Praying and buying charms at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines famous for lucky attributes are Japanese rites of passage at every stage of life. Given our passion for pretty, why should beauty be any exception? For centuries, women (and men) have sought a spiritual cosmetic boost from two famous Kyoto shrines: Kawai Jinja and Utsukushi Gozensha.
Every time I look at the work of Takashi Murakami, I see both the super cute, charming surfaces for which Japan is rightly famous and all the demons that peek out behind them. He dreams up lovable blobs and dolls and oversized cuties to ask his compatriots what might be the cost of holding onto such childish things.