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Two New Books for the Japanophile: “Drainspotting: Japanese Manhole Covers” and “Idle Idol: The Japanese Mascot”
May 5, 2010
Contact: Adri Cowan
New York, NY – May 5, 2010 – Mark Batty Publisher announces the latest additions to its ever-growing collection of unique books about Japanese subcultures. Japan’s visual history is one of unparalleled beauty and design, which today inspires a stunning and surprising array of subcultures, ranging from matchbook art, bento boxes, graffiti, colorful manhole covers and 3D mascots.
Drainspotting: Japanese Manhole Covers
The first book to document this distinctive aspect of contemporary Japanese visual culture, Drainspotting: Japanese Manhole Covers showcases vibrant photographs of Japan’s city-sanctioned manhole covers, or manhoru. Today, nearly 95% of the 1,780 municipalities in Japan sport their very own customized manhole covers, with imagery that evokes each region’s cultural identity, from flora and fauna to landmarks and local festivals.
As a testament to the Japanese aesthetic sensibility in all aspects of life, these pieces of urban art are colorful, intricately designed, and unique to their locale – from Kanto to Chūbu to Disneyland Japan.
“This innovative method of brightening up a locality and cheering up its citizens proves how public art can impact everyday life, no matter what form it takes,” says author Remo Camerota. “And the humble manhole cover is no exception.”
Pre-order Drainspotting on Amazon.com here!
Idle Idol: The Japanese Mascot
Whether plastic or fiberglass figures modeled after celebrities, deities, animals, corporate logos, or good luck charms, Japan teems with 3D mascots that are used to attract attention and sell products. In Idle Idol: The Japanese Mascot, discover antique advertising characters, modern mass-produced mascots and unique one-off designs, with photographs and stories by brothers Edward and John Harrison.
Idle Idol presents these quirky and cute figures in all of their plastic glory, divided into thematic chapters: Hero, Legend, Spokesperson, TV Star, Entertainer, Chef, Doctor, Meeter and Greeter. Ranging from Japanese myths to corporate identities and sporting fan fanaticism, each idol’s story is unique: from Totoro and Pipo-Kun, to Ultraman and the ever-popular Doraemon, Hello Kitty and Astro Boy.
Other MBP titles sure to appeal to the Japanophile include: Vending Machines: Coined Consumerism; Face Food Recipes and Face Food: The Visual Creativity of Japanese Bento Boxes; Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo; Graffiti Japan and Matchibako: Japanese Matchbox Art of the 20s and 30s; as well as the forthcoming Menko, Fuzz and Fur, and Kicks Japan.
About Drainspotting’s Remo Camerota
Tokyo-based Remo Camerota is an award-winning artist, filmmaker, and animator. His work is often political and social, attacking government issues, flash-in-the-pan fads, and censorship, aiming to create interesting concept-based communications indicative of contemporary visual trends occurring locally and globally.
He is also the author of Graffiti Japan and the forthcoming Menko: Art of the Japanese Card Game, both for MBP.
About Idle Idol’s Edward Harrison and John Harrison
Idle Idol was written and photographed by What What, a design and interactive studio comprised of twins Edward and John Harrison. When not taking photos of mascots they design, illustrate, animate, and make badges. John lives in London while Edward lives in mascot heaven; Tokyo.
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Page Count: 96 pages
Size: 6.25 x 6.25 inches
Publication Date: June 2010
Page Count: 144 pages
Size: 5.5 x 7 inches
Publication Date: June 2010
For a review copy, more information, or to schedule an interview with the authors, contact Adri Cowan, +1 347.830.6271, firstname.lastname@example.org.