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Mie Prefecture 「SuzuChameleon」

※The name is a combination of the “KA” of Suzuka and the “CHA” of chameleon

Legal amount : height × width × length = 240×110×170(mm)
Material : Epoxy putty, sculpey, bell

Since the exhibition was held in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, I was going to make a “deer with a bell”, but I thought there was a local character that looked like that, so I decided to make a “chameleon with a bell”. I’ve wanted to make a chameleon for a long time, and I thought it would be cute to put a bell in the eyeball to make it look more like a chameleon.

First, I made a core with wire, heaped epoxy putty to make a base, and then pressed the scaly pattern onto the Sculpey, piece by piece. It was quite difficult… I used “a metal leather craft stamping stick (name unknown) “to press them on. I also liked the idea of planting a “small cymbal (name unknown) on the side of the tambourine” in the dorsal fin area. I also put a total of 22 bells in each eyeball, the tip of the tongue, both hands and feet, and both sides and underside of the belly. It’s very noisy.

I went around Tokyu Hands and 100-yen stores looking for bells in various sizes, but I couldn’t find any good ones. But thanks to a nearby handicraft store where I could buy colorful bells, I was able to decide on the color of the chameleon. A good bell also makes a good sound.
It took a lot of work, but I’m glad I went with a simple idea.

Jin Katagiri
Born November 27, 1973 / Born in Saitama Prefecture / Graduated from Tama Art University
Active in the stage, movies, radio, etc., mainly in TV dramas series. Major appearances in recent years include “99.9% -Criminal Lawyer-” (TBS), “Your Turn to Kill” (NTV), and “NHK Morning drama series Yell” (NHK).
In addition to acting, he also creates clay, and from 2016 to 2018 he held a national tour at the “Jin Katagiri Absurdity Clay Art Exhibit Giri Ten.” In 2019, he is holding his first overseas solo exhibition in Taiwan.

【About Mie Prefecture】

Mie Prefecture is located almost in the middle of Japan on the Pacific Ocean side. It has a long and narrow shape of about 50 to 80 km from east to west and about 170 km from north to south. The prefecture is divided into five areas according to geographical features and climate: “Hokusei,” “Iga,” “Chusei,” “Ise-Shima” and “Higashi Kishu”.

There are many attractions in the Hokusei area, such as the Suzuka Circuit, where the Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance Road Race, Japan’s largest motorcycle festival, and the Formula One Championship are held every summer, various events are held according to the season, and one of the largest winter illuminations in Japan, the Nabana-no-Sato, is very popular.

FIM Endurance World Championship
“Coca-Cola”Suzuka 8hours Endurance Race
Nabana no Sato

The Ninja Village, where you can enjoy authentic ninja training attractions such as climbing high walls in ninja costumes and crossing ropes while keeping your balance, and the 30-meter stone wall of Iga Ueno Castle, which is said to be the tallest in Japan, are also highlights of the Iga area.

Ninja training
Iga Ueno Castle

You can enjoy Mie Prefecture’s gourmet specialties in the Chu-Nansei area, including Matsuzaka City, famous for the production of Matsuzaka Beef, one of Japan’s three largest Japanese cattle, and Tsu City, a city of eels. In 1996, a clay figurine from the early Jomon period, believed to be the oldest in Japan, was discovered at the Kayumi Ijiri Site in Matsuzaka City, which attracted much attention.

Matsuzaka beef
Clay figurine

The Ise-Shima area is home to the Ise Shrine, popularly known as “Oise-san”. The official name of the Ise Grand Shrine is called “Jingu”. There are 125 shrines and temples within the 5,500-hectare site, including centered around Kotaijingu(Naiku), dedicated to Amaterasu-Omikami, and Toyo’uke-daijingu(Geku), dedicated to Toyo’uke-no-Omikami.

Naiku Shogu (Photo provided by Jingu)

The Higashi Kishu area is home to the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range,” which was registered as a World Heritage Site in July 2004. This is a 170 km long “road of prayer” that people used to travel from Ise Jingu Shrine to Kumano Sanzan (three mountains in Kumano) over a steep mountain pass. At Magose Pass, the moss-covered stone-paved road that stretches for about 2 km and the 25-meter-high “Shishiiwa(Lion’s Rock),” which looks like a giant lion roaring toward the sea, are World Heritage sites, natural monuments and scenic spots.

Stone pavement of the pilgrimage route
Shishiiwa(Lion’s Rock)

【About Suzuka city】

In July 2018, the Giri exhibition was held at the Aeon Mall Suzuka in Suzuka City. I think the name “Suzuka” is both famous and well-known around the world, as it is home to the Suzuka Circuit, a well-known venue for the F1 World Championship Series. Mr. Katagiri’s work is named after the place, Suzuka, and the mascot of Suzuka City, “Beldi”, a deer with a bell, was also born from the name. In addition to motor sports, Suzuka City also hosts the Suzuka Balloon Festival, a national competition for the Honda Grand Prix hot-air balloon, as part of its efforts to revitalize the city. The sight of about 30 or so colorful hot air balloons going up into the sky is said to be one of the main attractions of sightseeing in Suzuka as an autumnal poem.

Suzuka Balloon Festival
Suzuka Balloon Festival

Provision of images other than Katagiri’s work without mention of provision:Mie Prefecture Tourism Federation
References Mie Prefecture Tourism Federation (https://www.kankomie.or.jp/index.html


When I saw the bell chameleon for the first time, I was like, “Whoa! I love the chameleon’s expression, shape, and color. And the name, which was born from a play on words, is also interesting. Katagiri-san has created many works that were born from word play, so I will introduce “word play” someday. Why don’t I introduce it this time? Because I feel that I need to study more in order to tell multilingual people about the fun of Katagiri-san’s naming. I’ll do my best!