Drain Covers in Japan are Becoming Works of Art

11.03.2020

©jpellgen (@1179_jp)

Careful where you tread: in several Japanese cities, old drain covers are being turned into real works of art. But the aim of this form of street art isn’t simply to look pretty and decorate the drain covers; rather, it tells the story of the city in question, its heritage or its specialities. For instance, Osaka (west) has a fortified castle, the port of Yokohama has a bridge across Tokyo Bay, and as for Tama City, the famous Hello Kitty can be found near a theme park. Clever stuff.

In total, there are close to 12,000 different ‘manhoru’ motifs. These drain covers are becoming somewhat of a curiosity in Japan and are boosting tourism. Some people have even made a hobby out of taking photos of all the different works they find. In short, the craze is so strong that conventions are even being organised across the country, some of which attract several thousand participants. Some works can even be bought at auction.

©Ernesto Huang

©jpellgen (@1179_jp)

©Grant Hollingworth

©jpellgen (@1179_jp)

©POHAN CHEN

©Manabu Shimohira