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Sendai Airport "Kinka Doji Riding the Waves Accompanied by Fujin and Raijin"

Ceramic Relief

Ceramic Relief "Kinka Doji Riding the Waves Accompanied by Fujin and Raijin" / Original Painter and Supervisor : Katsuhiro Otomo / International Arrival Lobby on 1st Floor, Passenger Terminal Building, Sendai Airport / Installed on March 12, 2015 *The production and installation of this art work was subsidized as a CSR and PR project by the Japan Lottery Association. See Original Painting

Production Scene

Artist's Message

Katsuhiro OtomoCartoonist, Movie directorBecause it was produced after the disaster, I myself had a feeling of pray and repose of souls. On the other hand, to avoid too much involvement with the feeling, I also wanted to make a work with entertainment properties and stories, which will make people visiting from the world touch and enjoy this mural.
In the figure that a boy who brings Fujin and Raijin crosses waves and heads towards the future, I put a feeling for the people to confront difficulties with courage.
I hope that it will interest little children and will be an opportunity for children and parents to talk about the disaster and reconstruction.


The figure that Kinka Doji riding on a mechanical goldfish accompanied by Fujin (Wind God) and Raijin (Thunder God) crosses waves and invites auspicious clouds is drawn, and it is imaged that the children who will bear the future confront the great power of nature with contemporary wisdom and go forward with courage even though there are difficulties.
An esquisse (reduced model) was produced while inflating the completion image based on the original painting, and meetings were held carefully as to whether the shaping of the mural was consistent with the shaping intended by the artist. Also from this stage the glaze test was repeated and the type of glaze to be used was examined. Glasses are used for the eyes of the goldfish to make a mechanical image.

Message from Persons Related

Governor, Miyagi Prefecture
Yoshihiro Murai
Owing to the cooperation by Japan Traffic Culture Association, it was decided for the ceramic mural "Kinka Doji Riding the Waves Accompanied by Fujin and Raijin" which was produced based on the original painting by Mr. Katsuhiro Otomo, a cartoonist who is active in the world and comes from Tome city, Miyagi prefecture, to be installed at the international arrival lobby on 1st floor of Sendai Airport Passenger Terminal Building. I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to Mr. Katsuhiro Otomo and everyone who worked on the creation and installation of the mural.
I am convinced that this mural depicting the appearance of Kinka Doji accompanied by Fujin and Raijin, facing great nature and going over wild waves, can give courage and vitality to many people visiting Sendai Airport as well as to the Miyagi citizens working together as a whole for the restoration and reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Sendai Airport has played a role as a gateway to the sky of Miyagi prefecture, Tohoku region since the first private scheduled service started in 1957, and the airport management by private enterprises will be started in 2016, in order to promote further activation of the economy exchanges centered on Sendai Airport. In Miyagi prefecture, we have set the goal of doubling the annual passenger number to 6 million in the future, and we will strive to further improve the convenience for the users as well as to enhance the aviation network, so we appreciate your continued support and cooperation.

Director General, Japan Traffic Culture Association
Hisao Taki
Since its establishment in 1948, Japan Traffic Culture Association has been actively engaged in promoting art and culture. The main pillars are the exhibition project represented by "Traffic Culture Exhibition", the educational projects represented by "Takifuji Foundation" and "International Takifuji Art Award", and the public art promotion project.
There are words that speak for our thoughts working on these projects. They are the next sentence in "Meaning of Art" by Herbert Read.
"Now what we are missing is not an artist, but the masses. Not the art-conscious masses, but the unconsciously artistic masses."
We continue our projects, hoping that the works such as stained glasses and ceramic reliefs installed in public spaces create "the environment where everyone unconsciously touches arts", and help to realize a clear and comfortable society.
In the future, in order to further contribute to the development of Japan's art and culture, our association would like to promote the art academy plan centered on a graduate school of universites, and furthermore the efforts towards institutionalization of "1% for Arts" actively.
We deeply appreciate the many people who cooperated with the work at Sendai Airport this time, and would highly appreciate your contined understanding and cooperation to our efforts including the spread of public arts also.

Catoonist, Essayists, Cartoon critic
Fusanosuke Natsume
How can I express the shock given to us when Katsuhiro Otomo appeared in the mid-1970s.
"We" was a group of amateurs or semi-professional men and women who read, draw and edit cartoons called "Cartoon youth" born out of the postwar baby boomers. While loving the conventional cartoon, but secretly feel a cartoon as a mass of possibility of something completely different, and no one knew what it is.
Some saw a possibility in Yoshiharu Tsuge, "Tomorrow Joe", Kazuhiko Miyaya, Moto Hagio and the erotic cartoon with realistic style, and they tried to formulate any words in a hooked manner. In the latter half of the 1970s, these words began to be called "comic criticism" and abandoned the comic discourses by the previous generation without question.
Someone called the cartoons which were thought as a possibility at the time as "New Wave". Katsuhiro Otomo was at the center. If he were not there, "New Wave" might have been just a fiction by magazines. However, Otomo was definitely new and embodied a mass of possibility.
We were struck by Katsuhiro Otomo straight from the front.
When he became major by "AKIRA" (1982-90) and established the "Otomo myth" leading to the present, we already mythicized Otomo as Moses at Genesis, minor label. Otomo’s keen short stories in 1970s drawn in the taste like new cinema slashed the existing romantic or narrative style of cartoons with single stroke (like a sword that cuts iron), disassembled it, and then headed to reconstruct it around 1980. No one could catch up with Otomo, who was stepping on lightly alone.

