Satsuki Ogino, a third year student at the Art and Design Faculty of Tama Art University, threw a scourer soaked in paint -- and gave birth to an alien!

Be Inspired! A Trip To Tama Art University

Have you ever had the feeling that in Japan, since things are so over excessively convenient, people tend to lack imagination…? This might be a bit of an overstatement but it’s a serious topic that could determine the future of the Japanese creative industry! Just as we were contemplating this, we had an unexpected e-mail from art director Koh Chihara, inviting us to see the final review of his original lectures on “Imagination” for the third year students of the Art and Design Faculty of Tama Art University. Sounds like fun! We immediately took off to the Kaminoge campus of Tama Art in Western Tokyo to find out how these art college students were letting their imagination run wild.

Written by Chiemi
Translated by Natsumi Yamane

For this review, 33 students were already given thirteen different assignments based on the theme of “imagination.” Regardless of the media, students had to come up with their own representations and interpretations in their designs based on their memories. Then, they were asked to choose any one of the assignments to create a piece in a limited period of six weeks.


The sign of the Kaminoge campus stands out in the dark… Needless to say, many great designers graduated from Tama Art University.

From the back of the classroom. Everyone is very serious! Many Japanese professional designers visited the presentation too.

The Works

Let’s introduce some exceptional works from the review: First of all, the piece from Shota Inui who chose a book design assignment to “imagine freely about a country that you have never been to and design a local publication.”

Shota designed an evening newspaper published in the slums in Brazil, in which he featured a fictional news story that an old man living there had found a new table mountain on the front page. Other articles included gang wars, the latest updates on the carnivals – based on Shota’s imagination that Brazilian people would be thinking about the carnival constantly, after hearing that the carnival preparations are underway throughout the year. Also, he added radio listings instead of TV listings. Presuming that the newspaper would be made on a low budget, he chose cheap, low-quality paper and graded down the graphic drawn, to intentionally create a rough-looking finish.

The front page is about an old man from the slums, who made a historic discovery. The edge of the paper is notch cut by hand to make it look like a real newspaper!

We’ve never been there either — but it does look like a picture from Brazil!

Shota who explains his work (on the left) and tutor Koh (on the right.)

For this work, lecturer Koh Chihara gave a high mark for its texture and typically Brazilian use of colours. However, in the meantime, he also impressed the students and visitors by asking poignant questions such as “Would the graphics in slum newspapers be looking so cool? Shouldn’t the photos of the murder scene be more realistic? Would they have the budget to print a newspaper in colour?”

The tutor, Koh said “this picture of a dead body (on the left) looks too cool.

The page with the carnival info…

… and people on the wanted list. Good drawings!

Next up was a work by Harumi Onodera who chose a typography assignment on “imagining the personality of your next door neighbour and designing his/her business card, nameplate and personal seal.”

Harumi who lives in a four-story apartment building along the Tama River, has actually never seen the husband of the family living next door — but she has heard his voice. So she imagined “Even though the rent is very cheap, the husband is working till late everyday. And we live along the Tama River… The husband could actually be a legendary creature, Kappa doing fishing for a living!” Based on the verified fact that the wife is a human, Harumi decided to create a work that would work in both the Kappa world and the human world. Also, from the fact that the landlord is very kind, she imagined that the rent is paid by the fishes from the river. Moreover, as the young child is often seen alone ion the balcony, she presumed that the wife must be doing piecework at home, and the kind of lady to fall in love with a Kappa must be fond of fishing… therefore she must be making fishing lures! Harumi’s work progressed as her imagination runs free…


The nameplate indeed, gives the impression that the resident is not human. However, Koh simply inquired, “Does he live without hiding his identity?”

A seal for the human world was made from a cucumber, Kappa’s favourite food.
The business card for selling fishing lures. Presuming that Kappa’s friends won’t be able to read, she designed it as a pop-up card. Clever!

Although Koh tried to get to the bottom of it again and again, Harumi’s work reflected her imagination with almost impeccable details, making the presentation filled with laughter throughout.


A Kappa-style seal showing a fish nicked with Kappa’s fingernail: It took this shape based on the idea that seals were originally used as a form of identification.

Harumi Onodera who did a great presentation and made everyone laugh so much!

The third on the list is a work by Satsuki Ogino who challenged an assignment to “draw rough sketches of at least 100 characters using your non-dominant hand and tools you have never used before. Then pick one and brush it up with your dominant hand and do a presentation on its design process, purpose and the settings of the finished character.”

For that, Satsuki created sketches using all sorts of tools and items, including marshmallows melted in a microwave, a pen attached to the end of a long tube of a hoover, a brush made from her own hair, orange peels, sea weed and other…


Satsuki explains the rough sketches…

… one of the earlier tries.

From there, she selected several rough sketches to create some characters based on the settings that they are “aliens who moved to the earth from the depopulating outer space” and expanded her ideas with the imagination that they are pretending to be playground equipment parks to hide from the humans during the day.


A rough sketch made with melted coloured wax — turned into…

… some extra-terrestrial characters! Great!!

