Japanese tech entertainment label HYTEK has launched the STREET ART LINE PROJECT to "create new paths" for the visually impaired through the power of art. The first phase of the project will be held from April 28th (Wed.) to May 9th (Sun.) in the corridor outside Shibuya Scramble Square in Tokyo, where two artists will work together to make Braille blocks more accessible to the visually impaired and more recognizable to the able-bodied.


In recent years, urban development has been taking place in many parts of Japan, updating not only culture but also urban functions, making the city more and more convenient. On the other hand, when we look at Braille blocks, which serve as a path for the visually impaired, we find that some of them are peeling off, others are blocked by people stuck in pedestrian traffic or various signboards, and yet others have not even been laid down in the first place. In order to solve this problem, the "STREET ART LINE PROJECT" will develop Braille blocks enhanced through the power of art, thus creating a path for the visually impaired to enjoy the city, while educating the able-bodied.

The theme of the first project is "The Sun and Yatagarasu." The sun shines on people, and the Yatagarasu 八咫烏, a mythical three-legged crow with a wingspan eight times that of a normal crown, plays the role of shadow. At the same time, in Japanese mythology, the Yatagarasu is the god of guidance, an apt image to decorate Braille blocks.

Comments from Executive Committee member 白井崇陽 Takaaki Shirai

As a visually impaired person (I can only see light), I usually rely on Braille blocks when walking. Especially when I am in a new place, the Braille blocks are my lifeline. However, I feel that many of the Braille blocks in the city are broken or not laid out at all, which is a daily problem for me. According to a survey by the Executive Committee, 93 of the tourist attractions listed by the Shibuya City Tourism Association are completely connected with Braille blocks (*field observations as of April 2021, excluding closed tourist spots.) Other visually impaired people have said, "It would be easier to walk if Braille blocks more completely connected. Others have said, "It would be easier to walk if there were more Braille blocks," or "There are places I really want to go, but I can't because there are no Braille blocks." We hope that, through this project, we can change this situation, gradually increasing the number of streets in the city where visually impaired people can walk unassisted, while also raising awareness of these challenges among able-bodied people.

STREET ART LINE PROJECT Executive Committee member 白井崇陽 Takaaki Shirai

Phase One Participating artists


Born in 1986 in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture. In his late teens, he was influenced by graffiti and street art and began his career as a graffiti artist. He has honed his skills in live painting with an emphasis on freestyle, and paints in an abstract style that combines Japanese traditional motifs, nature, and urban images. At the same time, he is also an art director and designer for commercial designs and has worked on many advertisements for major companies. He is also one of the members of the art group 輪派絵師談 RinpaEshidan and is involved in many artworks.



Born in Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture in 1983. Focused on the concept of "circulation" and "mystery," he follows the Golden Spiral as he creates works combining Western textiles, traditional Japanese patterns, graffiti and calligraphy. In daily life, he draws inspiration from travel, skateboarding, music, people, and nature. He has been painting since he was a child, and in his adolescence, he started drawing on the streets, skate parks, as well as scrap wood and cardboard. He has always considered his work to be a reflection of his travels and emotions, and has hitchhiked all over Japan and traveled around the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. He has been strongly influenced by people who love street art and subcultures around the world. In the past 10 years, he has painted more than 400 live paintings on the streets, in clubs, galleries, and skateboard parks in Japan and abroad, and has painted more than 30 murals in Japan alone. He has performed at the Fuji Rock Festival, the largest music festival in Japan, for 5 consecutive years and designed their official T-shirt. He has also painted at the annual camping event organized by Element Skateboards, and has established his own unique style of painting by combining crossover culture with the curvilinear beauty and colors of nature that he observed in his travels around the world.


Promotional posters by the STREET ART LINE PROJECT

  • Top Left: "Japan is a country still lacking in paths."
  • Top right: "Without paths, we can't see the city."
  • Center left: "This city has 93 famous tourist spots but there are no paths for us to reach them."
  • Center right: "Even though this is Tokyo, it has no paths."
  • Bottom: "We don't want to create outcasts just because there are no paths."

For more information, visit the STREET ART LINE PROJECT website here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.