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The Bento

What is a Bento [ 弁当]? This is a complex question because in a same time it presents a single-portion takeout, a culinary culture and also a small lunch box extremely common in Japan. But its influence besides Japan is growing up since a couple of year with many people all around the world who replace their tupperware during their lunch break at work by this small box (or big it depends of your will).

The Bento as a single-portion takeout and a culture

All kid in Japan has the pleasure to bring a box at school that his mother has prepared in the morning. It represents the highlight of any school day. Even if the practice of bringing bento to school has almost desapeared after world war 2 and was replaced by uniform food provided for all students and teachers, it has been popular again during the 80’s thanks to the invention of microwave and the proliferation of convenience stores. The bento represents nowadays a great range of meals and more important: a nutritionally balanced and aesthetically pleasing meal. So for that, it is an important satisfaction for mothers who create those bentos for their children.

History of Bento

The origins of the Bento [ 弁当] can be traced to the twelve century during the Kamakura Period [鎌倉時代] (governance of Japan by the Kamakura Shogunate) when people of the country developed the first hoshi-ii [糒](dried rice). At the beginning of Edo Period [江戸時代] (1603 to 1867), bento culture became more refined and the meals were more developed with onigiri 🍙(white rice presented into triangular or cylindrical shapes and filled with tuna, salmon or other salty and sour ingredients). It has been very common in the country since the day schools and companies did not provide lunch during the Meiji period (1868 – 1912). The students and teachers had to carry bentos, as did many employees. Finally, the bento has made its way to other Asian countries bus most in Taiwan in the first half of the 20th century where it is now called Bendong.

The Bento Lunch Box

The first wooden lacquered boxes like today’s were produced during the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (between 1568 and 1600). The first ones were in bamboo, wood and the aluminium boxes appeared since the twenty’s century (Taishō period 1912 to 1926). Today, the Bento Lunch box has many forms, sizes or decorations. It exists with one, two or three compartments, presents some Japanese cartoons or is in stainless steel in purpose to keep the food warm.

Find on Asia Emarket.

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A love for drawing, a history of Asia.

A love for drawing, a history of Asia, we will try to explain how drawing and illustration has been in a long time history linked to Asian culture.

Chinese naturalism.

Chinese paintings refer to any form of painting originating from China or Chinese artists outside of China. The most celebrated is the traditional Chinese paint on rolls which comes in various vertical or horizontal formats and the support can be in silk or paper. But there are also many paintings on silk or paper fan. But Chinese art allows itself to use a multitude of media for painting  like mural (palaces and temples) or also ceramics. The traditional functions of painting are many: ritual, religious, ornamental but also for entertainment, educational or poetic.

Before the empire, most of paintings are made on potteries and turtle shelves but it really was under the empire (221 BC – 1912) that traditional Chinese paintings appeared. There was an important religious painting in temples and other places like tombs. There was also an erotic painting in China, which begins to be better known than before.

After the end of the empire, more and more young Chinese students traveled to Europe in purpose to improve and diversify their style. They brought a comeback of Chinese paintings and added western features. This influence of western painting grows on a part of Chinese painters, notably via Russian school under the people’s republic of china, while retaining arts in traditional lines. During 21st century, contemporary painting is ubiquitous in china.

Types of painting. 

They are classified into three major groups:

Characters: Always represents one person, a group or a genre scene which depicts aspects of everyday life by portraying ordinary people engaged in common activities.

Landscape [Shanshui]: it presents natural landscapes, not urban, and is always paint with calligraphic descriptions.

Flowers and birds [Huaniao Hua]

But it is really important to understand that these categories have to be heard in the broad sense. For example, the character painting includes a large number of forms that integrate the human figure. It means that the categories do not necessarily includes specifics forms of characters, of birds or flowers.


Japanese prints.


