Manholes as Art


Can’t imagine why I haven’t posted about this before, since I have noticed it for a long time. Manhole covers in Japan are quite elegant.

Friday night I returned from my evening class, munched on a chocolate and ice cream bar, then did a little blogging with network TV running in the background. Factories were being shown without the products and guests were trying to figure out what was made there. (I figured out the oshibori factory within seconds. Sorry, just a little bragging there.) The manhole design and manufacturing was amazing.

Pretty much every district and town has their own design. The patterns are quite intricate, often containing flowers, birds, and logos. The machinery was also amazing. I really liked the automated router.

Being too lazy to gather photos, here are some links to other blogs mentioning manholes (with pictures). Hakodate (函館) manhole from Squid blog. OpenCage has a set of 62 photos on Flickr. Here is one of his from Osaka (大阪). Here’s a series of photos of a black cat modeling a manhole cover. This cover is boring but the model is cute. It is from a blog about cycling life in Tokyo which has apparently moved here. The July archive for 2004 has a lot of manhole photos. Here’s a Flickr link for Jinx who is apparently the biker/blogger/photographer. It is all in Japanese, but the photos are interesting.

Seek and ye shall find: here’s one from Ichishi-cho (一志町) where I lived for a year. It is now part of Tsu city (津市). This site has an interesting thumb print based archive page.

Anyhow, that’s probably more than enough. You can search for more if you want.


4 Responses to “Manholes as Art”

  1. Sylvia Says:

    Very cool. I like it when a society tries to make ordinary things beautiful.

  2. びっくり Says:

    Sylvia – It is nice. I use my plain rectangular paperweight most often when I’m doing calligraphy; however, my three decorative paperweights are often nearby. Three students gave me paperweights: one shaped like a whale; one like a dove with an oxidized surface color; and one in crystal with ancient seal script etched into the bottom. They are certainly more inspiring.

  3. fightingwindmills Says:

    Thanks for those links. I love the last site with the thumnail layout. Wow, what style!

  4. Pretty Sewage « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] Manhole covers came up in an earlier post. One may notice that none of the images are mine; I merely linked to other people’s images on […]

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