Offbeat ‘Objets d'Art’ Are Rather Commonplace in Japan

Narita hot dog dude

“Narita hot dog dude” by Flickr user Joi Ito. Image license: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

A blogger by the name of bluebluelucky at the Japanese curation site Naver Matome, has collected some of Japan's strangest “objets d'art” from social media users all around the country. The highlighted pieces are essentially large sculptures that are not quite art and have no apparent purpose, according to bluebluelucky:

町を歩いていると、特に公園などでたまに変なオブジェを見かけるのですが、あれは誰のため、何のためにあるのでしょうか…? 考えているうちにまとめてしまいました。まとめた後も、わかりませんでした…。

When walking around town, especially in parks and playgrounds, you often see strange ‘objets d'art’. Wondering who and what are they for, I gathered some images together, although I am still not sure of the answer.

The sculptures are typically puzzling, often weird, and sometimes even a little menacing:

Here's a report from our field trip ♫: (Kawaguchi Athletic Park) The panda chewing on bamboo is a horrible sight. While not as many people have come to see this panda as a result of the 2007 Niigata earthquake, thanks to a TV show that introduced this panda, more and more people are coming to see it (again).

This particular sculpture (apparently a pump for a well) is supposed to resemble Doraemon, Japan's most beloved anime character, but, as is typical with playground sculptures in Japan, there's something a little off:

There are a lot of things wrong with this objet d'art (?) at the local park.

Odd-looking animals are not at all unusual in Japan's parks and playgrounds:

This lion at the local park is totally nuts!

Sometimes there is some pretty crazy playground equipment and objets d'art at the park!

Rural tourist attractions in Japan can also harbor some very odd (and some might say creepy) statuary:

Miyamidori Park, Miyazaki: Quite close to Ikoma Highlands there's Japan's best wild boar restaurant. There's also Japan's spookiest public park. I'm not sure if it's from the person who ran the park in the past, but outside the restaurant there's a statue of a mother and child *and* a giant statue of Prince Osu, plus a statue of a wild boar. The statues are all kind of weather-beaten, too.

Found in Miyamidori Park. This used to be in Japan's spookiest park which is now closed. Man, I wanted to go to that park.

This is a bronze stature found in Oni (ogre)-Kita township, in Uwa, Ehime Prefecture! While I've seen it on television, up close it's really impressive, lol. A pheasant is perched on the ogre's shoulder.

Other objets d'art are good examples of the whimsy that can be so much a part of Japanese culture:

An objet d'art that evokes a quiet feeling of madness.

Some, however, are just strange.

I went to Toki Premium Outlet Mall in Gifu Prefecture. There's a strange objet d'art nearby that I could not resist taking a picture of. It's called KAGUYA-SYSTEM. It gives me the creeps.

In fact, many visitors to Japan have likely encountered the country's most famous objet d'art, otherwise known as “the hot dog guy”:

There is a really unsettling objet d'art in the arrivals hall of Narita Interational Airport (outside of Tokyo).

Check out even more unusual Japanese objets d'art at Naver Matome.

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