Coming soon to a sidewalk near you is one of Japan’s most original street artists, Hiromitsu Noriyasu, along with his growing cult of fans. The spirited 34-year-old has covered more than 16,000 km over the past seven months on his bicycle tour of Japan, raising funds to finance a film by composing poems for passersby.
At each location — where, because of the media attention Noriyasu’s received, there’s almost always a crowd — several devoted assistants leap out of his calligraphy-covered support van and help arrange the tools of his trade (paper and ink) as well as copies of his nine books to sell. Soon Noriyasu steps up, introduces himself and settles cross-legged on the ground, ready to compose a poem for any and all who request one. He gets paid whatever the recipient deems fair — anywhere from 1 yen to 30,000 yen.