And every single one of them are…

… looking out of the ordinary.

Afterwards each characters are transformed into…

… miniature models!
A model of aliens pretending to be slides and other equipment for playing in the park. What amazing imagination and creativity!

For this, Koh commented that it was “an extremely interesting work born out of normally inconceivable techniques and bizarre shapes!” The class burst into applause!

Koh Chihara explains, “How you come up with an answer for a tall order that almost sounds like a joke and associate it with unique and convincing representations is a programme for conception of ideas applicable to the students’ future assignments, works and lives, and it also has an aspect of a research into their imagination and creativity too. By experiencing the joy of communicating your personal discoveries and experiments to other people – or the fear of not being able to convey it at all – I wanted the students to acknowledge the “diversity in individual values” and hopefully be able to give calm judgements on the ‘senses of values generally considered to be good in the streets’.”

This review was truly intriguing, brimming with imagination of the awesome works by the 33 students — including those works we couldn’t get round to today. This convinced us for sure that the future of Japanese design is looking bright! To Koh Chihara and the students, thanks a lot and keep up the good work! Folks, if you want to see more of it, visit here! And don’t forget to drop a line about your most enjoyable lecture you had in your student days yourself!

  • roku

    so the work by Satsuki Hagino was to draw with non preferred hand and then redo it with dominant hand?
    interesting work!

  • Pingback: r-echos » Blog Archive » Am I planting as much as I pick?

  • Jay

    Curious but why doesn’t pingmag have any art work for sale? I would love some posters or wall decorations from many of the artists covered here.

  • Pingback: Global Voices Online » Japan: Tama Art University

  • http://halcyonrealms.com blauereiter

    Tama must be a great place to study…I remember visiting Musashino Art University a few years back and the air of creativity surrounding the place was so palpable it made me want to be a student all over again.

  • angellesmelle

    that’s great, I think that’s a pretty good school, but I wish people could get assignments like that in little kid school too.

  • Pingback: Ping Mag’s Trip to Tama Art University « Filthy Skies (F+S)

  • Pingback: PingMag’s Trip to Tama Art University « F+S

  • Pingback: PingMag’s Trip to Tama Art University « F+S | Journal | 2010

  • Pingback: PingMag’s Trip to Tama Art University « F+S Journal | Filthy Skies

  • http://www.ebrandwatches.com men watches online

    I found this is an informative and interesting post so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing ability has inspired me. Really the sdgsdgarticle is spreading its wings rapidly.

  • http://www.googlelv.net 激安財布

    激安財布
    品質は最も良いで 価格は最低です
    弊社は販売ルイヴィトン(LV)、シャネル(CHANEL)、グッチ(GUCCI)、エルメス(HERMES)
    、コーチ(coach)、バレンシアガ(BALENCIAGA)、各種の激安財布、バッグ.

  • http://epicweightliftingroutines.com weightlifting routines

    All we need to do is take a good look at our selves, and then be honest with the findings. If you need to work-out just do it. The more you wait the more you will need to do, to finish your goal

  • http://www.cl-highheels.com christian louboutin

    This is a great post,i like it very much!hank you for sharing.

  • http://www.bigaffiliateprofitsreview.com Big Affiliate Profits Review

    Great site, I will be Back to see more of this, good work.

  • http://losefat.healthweightlossfitness.com/thedietsolution weight loss

    Great info. Your information is well needed and will help many in need of improving their condition so that a better lifesytle can be achieved in the shortest amount of time.

  • http://buydoctor.info innovative healthcare

    I want to see the many development of this site.

  • http://www.weightliftingroutines.com weightlifting routines

    We all need to get into the right frame of mind and keep all of the negative energy at bay.

  • http://www.tuscanywind.com energie rinnovabili

    Turbine Idroelettriche

  • http://myweb-traffic.com Definition Strategy

    Thanks,I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.

  • http://www.heyycanli.com goruntulu sohbet

    süper site

  • http://kandjfence.com Fence PA

    Cuddly blue ugly monster! Or alien.

  • http://janisproductions.net Wedding Videography NJ

    Initially, I thought these were regular students. I don’t think we had art in university. Anyhow, seems like they are college art majors.

  • http://srahomeproducts.com Pergola Construction

    The local publication seemed tough to make.

  • http://janisdigitalmedia.com Video Production Philadelphia

    The aliens are dang amazing. So is the concept of the assignment!

  • http://www.billpoulosforexreview.com/ Bill Poulos Forex

    I feel you bring up some interesting points that not too many people discuss . It is interesting to see it from this perspective. I actually loved the post!

  • http://myweb-traffic.com/ earn money

    Thanks for the information about this topic.

  • http://www.skinnyguymusclegain.com/ Skinny Guy Muscle

    I always prefer to undertsand a brand new means of looking at it. Thanks for the information. I always like to undertsand a new means of taking a look at it. Thanks for the information.