The Emakinomo is an illustrated and horizontal narrative system which took place between the 8th and 16th century. First based on the Chinese pieces – it quickly distinguished itself to have a strict japanese style from the 11th century. It combines calligraphy with illustrations, most of the time painted, drawn or stamped on a paper or silk roll up to several meters. They often depict battles, religion, romance, stories of the supernatural world [Yokai] and folk tales. This different stories are written from right to left and can cover one to three scrolls, a regular handscroll measure 30 centimeters in height and 9 to 12 meters in length.

One of the most celebrated Emakimono is the “Genji Monogatari Emaki” ( made around 1130). It illustrates Muraski Shikibu’s novel “The Tale of Genji”. The japanese novelist and poet at the Imperial court written it between 1000 and 1012 and tell the life and loves of a man Hikaru Genji at the Heian court (794 to 1185).

The genji monogatari is considered as the first novel of the japanese history. The classicism and precision of the tale it depicts clearly how educated was the Heian court.


The Ukyoe genre of art (that we can translate by “pictures of the floating word”) started during Edo period, from the 17th century to the establishment of Meiji in 1868. The concept focused in describing the hedonistic lifestyle in the city with many productions of woodblock prints and paintings. The city was famous for entertainments : kabuki theater, courtesans, sumo wrestlers, erotica and geisha of the pleasure districts. The printed and painted ukiyo-e images from this period were popular with the merchant class who had become wealthy enough to afford to decorate their homes with them.

One of the first artists known for popularizing the genre of ukiyu-e was Hishikawa Moronobu with paintings and monochromatic prints of beautiful women. The use of colors did not take place immediately. It became an essential standard after 1760 with the success of some Harunobu’s productions. The genre known its golden age during the 19th century with extraordinary artists and achievements. Among the most famous were Hokusai and its Great Wave Off Kanagawa or Hiroshige and its series of The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido. However, the genre experienced an inexorable decline just after the death of the two prominent artists. The development of more efficient printing tools, and the birth of a new genre of short strip with image which will become the Manga.

A masterpiece of Ukyoe : The wave of Kanagawa.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa (or The Great Wave), as said before, is a woodblock print by Hokusai. He published it between 1829 and 1833 in his series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. This series of landscape depicts the mount from different locations and in various seasons and weather conditions. It is his most famous work and one of the most celebrated piece of Japanese art in the world. It is also one of the most reproduced and recognized artwork in the world thanks to the Meji Restoration in 1868. Japan became open to imports from the west and many pieces of art came to Europe and America. It influenced many western artists and helped them to better understand Japanese art. This is more true for a lot of western impressionists such as Manet, Monet, Van Gogh and “Art Nouveau” artists like Toulouse-Lautrec.

The image shows an gigantic wave threatening boats off the coast of the prefecture of Kanagawa (southern Kanto region and part of the greater Tokyo Area).

Funny fact: it was not the first time that Hokusai created this kind of woodblock. Two later prints have subjects identical to the Great Wave: a boat is in the midst of a storm and a great wave will devour it.

Cultural drawing accessories

Rice paper.

Asian rice paper is known for great strength and durability. It has a white, soft yet rough surface ideal for woodcut or lino block printing, calligraphy and drawing. Composed of very resistant fibers, it is perfect for Chinese brush painting, inkjet-printing, calligraphy, rubbing, stamping or collage.


Perfect for painting or for calligraphy.



A stamp is used for signatures in personal documents, office paperwork, contracts, art, or any item requiring acknowledgement or authorship.


Modernity and drawing.

Art of drawing in Asia didn’t disappear with the end of ukyoe, it even never been so powerful in one Japanese word : Manga, with a cousin branch named Manhua in south Korea, and an other one in China.

Manga a new contemporary world.

The birth of Manga.

The japanese manga industry started to spread its influence to the world from the 80’s with early famous successes as Akira, written by Katsuhiro Otomo, or a bit later Dragon Ball from Akira Toriyama, which definitely installed manga “shonen” culture in the everyday life of childrens around the world.

