Japan from Miniatures - Tatsuya Tanaka

The works of photographer Tatsuya Tanaka will be on display in Latin America for the first time. Photographs and scale models depict the landscape and culture of Japan using “mitate,” a traditional Japanese concept that suggests new interpretations of everyday objects


May 16 to October 15, 2023

Tuesday to Friday

from 10 am to 6 pm


from 9 am to 7 pm

Sundays and holidays

from 9 am to 6 pm


free admission

Early booking (optional)

click here

The exhibition has accessibility features



Visit the exhibition with the virtual tour 360º


Japan from miniatures - Tatsuya Tanaka

Cherry blossoms, the striking presence of Mount Fuji, the sushi restaurants on mats, the practice of manual and martial arts, in addition to traditional Japanese festivities are just a few of the scenes portrayed in miniatures - using the “mitate” concept - by the Japanese photographer Tatsuya Tanaka, which will be on display at Japan House São Paulo from May 16 to October 15, 2023, with free admission.


Perspective and scale change

Shells, food items such as noodles and sushi, makeup items, straws, clothespins, fans, among other everyday Japanese objects, are used in 37 works, which will be divided into five main groups: Seasons and their events, scenes from traditional Japan, scenes from modern Japan, everyday life, and traditional practices.

In the original exhibition “Japan from Miniatures - Tatsuya Tanaka”, visitors will be able to recognize brush bristles that turn into rice crops, Japanese fermented soy packaging, natto, which is reminiscent of the architecture of an important Japanese castle, sushi lined up on mats reminiscent of trains and cars in traffic, and even green straws that could be confused with a bamboo grove based on the perspective and scale change.

The "mitate" concept

Known internationally for his Miniature Calendar project in social media, Tanaka illustrates the “mitate” concept throughout his work, in which miniature art is photographed with a theme of diorama dolls and everyday objects.

“Mitate” is believed to be rooted in the Japanese culture - which has always lived in harmony with nature - to compensate for missing or empty objects using imagination. The literature, the tea ceremony, gardening, Edo period entertainment (Kabuki and Rakugo), and gastronomy still retain this aesthetic sense.

“These small universes he creates are marked by his almost fantastic perception, which is reminiscent of a child’s pure imagination of things, constantly renewing and reformulating their meanings,” explains Japan House São Paulo cultural director and exhibition curator Natasha Barzaghi Geenen.

Furthermore, Tanaka also makes a point of incorporating a small forest of broccoli, the vegetable that first inspired him to make miniatures and photographs, into the exhibition that welcomes visitors to the Japan House São Paulo space: “It was broccoli that inspired me to look at the objects and think of other ways to use them. When I say that they look like trees, people all over the world can relate to that idea”, he remarks.

Original scale model inspired in Brazil

The exhibition also features an original scale model created specifically for this exhibition in Brazil and based on conversations between the artist and JHSP. Rice and beans were the primary materials used.

“When I heard about ‘feijoada,’ a dish that is eaten with rice, as well as karê, I started considering the possibility of using this typical dish to express white sand and the sea. I also found out that there are sidewalks in Rio de Janeiro, by the beach, with patterns of waves made of black and white stones. That is what comes to my mind when I think of Brazil. Japanese people are also familiar with black beans and rice; I think that despite being on opposite sides of the world, Brazil and Japan have similar aspects in their cultures,” says the photographer.

To further enhance these small universes, the expography relies on minimalism and on a variety of observation perspectives, offering its visitors the possibility of viewing some works through magnifying glasses, standing, or sitting, taking in all angles.

Lecture with Tatsuya Tanaka

As part of his first visit to Brazil, especially for setting up this exhibition, Tanaka will give a lecture on May 16, at 7 pm, about his work, career, and inspirations, broadcast live on JHSP YouTube channel

Accessible JHSP program

Within the JHSP Accessible program, the exhibition “Japan from Miniatures - Tatsuya Tanaka” also includes tactile features, audio descriptions, and sign language through QR Codes provided in the exhibition space.

About Tatsuya Tanaka

Tatsuya Tanaka

Born in Kumamoto, Japan, in 1981, he graduated from Kagoshima University’s School of Education. He is a photographer and, since 2011, has conducted the “Miniature Calendar” project, in which he reimagines and reframes everyday objects, proposing miniature scenes and images. Since then, he has presented his creations on the Internet every day.

With unusual works that bring together elements of surprise and humor, the miniature artist connects with the audience both online and in person, holding exhibitions in Japan and internationally. His account on Instagram has more than 3.7 million followers, and his exhibitions that circulate in Japan and the world have already been seen by more than two million people. Tanaka took part in Expo Dubai 2020 as the creator of the Japanese pavilion, and is the author of the books “MINIATURE LIFE”, “Small Wonders”, “MINIATURE TRIP IN JAPAN”, “Assemble and Resemble ‘KuMitate’”, and “SUSHI came to buy clothes”.



“Japan from Miniatures - Tatsuya Tanaka” Exhibition

#JapãoEmMiniaturas #TatsuyaTanakaNaJHSP

Period: May 16 to October 15, 2023
Cost: Free admission
The exhibition has accessibility resources (Sign language, audio descriptions, tactile elements).

Early booking (optional): https://agendamento.japanhousesp.com.br

Japan House São Paulo | ground floor
Location: Avenida Paulista, 52 – Bela Vista, São Paulo

Opening hours: 
Tuesday to Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm
Saturdays, from 9 am to 7 pm
Sundays and holidays, from 9 am to 6 pm.

Japan House São Paulo remains closed on Mondays, without exception, including on holidays.

Lecture “Discovering the World of Miniatures by Tatsuya Tanaka”

When: May 16 at 7 pm
Where: YouTube
Duration: 60 min
Simultaneous Portuguese/Japanese translation

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