Koshi Kawachi's Umai-bou Buddha

Koshi Kawachi's Umai-bou Buddha

A Japanese artist creates Buddhist sculptures using an unlikely medium -- cheap snacks for kids
Koshi Kawachi, "Tasty Buddha", UMAI-BOU (japanese snack).

Dagashi -- the cheap sweets found in mom-and-pop stores -- are the old-school proto-culture for the contemporary Snack Nation flavor panoply. One of the most iconic treats is Umai-bou -- a piece of crunchy popped grain covered in artificial flavoring. Each goes for a whopping ¥10, the perfect price point for the elementary school set.

But as artist Koshi Kawachi shows, Umai-bou do not have to be just for eating. In his latest gallery show at pARa:siTe in Kanazawa called "Umai-botoke: The Snack Age," Kawachi has 'sculpted' the Umai-bou medium into Buddhist sculptures. In English, he calls these "Tasty Buddha." A small photo reel of the works can be seen here.

Kawachi gained notoriety last year for his "Death of Mario" exhibit in Akihabara. His works generally seem to pull from Japanese otaku and pop culture, making them great fodder for passing around on the Internet. So expect to see much more of this guy popping up on your Google Reader.

"Umai-botoke: The Snack Age" runs until April 16 at pARa:siTe (Matsudera-cho 24-1, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa Prefecture, tel. 076 238 0788).

(Hat tip to Mari.)