Japanese Artist’s Illustrations Dare You to Find Fantasy in Ordinary Tokyo Apartments

Behind the flashing lights and its constant bustling rhythm, Tokyo has an undeniable, almost mystic charm that takes a special talent to appreciate. One person who’s gifted with the ability to appreciate the day-to-day charms of Tokyo on another level is Japanese illustrator Akane Malbeni.

More: Instagram h/t: grapee

Self-described as an artist who “finds stranger things in ordinary apartments”, her work dares you to look at everyday things with a sense of mystery. We got to talk to her about her work and how she creates art that tells the stories of fantasy-filled scenes happening right in the heart of Japan.

“I really love our radiant city of Tokyo,” Akane shares. Originally from Okinawa, she moved to Tokyo for university and has been using sceneries of the Japanese metropolis as her muse since then. “It masks a multitude of fantasies and myths under the facade of advancing technology.”

Contrary to what you might expect, Akane doesn’t look at the bright, shiny distractions in Tokyo when she picks up a pen to draw. Instead, she’s most inspired by the ordinary, and the “bland, old apartment buildings” scattered across the city.

“Tokyo has huge housing complexes called danchi (団地),” she explains. “I love drawing those places because they feel like ruins in the present era. They contain both the reality of everyday life and the mystery of time past.”

Danchis trace their history to 1950s Japan. This was a time of economic growth for Japan, and it saw workers flocking en masse to the more urban parts of the country. However, at the time, cities didn’t have enough structures in place to accommodate everybody.

This left the Japanese government with a housing problem, and building blocky apartment buildings that were several stories high was the solution they saw to address the issue. This gave way to a surge in construction of these apartment complexes starting in the 1960s.

However, about a decade later, the Japanese government declared the housing crisis over and residents of danchis gradually started moving out and moving on. Some of the complexes ended up being demolished over the years, but in crowded cities like Tokyo in particular, you can still spot them in certain areas where they’re being used for cheap housing to this day.

Akane’s work often features the straightforward characteristics of not just danchi, but other things that are very “ordinary Tokyo” as well. Some of the illustrations that best exemplify this include one with an apartment balcony at the background of a “post-apocalyptic sea bathing” scene, or one with a utility pole set as the stage for a girl and her crow friends.
















































(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave Your Comment Below


If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Mullet: The Badass Hairstyle Of The 1970s, 1980s And Early 1990s
Meet Brazilian 'Human Barbie' Andressa Damiani
Combo: Provocative French Street Art
Creative Advertisements by Asile Studio
Illustrator Turned 8 Iconic Tom Hanks’ Characters Into Cartoons
Stunning 360° Portraits by Gianluca Traina
"Sculptmojis": Fun Series Of Illustrations By Ben Fearnley
"This Is Not The End Of The World": A Pessimistic Ad Campaign
Attack Of The B-Pictures: Bold, Brilliant And Bizarre Mexican Pulp Art
The Robot Next Door: Playful And Visionary Series By Nicolas Bigot, Niko Photographisme
Charmed 3D Models Of Rebeca Puebla Inspired By BDSM
Illustrator Reveals The Brutally Honest Life Truths
These Illustrations Show What’s Wrong With The Modern Society
Cartoonist's Unique Take On Modern Life Will Leave You Asking For More
Georgian Car Club Creates The Rainbow With 76 Dodge Challengers
How Medieval Artists Saw Elephants: Claws, Hooves, Trunks Like Trumpets, And Castles On Their Backs
Artist Uses Wind Dancers To Express Difficult Topics Like BLM Movement, Gun Violence, And Poverty In Her Stunning Paintings
Cultural Torture: An Offensive And Ironic Guide To Pissing People Off In Their Own Countries
This Artist Draws Lighthearted Comics To Stay Sane In Quarantine
Inspiring Photo Quotes By Alander Wong
Digital Illusions and Dark Fantasy Artworks of Rahul Das
Canadian Artist David Huynh Used the Logos from Famous Companies to Depict His Own Perspective of Those Companies
Artist Transforms Herself Into Different Characters Using Only Makeup
15 Reasons Why The World Will Never Be Like It Once Was
An Artist Painted 40 Creepy Women Portraits In The Last Two Years
Brazilian Artist Tullius Heuer Creates Digital Paintings That Leap Off The Page
Stunning Fashion Illustrations By Esra Røise
This Dude Keeps Protesting Annoying Everyday Things With Funny Signs
A Millennial’s Guide To Cocktails
45 Comics With Twisted Endings For People With A Dark Sense Of Humor