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Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Japanese Love Their Manholes

Stop it right now. Apparently, there is such a large community of manhole afficionados in Japan that a new website has been launched featuring pictures of the best. along with details as to their location. Japan is a country known for their many and varied fetishes, and while this one barely meets the criteria for fetishism, what is less well-known is that Japanese manholes feature artistic representations of many cultural events, icons, and associated sights and scenes.

Ittemia Zensen allows users to upload pictures of manhole covers along with GPS information on its location. The website was designed to merge online and offline experiences, as well as discover obscure treasures in the manhole hobby (cut it out). It also features pages dedicated to other motifs, like traffic signs and train station signs.

In 1983, the Construction Ministry demanded manufacturers create manhole covers with distinct designs to raise awareness of sewer construction. 20 sewer manhole covers were selected. Now, local municipalities compete to have their design chosen.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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