In 2019, a painting of a single rat was found in Minato Ward, Tokyo. There was a commotion that the rat may have been painted by the street artist Banksy.

Banksy is an anonymous artist and his identity has not been revealed. He suddenly appears in cities around the world, leaving graffiti works on walls and bridges, etc.

Many of his works carry messages of anti-war, anti-violence, and anti-capitalism, along with black jokes. One of Banksy's most famous works is "Girl with Balloon," shown below. The balloons represent "hope" and "symbol of freedom." It was painted on various walls around London.

The discovery of Banksy's work in Japan was triggered by a certain Twitter post by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on January 17.

This Twitter post by Governor Koike led to reports in media around the world. However, it cannot be seen at this location because the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, anticipating a commotion, removed it the day before. Currently, it is open to the public at the Hinode Pier No. 2 Ship's Passenger Waiting Area. Although the painting has been carefully preserved, there is no absolute proof that it is really Banksy's work.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has contacted Banksy, but he has never explicitly stated that he painted it. The reason is that, unlike ordinary art, this work was painted on a public facility, which is a so-called crime. He would not testify because he might be arrested or be required to pay compensation for damages.

However, there is a record that Banksy visited Japan in September 2002 to hold an exhibition in Osaka. It is said that the painting may have been made during his visit to Japan.

Assuming the rumors are true:

  • How is it possible that we haven't noticed Banksy's paintings in Tokyo for 17 years?
  • The fact that the first person to discover the painting was the Governor of Tokyo is a little suspicious

However, it turned out that the rat painting taken by Governor Koike was a typical work that Banksy often painted in the early 2000s. There is also a fact that the staff member managing the site recognized the graffiti as being more than 10~15 years old confirms the inference that it was painted in 2002.

However, since the opening of the "Banksy Exhibition" in Japan was announced a few days after the discovery by Governor Koike, I still believe that there is more to the story...!

Because he is such an enigmatic man, the whole world is definitely enthusiastic about him. Let's keep an eye on his future activities!

Decorate your room with graphic artwork!

Check the works of Japanese artist who is influenced by Banksy.