National

Possible Banksy artwork of umbrella-toting rat displayed at Hinode Pier in Tokyo

Kyodo

An artwork possibly by anonymous street artist Banksy was put on display Monday at a Tokyo pier near where it was found late last year, following requests from residents.

The picture of a rat holding an umbrella and a bag was found spray-painted last December on a metal flood barrier close to Hinode Pier in Tokyo. It is free to view at a waiting area for passengers between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., and will be on display indefinitely.

The picture, no bigger than a sheet of office paper, closely resembles one found in a collection Banksy is said to have created in Tokyo in 2003.

But it remains unclear whether the piece is actually by Banksy. Attempts to contact the elusive England-based artist to confirm its validity remain unanswered, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which had removed the work from its original location and stored it in a warehouse.

“Next year will be the year of the mouse (in the Chinese astrological calendar) so it feels as if I’ve managed to get luck on my side,” said 67-year-old Kaori Yone from the city of Kagoshima. “It’s a cute work and I think it’s (a) real (Banksy work.) I want to brag about getting to see it.”

The drawing was exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in April, attracting around 35,000 people.

“We cannot tolerate graffiti (on public property) but thought it would contribute to enlivening Hinode Pier,” a metropolitan government official said.