Japanese Portraits, Nigaoe

 
Nigaoe artists at work in Odaiba.

Nigaoe artists at work in Odaiba.

Hand-drawn face portraits (Nigaoe 似顔絵) or charactures are very popular in Japan. You can often find an artists sitting by the side of the road in busy shopping locations or inside shopping malls like you can see in these pictures.

Lots of people lining up to have their picture drawn.

Lots of people lining up to have their picture drawn.

The artists look to be concentrating hard when they are drawing. Must be tough to sit in one place for a long time and focus.

The artists look to be concentrating hard when they are drawing. Must be tough to sit in one place for a long time and focus.

Looking at the display boards, the pictures all look very good.

Looking at the display boards, the pictures all look very good.

Would you get a picture by yourself or with a friend? The group shots look quite good too, don't they?

Would you get a picture by yourself or with a friend? The group shots look quite good too, don't they?

One of the nigaoe artists in concentration mode. Lots of people lining up for this one. I think she might have be on TV before.

One of the nigaoe artists in concentration mode. Lots of people lining up for this one. I think she might have be on TV before.

Ishikawa Ryo, the teenage champion Japanese golfer has a picture of himself on his golf ball. At a tournament a few months back, a fan picked the ball up to take home as a souvenir. People in the crowd had to explain to her to put it back on the fairway or she would cause Ishikawa to lose the match.

If you want to get your face on a golf club, you can try this site here. They also do cakes, cushions and zippo lighters.

Another good site to take a look at is one that makes nigaoe for your SNS profile.

Have you had your picture drawn? How was it?

Donia says:

As the artist, I’m usually the one drawing everyone else ;P

These are sooo much cooler than the Characatures done at theme parks in the states, in my opinion.
I think the group drawings are more fun, tho, you’d all have to share just ONE drawing haha

Have to add this to my to-do list for when I visit Japan.

Thanks so much for sharing!

shibuya246 says:

You are welcome. Thanks for joining in :). The Japanese drawings seem to have a warmth and softness to them. I have seen some drawings overseas, but I thought they were a bit to hard on the lines and came across less friendly. Maybe it has something to do with the anime background? Hope you get chance to have this done when when you are next in Japan.

Sara Mari says:

Oh interesting article~! I have seen some portrait artist like these in Japan, but I never knew they were popular. Here in America generally people avoid this, unless they have children. The only time I’ve had this done was when I was a kid, once I got a rather realistic drawing but usually it was those quite unflattering caricatures XP

I really like the styles of some of those artists, I might try it. But it’s hard to suppress the memories of artists over exaggerating my pointy chin, long nose and pre-orthodontist teeth. Haha.

shibuya246 says:

LOL. I don’t think I could sit through a session of “pointy chin”. In Japan, the artists seem to be able to bring out the good features to please the customers. On a weekend, getting your face drawn can be as popular if not more than getting your palm read. It is a good thing for couples to do on a date. ^^.

kumajira says:

I want one!

whipcracker says:

RT @tweetmeme Japanese Portraits, Nigaoe, Japan Living | Shibuya246 http://bit.ly/55d5Vq Looks like fun. I’d have it done. First I’d have a self portrait, then a group one. Do you think Rilakkuma would like to have one done w/me?

shibuya246 says:

That is a great idea. A picture of you with Rilakkuma sitting on your lap :) I can see it now.

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