Sexism and discrimination have been rather hot topics here in Japan following an unpleasant incident at a Tokyo political assembly on June 18, during which female politician Ayaka Shiomura was taunted and mocked by assembleymen while giving a speech about pregnant women and working mothers.

In response, world-famous Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has taken the unusual step of creating and hanging a series of portraits of the politician in his Tokyo cafe.

Japan was thrown under the international spotlight earlier this week when it was reported that two unidentified politicians had jeered at 35-year-old Your Party member Ayaka Shiomura during a Tokyo assembly debate, reducing her to tears with sexist jibes including “Why don’t you hurry up and get married? and asking if she was incapable of bearing children of her own.

Despite initially denying having any involvement in the incident, 51-year-old Akihiro Suzuki, a member of Prime Minister Abe’s own Liberal Democratic Party, ultimately came forward to issue an apology for his part in the incident. A second perpetrator, who is believed to belong to the same party, has yet to be identified.

▼ The LDP member attempted to explain his remarks at a recent news conference

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Now, in a rather unexpected move, contemporary artist Takashi Murakami has unveiled an impromptu exhibition of sorts at his Nakano cafe and art space Bar Zingaro.

Featuring pop art-style images of Ayaka Shiomura as she recently appeared in the media on top of the smiling, multicoloured flower motifs Murakami is known to use in his paintings, the portraits hang proudly on the wall of the cafe as if in recognition of the politician’s triumph over adversity.

▼ Bar Zingaro, feat. Ayaka Shiomura




▼ The images are definitely unusual, but they’re incredibly striking

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How long the portraits will remain on the walls of Bar Zingaro is anyone’s guess, but if you want to check them out in person you can find directions to and more information about the cafe on its official web page.

Source: KAI-YOU
Photos republished with the permission of KAI-YOU