Manga spiritual fathers.

Osamu Tezuka [1928 – 1989].

A Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, animator, film producer, medical doctor and activist. His influence , his prolific output , pioneering techniques and innovative redefinition of genres earned him to be considered as the Japanese equivalent of Walt Disney, “the father of manga”, “godfather of manga” and nothing less than “god of manga”.

He founded the studios Mushi Productions and Tezuka Productions. The first japanese animeted series were designed with Astro Boy (1963) and the first colored series King Leo (1965).

He was a true pioneer but above all a source of comfort and hope since 1947 (creation of his first manga “New Treasure Island”) for many young japanes people who lost enormously at the end of World War 2. One of his best achievement was the creation in 1952 of Astro Boy who will mark generations.

Katsuhiro Otomo [1954]

A cartoonist, screenwriter and director of animated films. He is famous for being the creator of Akira and for Steamboy. Also, he created the screenplay of Metropolis, the adaptation of an Osamu Tezuka’s manga in 2001.

His masterpiece Akira and his cinematographic adaptation completely changed the manga and the vision of western people for it. Otomo and his creation were noticed by all the critics and professionals in the world. Akira was translated in the United States in 1988 at a time when the manga was almost unknown outside of Japan. It was the beginning of Japanese comics recognition in the English speaking world.

Akira Toriyama [1955]

He is a manga artist specially known for the creation of Dr Slump but most important for the Dragon Ball universe on which he worked from 1984 to 1995. He draws 42 volumes and about 200 pages each. It became a huge success and is steel considered as one of the most popular and successful manga in the world. Akira sold more than 240 million copies worldwide, it is the second best-selling manga and is one of the main reasons for the period when manga circulation  was at its highest in the 1980s and 1990s. The adaptation in anime was a great success too and boosted anime’s popularity in the western world.

Check out Dragon Ball product on Asia Emarket

“Now” Mangakas.

Eiichiro Oda [born in 1975]

He is the creator of One Piece (1997), the most important best-selling manga of all history with 416 million copies in circulation worldwide.The popularity of the manga is so important in Japan than a lot of volumes broke the highest first print mark (any kind of book). He is now considered as one of the manga artists that changed the history of manga.

Find Hoodies on Gomugomu World.

Hajime Isayama [1986]

The creator of a recent, but already cult, manga: Attack on Titan. Started in 2009, the manga has got already more than 66 million copies in circulation and is considered as one of the most acclaimed Japanese book in the world.

A love for drawing among the public.

A lot of art has been relaeased among the public, we personally love this website because it is one of the most otaku place : , and of course we can find our pleasure on Devianart. More professional Behance is a have to check for everyone who want to spend amazing hours looking at the wonderful painter and drawer around the web.


Modern drawing accessories

The japanese love for drawing brings to the world a new kind of drawing assistant specialized to display actions between person, well adapted to animations, and or drawing.

Body Kun, Body Chan.

Body Kun, body chan - Drawing become easier

Two figures were created for helping amateur and professional drawers in their work. With a female and male aspect, they are respectively called Body Chan and Body Kun. After their decorative aspect and their aestheticism (for recent version – DX) and for a few other uses that professionals can find, their main utility is concentrated in more than 30 joints. These joints are able to create almost identical movements as those of a real human being for a perfect realism.

It is with no doubts a must have because it will facilitate the work without a human model thanks to its morpho-realistic appearance.

The former version is slightly stiffer and comes without accessories. But with more details on the body and the face, it sometimes appeals more than DX version.

Also ?

The DX version has more types of hand and accessories in purpose to find, once again, more possibilities.

Dolk – because we desperately love them.

Dolk is an extremely delightful and articulated figure which is composed of 80 joints. It is realistic and very aesthetic. Also very expensive ($320) and available in a low quantity in stock, it is only for sale on the creator’s website. But its possibilities of movements are so incredible that if you have the possibilities to get it, do not hesitate.