Otomo was born in Tome city, Miyagi prefecture in April 1954, and debuted at the age of 19 by "Gunshot" in "Weekly Manga Action (special issue)" in 1973. His short stories which were published after that went to the reverse direction of "Youth cartoon" at that time, called “Gekiga (graphic novel)”, in which the screens were dark, many moving lines were drawn, and bold line drawings and imitation sounds were used frequently. In his short stories, the screen was whitish, characters and scenery were drawn in the same thin homogeneous lines, and his look towards the world was awake. For us "Cartoon youth", it seemed like a symbol that the era has clearly turned, acting like a "one-click" to "erase" the image that was previously considered cartoon.
This incident means that a cartoonist on whom the future of the cartoon depended appeared from the postwar cartoon generation, and we stared at Otomo’s going direction not to overlook momentarily.
When Otomo drew "fire-ball" (1979) which can be said as homage to "Astro Boy", "Domu (A Child's Dream)" (1980-81) like a Kubrick's horror and "Mood is already war" (same) which is a political fiction with an original story by Toshihiko Yahagi, we finally felt that the revolution of the era had finished and it was the time to go on to the next stage.
Around this time, our follower cartoon generation (born around 1960, the so-called "Geek First Generation") caught up with Otomo as the real-time readers, and Otomo became major at once by a series of "AKIRA" in a major youth cartoon magazine that was establishing in 1982. And in 1988, the year before Osamu Tezuka and Showa Emperor disappeared, a theatrical animation "AKIRA" which he directed by himself was released, and then he became a creator known worldwide. It is after that the exchanges and the mutual influences with Moebius, a leading comic artist in France, were told.
Otomo’s paintings had already gained vivid colors, played on shaping like a kaleidoscope, and reached world standards on paper and film. The colored "AKIRA" US version comics received the Eisner Award in 1992. And he received Chevalier on the Order of Arts and Letters from French government in 2005, received Officier in 2014, and won Grand Prize at the Angouleme International Comics Festival in 2015.

Naoki Urasawa born in 1960, who encountered Katsuhiro Otomo at the end of his teens and walked the way to a cartoonist exiting from the influence of Osamu Tezuka, knew Moebius through Otomo and has most of his comics.
When Moebius came to Japan during his lifetime in 2009, I and Urasawa talked with Moebius at a symposium organized by Meiji University. At the place, Moebius said that he had received a strong impression from Otomo before "AKIRA" and had studied as if he had returned to a student, when he had come to Japan a long time ago. Otomo influenced many cartoonists such as Urasawa and Hirohiko Araki and made them aware of the existence of Moebius at the same time, so it became clear that the ring of Otomo - Moebius connected between Japan and the world.
Moebius and Otomo lived together when the world's comics were changing in search of new possibilities and both influenced us by the possibility of the visual expression called cartoon.
If there is some meaning that I, who was born in 1950, talk about the experience that I encountered Otomo with subjective considerations, that is not because I want to further apply his myth. That is because I think now that the epoch "possibilities" that we felt at that time might have included a ring to connect the world. I would like to hand over the task of relating this to a bit more objective and talking about that to another opportunity.

In 2012, Otomo who had been reluctant to display the original drawings opened a full-scale original drawing exhibition "Katsuhiro Otomo GENGA exhibition". However, during the preparation, the Great East Japan Earthquake happened. Otomo applied a part of the proceeds for the aid of the Great East Japan Earthquake and increased the number of the original pictures to be displayed in a hurry.
This ceramic mural "Kinka Doji Riding the Waves Accompanied by Fujin and Raijin" has also the above thoughts. The child who is in the natural force of Fujin and Raijin in this work might be his thought on the next generation as well as a motif often appearing in Otomo's work such as "Domu", isn’t it. The possibility of cartoon is not only in its works or expressions but in our lives and society.


Original Painter and SupervisorKatsuhiro Otomo PlannerJapan Traffic Culture Association
LocationInternational Arrival Lobby on 1st Floor, Passenger Terminal Building, Sendai Airport Map ProducerCREARE Atami-Yugawara Studio
Installed on March 12, 2015 SponsorJapan Lottery Association
TypeCeramic Relief NewsAt Sendai Airport, a huge ceramic relief designed by OTOMO Katsuhiro receives its public presentation
SizeH2.8m × W8.7m
KeywordsDoji , Waves , Fujin , Raijin , Mechanical Goldfish


Original Painter and SupervisorKatsuhiro Otomo
LocationInternational Arrival Lobby on 1st Floor, Passenger Terminal Building, Sendai Airport Map
Installed on March 12, 2015
TypeCeramic Relief
SizeH2.8m × W8.7m
KeywordsDoji , Waves , Fujin , Raijin , Mechanical Goldfish
PlannerJapan Traffic Culture Association
ProducerCREARE Atami-Yugawara Studio
SponsorJapan Lottery Association
NewsAt Sendai Airport, a huge ceramic relief designed by OTOMO Katsuhiro receives its public presentation


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