The cherry tree in blossom has a particular significance in Japanese culture, acting as a metaphor for the Buddhist idea of the transience of life. As a result, Ayerlego’s choice to showcase the vibrant pink blooms in his LEGO recreation of an elegant Japanese garden adds an extra level of authenticity to his build. The tree is expertly constructed, carefully arranging its multiple flower stem elements to create the symbolically significant firework-like burst of colour. Setting it against well-selected additions such as the ornamental fish statuettes at the bridgehead, and kimono girl mini-figure completes an aesthetically pleasing display of traditional Japanese life.
Two or three carefully selected elements are all it takes to create something truly elegant from LEGO and ItouN’s samurai girl Suika makes this a case in point. Combining inverted wedge and red ball joint elements to create flared britches is inspired building at its best. It’s a trend that continues throughout, from the clip plates that double as braided hair through to the pointed red boots; everything here works towards a coherent aesthetic vision. Simplicity in this instance is the very essence of beauty.
The flower-laden gardens and open paddy fields that surround Rollon Smith’s Snake Samouraï Temple create a beautifully secluded retreat for the noble Japanese warrior. What I find really appealing about this scene is the way the well-selected decorative details, such as the serpent reliefs and the various printed tiles, are balanced against an obviously tended natural landscape.
Zooming in you find the minifigure inhabitants of the temple caught in the acts of harvesting rice, pruning plants and raking gravel; and it’s this little nod to Zen aesthetic practice that ultimately makes for such a satisfying build.
When it comes to Japanese art, one of the most iconic pieces produced during the late Edo period was Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” This masterpiece helped to inspire the character of Hatsusika Hokusai, found in the free-to-play role-playing-game (RPG) Fate/Grand Order. Mike Dung has made two versions of this character, including a cute chibi figure. In the chibi-build, Mike’s brick-built wave is instantly recognizable and beautiful representation of Hokusai’s artwork. The wave in the other model is cleverly built with several trans-light blue garage door pieces.
If you’ve never seen a red-crowned crane, they are certainly a site to behold. Standing at 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, with a wingspan of 7-8 feet, and weighing up to 25 Lbs (over 11 Kg), these endangered creatures are among the largest birds in the world. Their mating dance is also incredible! Native to East Asia, the sacred cranes have significant symbolism in Japanese tradition. They represent luck, longevity, and fidelity, and they often show up in art, like this elegant diorama by ggwingx.
The background and base are a perfect tribute to the homeland of these beautiful animals. But what really stands out is the terrific use of those white clamshells, and black and white feather pieces to really give them dimension. The legs, necks, and heads are also clever. Altogether it’s a great use of simple parts to make something that truly embodies the gracefulness of these creatures.
Some of the best builders are the ones who are constantly trying to push the envelope of what LEGO can do. And arguably, some of the best builds are a tale of two parts. When you get two great builders together, there is no telling what innovative works of art they might come up with. Shinmizu Village by the brother-sister duo of Geneva (Kai NRG/Geneva) and Isaiah (Robert4168/Garmedon)is a great example of such a creation. At first glance, it’s a beautiful little village on a cliff. But there is more to the story! According to the builders, it’s a mash-up between Venice and Japanese design. And apparently, achieving the angles of the layout was quite a feat!