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High school students' Kumamoto Castle artwork made with 110,000 toothpicks goes on display

The image of Kumamoto Castle made using 110,000 toothpicks is seen on display in the city of Kumamoto on Jan. 14, 2022. (Mainichi/Yasuhisa Yamamoto)

KUMAMOTO -- A group of high school students' artwork of Kumamoto Castle made using some 110,000 toothpicks has been attracting the attention of locals since going on display at a mall in this southwest Japan city.

    The work was created by 38 second-year students at Kyushu Gakuin Lutheran High School, located in the city's Chuo Ward. The intricate depiction of the local castle is being exhibited on the seventh floor of Amu Plaza Kumamoto, located in JR Kumamoto Station building.

    Measuring 96 centimeters high and 186 cm wide, the artwork uses a drawing of Kumamoto Castle on a plastic foam board as a base for the black and white toothpicks to be individually stuck onto it, making the castle keep appear to rise from the canvas. The students used their time off from school to continue working on the project, and finished it over about two weeks in October 2021.

    As the school's festival was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the piece was instead shown at the culture festival presentation. Out of a desire to use the artwork to give encouragement to Kumamoto in its recovery from the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, it was decided the display would be shown at Amu Plaza Kumamoto, where more people can see it.

    Hiroshi Harada, 50, the teacher who led the students in the project, told the Mainichi Shimbun, "I want people to see the masterpiece that the students created by coming together as a class." The artwork will be on show until Feb. 15, and there are reportedly plans to display it at the Kumamoto Municipal Government's Tokyo office in the capital's Chiyoda Ward.

    (Japanese original by Yasuhisa Yamamoto, Kumamoto Bureau)

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