Rx01 is unique by its size 11 inches at decent price, you can find it on Asia Emarket.

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The great wave of Kanagawa, a Hokusai masterpiece.

The great wave of Kanagawa is a masterpiece in japanese Ukyoe art, in art in general and particularly in Japan. Contrary to most famous painter in Western countries, such Van Gogh, Hokusai was very famous in his living time. Numerous biographies surrounds his life, and an animation movie introduced his daughter’s life explaining what it was to be the progeny of the master of Ukyoe.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa (or The Great Wave) is a woodblock print. Hokusai published it between 1829 and 1833 in his series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. This series of landscape depicts the mount from different locations and in various seasons and weather conditions. It is his most famous work and one of the most celebrated piece of Japanese art in the world.

It is also one of the most reproduced and recognized artwork in the world thanks to the Meji Restoration in 1868. Japan became open to imports from the west and many pieces of art came to Europe and America. It influenced many western artists and helped them to better understand Japanese art. This is more true for a lot of western impressionists such as Manet, Monet, Van Gogh and “Art Nouveau” artists like Toulouse-Lautrec.


The image is a Yoko-e, a print in horizontal format which is common for showing a landscape. The original size is about 25 centimeters high by 37 centimeters wide.

It shows three elements: a gigantic wave threatening boats off the coast of the prefecture of Kanagawa (southern Kanto region and part of the greater Tokyo Area) and mount Fuji in the back. Sea is the dominant element of the composition with the representation of a wave which unfolds and dominates the whole scene before it comes down.

It was not the first time that Hokusai created this kind of woodblock. The study of his work suggests that many years of work have been necessary to him for achieving this final print. Two later prints have subjects identical to the Great Wave. A boat is in the midst of a storm and a great wave will devour it.

Kanagawa-oki Honmoku no zu (1803)
Oshiokuri Hato tsusen no zu (1805)

Modern transcription

The Great Wave of Kanagawa were transcript in many supports and reproduced an incalculable number of times. I can be common supports such as canvas, tee-shirts or fans for examples.




The great wave off Kanagawa was many times parodied or recaptured in various forms. Today it is a picture that we encounter in all kinds of different contexts. Like a mix between the great wave and One Piece Universe.



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Kimmidoll – Most asian brand from Australia

The Kimmidoll was created in 2008 by an Australia designer.  Basically, all characters from the universe of Kimmidoll own their name and bring different kind of luck to their owner.

The kimmidoll™ brand was conceived following a long standing passion with elegant decorative gift and homeware items inspired by Eastern culture. The traditional Japanese Kokeshi dolls are a perfect example of this simplistic Eastern beauty.

( source : website)

Kimmidoll in few words :

  • Inspired by Eastern culture.
  • Perfect simple for simplistic eastern.
  • A family of contemporary doll characters.
  • Traditional and modern creative.
  • Values in life’s journey – happiness.
  • Inspired by the beauty of natural.


Some of our favourites Kimidoll :

Mamiko – ‘Friendly’

“My spirit is outgoing and accepting. With your ready smile and natural easy charm, you share my friendly spirit. Through your readiness to accept others as they are, and to give the best of yourself, you live the spirit of friendliness.” ( Source : main website )

Miyuna – ‘Graceful’

“My spirit is enduring and captivating. With your simple yet sophisticated style, you embody the timeless dignity of my spirit. May your natural grace and ageless beauty shine through in everything you do, to inspire all those who love and admire you.” ( Source : main website )

Waki – ‘Dignified’

“My spirit has poise and respectability. You live my spirit by showing composure and grace in every circumstance you tace. May your dignity and quiet humility bing you respect and esteem you deserve ” ( Source : main website )



What makes Kimmidoll so special?

