OSAKA, Japan (The Japan News/ANN) – An old shipbuilding district of Osaka has become a hotspot of sorts for a certain subculture known as kabejo— young women who love wall art.
These women enjoy snapping selfies in front of huge works of art painted across entire walls, and then upload their pop-art enhanced selves to social media sites.
I decided to visit this holy site for kabejo — located in the Kitakagaya district in Suminoe Ward, Osaka — to see the artistic spectacle with my own eyes.
Upon emerging from Kitakagaya Station on the Osaka Metro line in Suminoe Ward, Osaka, I was confronted with an unexpectedly ordinary town dotted with convenience stores, factories, a hospital, an elementary school and other buildings.
However, after entering a small lane branching off from Kagaya Elementary School, the ordinary gave way to extraordinary as I ran smack into a huge image of a boy.
Titled, appropriately enough, “A BOY,” the image by young artist Seiko Sakatani adorns a wall facing a parking lot. When a car is parked in front of the wall, it looks like the boy is playing with a toy car. On an opposite wall, popular video game character Super Mario performs his signature jump.
As I continued my stroll through ordinary-looking residential roads, I found myself under the gaze of Maetel, a character in the popular anime series “Galaxy Express 999,” and then encountered a female gymnast performing a high jump over a car stopper made to look like a balance beam.
The wall art comes in various sizes and styles and appears suddenly on street corners throughout the town, making a visit to the Kitakagaya district feel like a treasure hunt.