All About Japan

Sand Sculpture Asks Japan to Protect Oceans

| Beaches , Life in Japan

May 30 is Zero Waste Day in Japan (the name is derived from a number pun for five (go), three (mi) and zero (zero), which can be read as gomi zero and means "zero waste." And on this day, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper ran a full-page editorial made to look like a front-page headline titled “Plastics Floating in our Seas.”

Highlighting the devastating impact that plastic is having on sea life, everything from the article headline to the images and text were actually carved into sand on a beach in Japan and photographed from above.

The actual editorial that was carved into sand is the work of artist Toshihiko Hosaka, who specializes in sand sculptures. Hosaka worked with local residents and students at Iioka Beach in Chiba Prefecture to create the massive sand sculpture. It took 11 days to complete and measures 50 x 35 meters (or 164 x 115 feet). Below is a brief excerpt from the text:

The sea does not speak. So, I will speak in its place. Currently, the lives of many creatures in the sea are being taken. The cause is plastic. Plastic bags, plastic bottles, styrofoam… eight million tons of plastic used in everyday life are dumped in places like rivers and the ocean every year, and remains floating as garbage. By swallowing or being entangled in plastic garbage, about 700 species of animals including sea turtles, seabirds, seals, and fish are harmed and killed.

We Japanese are also largely responsible. Japan produces the second most garbage per person. In order to rectify this, we have to take a good hard look at what is happening in the ocean. We need to think about things we have been ignoring as a result of prioritizing economic growth, everyday convenience, and such.

To read the entire text in English, and check out photos that show just how large-scale this sculpture is, read the original article from Spoon & Tamago via the link below!