An electrician by day and banana artist by night, Keisuke Yamada has attained renown at home and abroad for his banana sculptures.
Working with a spoon and toothpick, the 27-year-old resident of Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, carves comical faces or popular manga characters on bananas. Each work takes about 30 minutes to complete before it is photographed and posted on the Internet.
He eats the waste as he goes, taking photos of each work before scarfing the lot.
“It’s perishable food so I cannot keep it around. I eat them all once I have finished carving them,” he said.
He first started cutting bananas into shapes in May 2010 during a long public holiday. Yamada had nothing to do that day and as he stared at a banana on his dining table, he thought it might be interesting to carve a face into it.
It turned out better than he expected, so he posted it online to astounding results.
People left comments, saying it was a true work of art, an original idea and so real and scary. Yamada thus began acquiring an ever growing number of online followers.
Yamada posts the images mainly to his blog and to Facebook. Some of the works are of animals or faces, while others are recognizable movie or manga characters.
Foreign media, too, have covered his work. A fruit company that heard of his work once sent him a package of 160 bananas.
Although he is always keen to improve his sculpting, Yamada is strict about wasting food and carves only as much as he can eat.
“Some people have criticized me for using food for my art, but I’d like more people to see it,” Yamada said.
This section, appearing Saturdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published on May 27.