporal silver gelatin print from 1995:


“Hall of Thirty-Three Bays” by Hiroshi Sugimoto

(Our 400px column width definitely ain’t doing the composition any favors; it’s worth taking the time to view this stunning image as large as possible.)

The work of Tokyo/NYC-based artist and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto reflects a lifelong fascination with infinity and eternity. He has “spoken of his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, or photographs serving as a time capsule for a series of events in time. His work also focuses on transience of life, and the conflict between life and death.” (via)

The story behind this particular image: these are the fiercely protected, rarely viewed 1001 statues of the Sanjusangendo, a 390-foot-long wooden temple in Kyoto containing thirty-three bays, also known as Sea of Buddha. Sugimoto was determined to show the statues as they were meant to be viewed during the Heian Perod (794-1185). It took seven years for Sugimoto to get permission to enter the “Hall of Thirty-Three Bays” with his camera equipment and capture the eight-hundred-year-old Armed Merciful Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara figures just as the early morning sunlight hit them, simultaneously illuminating one-thousand-and-one haloes. The resulting imagery is both ancient and somehow futuristic, infinite and immediate.

More beauty from Sugimoto:

The Tokyo that Tumblr Forgot

When I saw this striking image of Tokyo while riffling through my RSS feeds, my heart stopped. Supposedly, it’s a still from a forgotten video game made in 1995.

There’s something about this cityscape. I’ve been coming back to stare at the large version of it for two days now, marveling at all the details: that puffy-cheeked man and that lobster, the people on the streets, the density of the buildings, the beautiful pixel weave that makes up the clouds, and that ominous yellow moon. I want to know the story of this game world and its makers. If it’s a still from a mid-90s video game, very few people would have considered that art at the time. Now, in the world we live in, I could easily see this image selling at an art opening. If it turned out that this image was done by a contemporary pop artist, emulating/exaggerating the aesthetics of retro games, I would not be surprised. However, this image feels even more compelling to me precisely because it’s not that, but a forgotten relic, a lost gem, a genuine artifact.

Tumblr tells me (for once) that this striking image is from a video game called “Power Slave,” produced by Jellyfish Software in 1995. I’m not sure if I believe that; the only game titled Power Slave game I could find was this first-person shooter set in Egypt, released by Lobotomy Soft in 1997. Nothing in the game descriptions suggested the appearance of this scene. I checked out a couple of Power Slave playthroughs - not all 17 levels, but enough, including the intro and end, to be fairly sure that this scene was never among them. And the only Jellyfish Soft release that came up in my searches was Aerokid, an aviation game for kids, released in 1998. But then I read somewhere that on the Saturn conversion of PowerSlave included a hidden game. After some Googling, I found that name: Death Tank Zwei. With a name like that, I thought it sounded promising. But after looking through the entire game thanks to some guy’s research video for a Port-to-PC project on YouTube, I came to the conclusion that this game wasn’t the source of the image, either.

And that’s where the trail grew cold. Maybe I missed something. Maybe it’s just another beautiful Tumblr scrap I’ll never find the source of. Anyone have a clue?

Update: mystery solved, thanks to Coilhouse reader Fmtownsmarty. It’s Power Slave, a hentai first-person adventure/strategy game from Japan. “Tetsuya is a rather ordinary Japanese teenager, who prefers hanging out with his sweetheart Rika than going to school. His passion are 3D video games. The newest game machine which allows the player to completely submerge into the virtual world, modeled according to his desires, has captured his heart. But one thing is strange: lately, Tetsuya keeps seeing himself as a killer and rapist. Dreams begin to haunt him. Is this just a side-effect of the game, or does he have a dark side he knows nothing about?” Oh, Japan, don’t you ever change. <3

A Bio-Mechanical Astro Boy by Kazuhiko Nakamura

Since we last covered artist Kazuhiko Nakamura (a.k.a Almacan) in 2007, he’s posted a several amazing new pieces, including “Atoma,” seen above. “This is biomechanical Astro Boy,” says the artist on his DeviantArt page and adds, “I recommend you watch this image while listening to King Crimson’s ‘Moonchild’.“ [via Wurzeltod]

Also new is this rhinoceros based on the one that Albrecht Durer drew in 1515.

“Durer, never actually saw a live rhino and based his drawing on a brief sketch and a letter. The rhino that inspired Durer’s drawing was given by an Indian sultan to King Manuel of Portugal in 1515. The Portuguese king sent the rhino as a gift to the pope. However, the ship carrying the rhino sank in a storm and the unfortunate rhino was drowned.” (Quotation from “A History of the World”)