• Kyodo


Graffiti on a seawall in Chiba Prefecture resembling the work of Banksy has sparked speculation over whether it is a piece by the elusive street artist, and it comes about a month after another possible work by the painter and activist was found in the nation’s capital.

The drawing in Tokyo sparked excitement, with authorities saying they plan to check its authenticity. But the work found in the coastal town of Kujukuri in Chiba, which resembles Banksy’s noted “Girl with Balloon,” may end up causing disappointment.

“As it seems to have been drawn recently, I guess it may be a copy by a fan,” Yoshitaka Mori, an expert on the works of the U.K.-based artist, said, while noting he has not seen the actual graffiti on the concrete seawall at the fishing port.

The drawing of a 1-meter-tall girl in monochrome and a red heart-shaped balloon was noticed by port officials on Monday after an inquiry from a media outlet, according to the town in Chiba Prefecture.

An official overseeing the port, appearing surprised by the attention, said there is no plan to ask for experts’ judgement on the authenticity of the graffiti.

Mori, a professor at Tokyo University of the Arts, said he could not “think of any reason why Banksy, who in recent years has been busy traveling around the world and constantly producing works, should come to Japan secretly and create works.”

Banksy, whose identity is known only to a few people, has produced works of art on walls and other locations all over the world. In October he caused controversy after he shredded the piece “Girl with Balloon” during an auction in London.

In Tokyo, a drawing — no bigger than a sheet of office paper — of a rat holding an umbrella and bag was discovered on a metal flood barrier near Hinode Station on the Yurikamome train line in the bay area of Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government in January removed the part of the barrier on which the mysterious work is drawn and put it in a warehouse due to concerns that the image, which has already been shared online, may attract too many visitors.

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