Sunday, June 11, 2006

Iwate Graffiti

NAINE  at the Wisteria Bridge
['NAINE' written under a bridge in Oshu City]

There isn't a lot of graffiti in Iwate but it's out there. You can find it if you look around a bit. I often see it spray painted under bridges or on the sides of buildings. While the quality of the work can be quite good the local artists don't seem to go for the large, elaborate and colorful designs found in other parts of the globe.

Yami - Naine One - 闇 - Mizusawa
[Darkness - Naine One - 197]

Here is a large creation from under a bridge near my house in Oshu City. The large Chinese character in the middle is apparently 'yami;' darkness in English.

To the left is 'NAINE ONE' written in Latin letters. It is by far the most common tag I've found in Iwate and I suppose it must be the name of a gang! I've not seen a 'NAINE TWO' so I'm guessing it must mean that NAINE is number one. Naine can also be translated as, "There isn't any, you know," or something like that.

On the right, below the asterix, is 197 in Chinese characters; "一九七." Often numbers can be read as words and this one could be read as, "Don't come here." "いくな" in Japanese. The territorial implications are clear!

Below that is what I suppose to be the artist's signature. It's beyond my ability to make out! These are regularly painted over by the authorities. They have a boring grey paint they use which other paint washes off of easily.

CHILL - Morioka
[CHILL by Takahashi - Morioka]


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