Decorative Japanese Manholes, Promoting its Cities

Japanese manhole covers are among one of the uniquest of the countries in regards to the states efforts to promote its art work and its success. The decorations on the orb-shaped picturesque caps connect with its area presenting itself as an image or symbol of its residing region. 

The manhole covers, starting from the top left hand corner going across, are from different locations in Nara, Osaka, Tokyo, Miyajima, Himeji, Okayama, Himeji, Disneyland and Sapporo.「Photo by: Flickr@Ruth Hartnup」

The manhole covers, starting from the top left hand corner going across, are from different locations in Nara, Osaka, Tokyo, Miyajima, Himeji, Okayama, Himeji, Disneyland and Sapporo.「Photo by: Flickr@Ruth Hartnup」

According to a Japan Times article by Mizuho Aoki, heavily designed Japanese manhole covers have become popular in Japan along with its free collectible cards released during April of this year (to further promote the sewage coverings) by Japan's Sewage Promotion Platform, the GKP or referred in Japanese as the Gesuido Kho Purattoformu. 

The GKP organization produced many more of its collectibles adding on 30,000 additional edition due to the cards towering fame. 

The story behind the cover's decorative turn started in the 1980s when Japan's cities started to encourage a positive image for Japan's sewage systems. 

The manhole artists, who are the manhole cover manufactures, sends their blue print manhole drawings to its affiliated city where town representatives pick out there most preferring design and authorizes its production. 

The unintimidating fugu portraited capping in the city of Shimonoseki is an appropriate identification for the city, known as the fugu capital of Japan and is notable for its natively collected fugu produce, being the heftiest in Japan.「Photo by: Flickr@x768」

The unintimidating fugu portraited capping in the city of Shimonoseki is an appropriate identification for the city, known as the fugu capital of Japan and is notable for its natively collected fugu produce, being the heftiest in Japan.「Photo by: Flickr@x768」

Manhole enthusiasts or fans, who collect photos and information about the coverings, test their knowledge by hypothesizing on why particular images were chosen to represent itself as manhole designs, where the portraits are most usually correlated to its area. Decorations on manholes differ by city to city in Japan. The manhole's art corresponding to its city is very unique compared to other countries with beautiful manhole craftsmanship. 

Manhole partisans have a variety of ways in capturing the recordings of the circular art covers from taking pictures to some going to lengths by making inked paper-imprints of the circular subterranean covers. 

An example of Hakodate, Japan's subsurface rounded closing depicts one of the cities notable seafood edibles, the squid, which can be eaten relatively fresh as it mimics a dancing motion as its served with soy sauce there.「Photo by: Flickr@Photocapy」

An example of Hakodate, Japan's subsurface rounded closing depicts one of the cities notable seafood edibles, the squid, which can be eaten relatively fresh as it mimics a dancing motion as its served with soy sauce there.「Photo by: Flickr@Photocapy」

In an article from Colossal on Japanese manholes by Johnny Strategy, describes a further reason behind the start to a more frequently produced artful underground covers. The website writing indicates that the explanation for the evolution of Japanese manhole configurations were attributed with the municipalities' efforts to satisfy the public while there were concerns on the city's raising taxes toward pricey sewage operations. 

The Colossal composition further illustrates that, in behalf of artist contenders and pictured issues that followed one after another, the flush aesthetic coverings took its startling leap toward a favorable trend. 

The archaic-appearing manhole in Kumihama, a town in Kyoto Perfecture, perhaps accredited by the Damyojin Cape, resembling that of a dragon soaring on the sea-surface at a certain angle. Legend has it that the avatar of a dragon lives in this area. 「Photo by: Flickr@OKFoundryCompany」

The archaic-appearing manhole in Kumihama, a town in Kyoto Perfecture, perhaps accredited by the Damyojin Cape, resembling that of a dragon soaring on the sea-surface at a certain angle. Legend has it that the avatar of a dragon lives in this area. 「Photo by: Flickr@OKFoundryCompany」

A few years ago roughly 6000 visually technical manhole lids were reported all over Japan by the "Japan Society of Manhole Covers". One of their discovery includes a classification for pictured sewage cover's design, the most common being tree illustrations, following optic representations of landscapes, flowers and birds - the pictorial iconographies all encourage the wellness and the individuality of their respective towns thus advertising their municipal area in its own exclusive manner. 

The cute manhole in Hiroshima portrays the logo of its professional baseball team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.「Photo by: Flickr@midorisyu」

The cute manhole in Hiroshima portrays the logo of its professional baseball team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.「Photo by: Flickr@midorisyu」

An editorial on the Kuriositas website "about the art of Japanese Manhole", introduces a quote from English Philosopher, Jermey Bentham, where he casts in writing that "stretching [one's] hand up to reach the stars, too often [one] forgets the flowers at [its] feet." The cited words is meant to interconnect with the description of how Japan's structural elaborations plays a part to the little aspects of the city's overall structures and perhaps leave one marveled by seeing the humbling circular decorations on the ground. The ornate, but self-effacing manhole perhaps is, in this case, one of the prime examples of Japan's thorough designs that exist throughout its establishment. 

Evidently, it's perhaps the creative expenditure put into the manholes and its competition between respective artists and cities that have incited devotees and have cultivated into its own faming culture.