Shohei Otomo Reveals The Reality Of Japanese Culture By Hand Drawing Traditional Fantasy Characters

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Reality and fantasy. Two concepts depicted in Shohei Otomo’s ballpoint drawings. Black and white illustrations blending traditions and the punk spirit of Japanese culture. Through the eyes of the artist, we are taken to the center of the effervescence, Tokyo.

Shohei Otomo unfolds the contradictions and the touching face of Tokyo to the rest of the world. He plays the role of a middle man, channeling key information to both parties, highlighting Japan as an isolated and singular country.
He claims people have this clean image of Japanese people owning a calm and patient temper at work and in their personal lives. He is proving that reality is otherwise. His work is targeted to a global crowd. Yet the symbols he uses are meant to report the actuality to foreigners and to act as a satire for his Japanese audience.

His drawings consist of simple characters wearing traditional versus pop items. A girl is posing wearing a kimono with men and women gender symbols. She is wearing a wig decorated with a rose, a love sign, condoms and a mask. A policeman is smoking a joint through a bong. The drawings are hyper-realistic, hand drawn with a ball point. This simple method reveals the talent of the young artist who is also the son of Katsuhri Otomo, creator of Akira, the renown animated cyberpunk thriller movie. (via Booooooom).

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Shohei Otomo


At quick glance, these manga illustrations by Japanese artist, Shohei Otomo appear to be traditional – black, white, red.  Not quite though: tough Geisha playing table tennis, far from.  Such a violent spin with these renderings, you really sense the impending impacts.  Fun.

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