  • These dolls are gorgeous , elegant , cute and beautiful.
  • There lovingly designed that represent “ life’s true values “

Website :

Facebook :

Instagram :

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Hideyuki Katsumata

Japanese illustrator based in Tokyo, Hideyuki Katsumata, has been exploring art mostly through his representation of Yokai (妖怪). A class of supernatural monsters, spirits and demons in Japanese folklore. People can particularly appreciate his “craziness” bringing Yokai in the middle of a luxury brand and his most famous character : Hanauta. The musical style also bring to the video its resonance, here made by PASCALS even if the artist is also a musical composer. He also worked for a few different kind of luxury brands.

The french brand MAD et LEN, by Hideyuki Matsumata.

Hideyuki Katsumata is a regular artist from exhibits in Bangkok, Thailand, at the Goya gallery. His arts use to introduce original monster directly extracted from Japanese mythology.

Master of the gate DCA Dundee - hideyuki Katsumata

You can enjoy a long presentation of the artist by the Herald Scotland about his exhibits in Dundee – where the MASTER OF WALL ( see above ) has been done.

Among his creations there is one character which keep continuing following the work of the artist. Called Hanauta.

Hanauta guitare

Hanauta is also presented in musical composition surrounded by others characters directly coming from the “spiritual world”.

You can see him at the blockhouse in Harajuku, and in various exhibition in Tokyo.

Cover Little dragon _ Machine dreams - Hideyuki Katsumata

Sumo is crying
Mural work at Ikebukuro guesthouse.

WHY Asia Emarket LIKES Hideyuki Katsumata ?

Hideyuki Katsumata artworks are:

  • Strange,
  • Beautiful,
  • Colorful,
  • Good quality,
  • Dark/Sad.

If you are interested by his pieces, you can fin him on facebook:

 His facebook page.

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Ghibli in Pixel art

The Ghibli studios are object to many regards from all over the world, and it’s not a hazard if one of their movie “Spirited away” have been ranked number 4 in best movie of 21st century by the BBC. The colossal work of Ghibli inspire artist, fan artist and geek culture which always find a way to transform it.

In this serie, we will see the best of Ghibli realized in 8 bits as it would appear in old generation of video games. The pixel art as a trend more and more include in a contempory design movement.

Princess Mononoke.

8-bit-Ghibli ashitaka

8-bit-Ghibli Mononoke

Porco Rosso.

8-bit-Ghibli Porco Rosso

Castle in the sky.

8-bit-Ghibli le château dans le ciel


8-bit-Ghibli Pompoko

Howl’s Moving Castle.

Probably one of the most amazing production from Ghibli studio translated in pixel art. The moving castle itself in a first picture, follow by the team in a second.

8-bit-Ghibli le château ambulant

8-bit-Ghibli château ambulant

Kiki’s delivery service.

Or when Kiki and her cat flying with the seagulls.

8-bit-Ghibli Kiki la petite sorcière

My neighbor Totoro

8-bit-Ghibli Totoro bus


All the onirism of one of the most famous character for japanese, Ponyo, before being discovered.

8-bit-Ghibli Ponyo

The cat returns.

8-bit-Ghibli le royaume des chats

8-bit-Ghibli chat

Spirited Away.

A moment immortalized in collective memory or when the Noh-Face purpose all gold he can produce to a “too pure” Chihiro not ready to accept it…

8-bit-Ghibli chihiro bis

… and a more comic situation in the elevator when the little cutie should share the place with a massive, and smelly, guest.

8-bit-Ghibli Chihiro

More than a “like-catching”, we really wanted to share this images from this wonderful studio which always spread onirism in its stories, and realize than the imagery coming from Japanese subculture, and coming from geek subculture becomed a mainstream trend of contemporary age, and not anymore a hidden universe use by some.

Why do we like these designs in AsiaEMaket ?

