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Thursday, 10th November 2016
In General Japan News,

New scooter license plates in Tokyo celebrate great art

The scooter license plates in Japan have always been far more creative than those for cars, but the newest version is likely to outshine all the others.

Scooter owners in the Sumida ward of Tokyo looking to update their vehicle will find that some of the most recognisable artwork ever to come out of Japan adorns the plate.

Designers have taken inspiration from Hokusai, who created The Great Wave off Kanagawa woodblock print.

In fact, it is the wave, along with depictions of Mount Fuji and Tokyo’s Skytree tower that feature on the plate.

The shape of the plate has also been modified, so instead of a perfectly rectangular one, the top left-hand side has been curved to mimic the wave.

Bureaucrats were not left to make the decision about the new designs alone but enlisted the help of students, who submitted ideas for the plate.

It also turns out that Hokusai is a popular choice for important documents, as his artwork will feature in the newest version of Japanese passports when they are rolled out.

The artist was born in the mid-1700s in an area of Japan that is now Sumida ward and favoured a technique known as ukiyo-e woodblock printing to create his masterpieces.

Later this month (November 22nd), a new museum will also open up in the district to honour the artist and allow visitors to learn more about his life and techniques.

Scooter license plate spotting is a fun pastime in Japan, as the designs are issued on a fairly local basis, meaning small communities can be represented through their culture.

Some districts have even taken inspiration from manga to create memorable license plates for their scooter owners.

Related news stories:
New hot springs resort opens in Tokyo (20th July 2016)
Tokyo to introduce 2 new subway lines (13th July 2015)