  • http://rawfoodprogram.com raw food diet

    Thank you for your article/s of which I found to be most informative and more importantly, relevant to what I was looking for, plus I will return to catch your updates, sincere best wishes.David

  • http://www.netdesignrank.com SEO

    Never thought scribbles could become arts, I’m impressed

  • http://www.jamondesalamanca.es Jamon Iberico

    Gran articulo. Somos seguidores vuestros desde hace tiempo y queriamos aprovechar este comentario para felicitaros por vuestro blog y por el trabajo que estais haciendo en los articulos…

  • http://www.wbrandwatches.com men watches online

    Good luck to the author! all the best! d

  • http://www.jaspis.se smycken online

    very good. thank you

  • http://www.happyseasons.gr xristougenniatika

    xristougenniatika dentra,xristougenniatika stolidia,

  • http://triplejonline.com Figurines

    Collecting figurines has become more popular lately and many people are turning to the internet to locate them.

  • http://www.ego-tank.ro tigara electronica ego tank

    Exetrmely helpful article, please write more. Team tigara electronica ego tank

  • http://www.realelixir.com อาหารเสริม

    กระ จุดด่างดำ คืนผิวขาวเนียนนุ่มชุ่มชื้นให้แก่ผิว ด้วยส่วนผสมอันทรงคุณค่าจากธรรมชาติ

  • http://gpsbestmaps.com gps best maps

    Thank you for good content..

  • http://watchestimex.com Watches Timex

    Timex Ironman Watch Bands

  • http://www.yoogly.net reza atayee fard

    I was Mtalbtvn

  • http://travel-trips.cu.cc/ Travel Trips

    Travel Trips has been succesfully catering to travellers across the globe with its well established and secured Global Hotel Reservation System. Our 24X7 customer care support is there all along to help people with their hotel reservations, cancellations and other related issues. Featured are some interesting testimonials from our valued customers vouching for the credibility of Travel Trips.

  • http://onedaycarinsurance1.net Anonymous

    I’d love to know your other thoughts on the subject. It’ been a while since your last update, do you plan on any more soon?

  • http://www.thevisayas.com The Visayas

    Thank you so much for this content, Im so lucky and glad that I found this website, Please keep this website going and I will keep

  • http://www.niyom.net Make money

    How To Succeed With Social Media Outlines Specific Social Media Techniques For Small Business Owners To Use In Marketing Their Business Online Effectively Using Social Media.

    -> http://www.niyom.net

    A few weeks ago my family and I went on vacation

  • http://www.besttoy.org jokoman

    Thanks for the article and good techniqueto share.

  • http://www.ipadspeakersdock.com Yogungman

    I like very much.Thanks for the great article.

  • http://www.hallohi.net HalloHi Social Network

    HalloHi is Social Network service . You can write what ever you want you have your space on this site and you can do whatever you want share music , videos , write blogs , read blogs , ask question , answer question , play games , upload documents , do what ever you want your free space:))).

  • garments, exporter, hongkong

    ching chang limited

  • http://www.bravotv.ro news

    Cele mai noi stiri

  • sweets

    I found youre blog via searching the net and I have to say.

  • http://www.gametriot.com free girl games

    Hi Very informative page, I will be back to view more. Keep up the good work.Play free flash games at http://www.gametriot.com ,It is a place for one who cannot live without gaming.

  • http://www.deafmax.com Deaf community

    Free membership for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. Dating, forums, links, feeds, chat, videos, and social media. Join Us!

  • http://www.alamanda.my Malaysia’s Online Marketplace

    After years of development and months of testing, Alamanda.my announces that the service is ready for the small business to start selling on the internet for free which would otherwise cost hard earned money on other sites.

  • http://www.temple-jewellery.com/ Temple Jewellery

    This piece of information is a gem for me, very helpful, really a great piece of writing, thanks for the effort made, really impressed.

  • http://www.1tradezone.my Malaysia’s Online Marketplace

    Welcome to 1tradezone.my your 100% free online classified marketplace. Our idea is simple, why pay when you can sell for free?

  • http://www.rcmb3140.com/ Rotaract Club

    This piece of information is really very helpful, i am pleased by the information provided here, will keep coming to check further, thanks.

  • http://whirlpoolwashers.org whirlpool washers

    Hi ….. I have information about Whirlpool washers, you should read them and get tips and tricks commersial business with Whirlpool washers.

  • http://gunlukkiralikev.com.tr istanbul günlük kiralık

    Günlük kiralık residence kampanyalarımızı takip ediniz, beş yıldızlı otel konforunda, SPA, türk hamamı, açık ve kapalı havuz farklılığına 99 TL ye sahip olun

  • http://www.goadvertisetomillions.com advertise to millions

    Im so happy, now that I found your website, your contend is very informative and educational. I will always come back for

  • http://www.stopitnow.gr ηλεκτρονικο τσιγαρο

    stopitnow.gr Great Site

  • http://www.sphinxasiawealthmanagement.com Sphinx Asia News

    At Sphinx Asia our focus is on providing our clients with the right tools, to grow their wealth through investment, to plan for retirement, and secure their future.

  • http://www.etibia.net.pl/biznes,i,ekonomia/przeprowadzki,warszawa,s,117/ Przeprowadzka

    naturally like your web site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I’ll definitely come back again.