  • Original
  • Expressive
  • Imaginative

8-bit-Ghibli Logo

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Opportunities to wear kimonos in Japan

The kimono is the most famous traditional Japanese cloth. Before the appartion of western style clothes in Japan, it was refering to all kind of clothing in feudal Japan. With its unique shape “in T”, it is nowadays more known for important occasions. Here is a summary of some opportunities to wear kimono in Japan.

The Shinto wedding.

One of the fundamental religion and one of the oldest in the country, Shinto shows an important respect of nature, family and ancestral traditions. At Shinto weddings, several rites have to be respected. After the rite of “Yuimono” where the groom comes to drink sake with his future wife in purpose to bound families, the couple and close families have to go to the sanctuary for purification and offerings to the gods (Kami). Kimono takes its importance at this moment.


The couple have to wear the traditional ceremony outfits. The bride has to wear the “shiromuku” which is a white kimono with symbols. The crane and lilies are a sign of happiness, that is why they are the most used symbols. The kimono comes in two forms, a thick model extending to the floor and composed of five layers, or a superposition of a dozen of thin and light kimonos.

The groom has only one choice: the traditional kimono which is usually in a dark blue color.

After sanctuary, the newlyweds have to offer gifts to their guests. This is one of the reasons for the extremely expensive cost of these ceremonies (in addition of kimonos).

Since a couple of years, Shinto weddings have been experienced many ups and downs. It was still widespread well into 1970s due to arranged weddings [called “Omiai”]. However, it was out of fashion later with a new preference for Western weddings. It made a return in the 2000s with several local celebrities who decided to get married in a traditional way bringing a renewed interest for the Japanese people.


Onsen is a hot natural spring outcome of volcanic sources and transformed into a bloodbath for spa. These famous baths, which are a real institution in Japan, are generally common and can be indoors or outdoors. Careful for modest people, nudity is generally required. The Yukata is worn before and after the bath.

It really has become over time a custom to travel in an onsen. We can almost talk about pilgrimage when Japanese visit a famous onsen. The best is to go to a Ryokan (a traditional Inn with a private spa).

Very important, onsen is not only used for relaxation. Onsen reputation also comes from the quality of water. Thanks to minerals, its volcanic sources show therapeutic virtues. They have the reputation to ease pain and heal many illness such as diabetes or skin diseases. Balneotherapy naturally appeared. Onsen-therapy should eliminate body malfunctions.

Matsuri (Obon celebration)

The Matsuri is a very popular and religious celebration (Shinto) which takes place in all localities of the country. First of all it is a way to honor the gods. And it is for this reason that Matsuri is held during important moments of the calendar as in spring when people celebrate rice transplantation. Or during summer to protect themselves from typhoons.

Some Matsuris are represented in the form of religious procession and are dedicated to the important deities such as “Amaterasu” the goddess of the sun, or to local deities. Many are those who try to climb mountains because many sanctuaries are established and it is an opportunity to practice religious ceremonies and meditation.

The buddhist matsuri called Obon (more than 500 years old) takes place in summer during the month of ghosts. It allows people to go to their hometown and to honor their ancestors (their spirit is allowed to go back to earth those days). They are responsible to give offerings to the spirits in order to reduce their pain.

To go for a walk in traditional Japan (for axample: in Gion)

When you decide to go for a walk in traditional Japan, you have more opportunities to see kimonos. Indeed, some parts of the country have kept all the folklore and  traditions like nowhere else. This is the case of Gion district.

Gion (today filed largely in the historical heritage, is a Kyoto district which was created for travelers and people interested in visiting adjacent Yasaka sanctuary. This Shinto shrine erected in 656 was rebuilt between 1654 and 1664 in purpose to be dedicated to “Kami Susa-no-o” the God of sea.

Today Gion is known for keeping its traditional architecture. Its “machiya” houses and r”ochaya” tea houses have kept all theur original beauty thanks to repairs organised by the city of Kyoto. The neighborhood is also famous for its Geishas (called Geiko in Gion). You can admire them with traditional clothes during the night but also during the day.