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Street art is a way of describing random art that pops up on the…boulevard. Most countries have it, and while most cities would prefer to keep it off the streets, it definitely provides a city with some character.

Although not that common in Japan, it does show up from time to time. A city in Nagano has been experiencing a bit of unlawful artistry and it has been going on for the past four years! Could Japan have their own version of infamous street artist Banksy? You can call this slow-working artist by their new name, “RiverBanksy“!

The citizens of Ueda City in Nagano Prefecture have been wondering for the past four years, who in the world is secretly making a stone statue. When the residents first saw it appear on the riverbed of the Chikuma River, they were very intrigued. As time has passed, little by little, the artist has been adding to the sculpture. Locals are wondering if the statue is near its completion or needs another four years of additions.

The Chikuma Riverside Office of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has erected a small fence around the statue in order to keep children from climbing on it and potentially injuring themselves.

There are also signs reminding everyone about the laws governing the river which prohibit the act of establishing unauthorized art as well as some that ask the artist come forward.

While the statue has been worked upon for four years, none of the locals have any idea who is making it. A nearby shop owner said, “I haven’t seen the person who works on it even once. They are probably working on it in the middle of the night.”

No one is really sure what the subject of the statue is either. Some speculate that it looks like a Nebuta float or a character from Ganbare Goemon, or even Sanada Yukimura from the Sengoku Basara series.

There also appears to be a dragon painted on the statue, which lookssuspiciously like the dragon from Dragon Ball especially since it’s holding the Four-Star Dragon Ball…

Despite the mystery and the fact that it’s technically not allowed, Ueda city residents are actually quite happy with the statue. It has become something of a local landmark and many people come to visit it during the week. A resident who lives close by said, “Thanks to the statue, Ueda has gotten a lot of attention. There are plenty of people who want the statue to be left alone.”

Even if it is against the rules, the ministry doesn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to take it down. Thankfully, this leaves the secretive artist plenty of time to finish the work. Too bad that person will probably never be able to take credit for it.

Source: Chunichi Shimbun via Kinisoku
Top Image: Twitter (@pozipozico37)