Rice Renaissance: 45 Mini Sculptures By A Japanese Artist Who Brings Rice To Life

By Jhoana C

Artists use different mediums to express their talent and creativity. Some use paint, others use clay, and some use rice. Well, this specific artist does. This Japanese artist creates various items out of rice balls, and it’s something that we haven’t seen before. Known as onigiri in Japanese, rice balls are, of course, traditionally eaten. But this artist does more than that. He creates works of art that would make you hesitate to eat them. Known as Onigiri Gekijo, he started gaining popularity on YouTube, but he quickly made his presence felt on other social media platforms. Nowadays, he is very popular on his Instagram, onigirigekijo, and we want to thank him for sharing his creativity with the world. Here are some of his most impressive rice balls!

We don’t want to eat Hachiko

This rice ‘sculpture’ is so cute that it pains our hearts to put it in our mouths. Doing so is equivalent to eating that adorable and loyal dog, Hachiko. Remember him? He waited at the train station for his master daily when he returned from work.

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Judging from the looks of this rice dog, we’re pretty sure this is an Akita, just like Hachiko, who was present at the train station by 3 pm to welcome his master. His story brings tears to our eyes, and we would cry the same tears if anyone ate this rice dog.

The ponderous panda

No, this isn’t Kung Fu Panda. This is the Ponderous Panda. Pandas have always been one of the most popular and favorite animals worldwide because they look so innocent. They are charming, and they often find themselves in some of the most hilarious situations.

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We wonder what this ponderous panda is thinking about. See him with his back to the people. Is he lonely? Does he want more playmates? Or is he just thinking if he will be included in the next movie? We love you all the same, little guy.

Seal the deal

Related to bears, badgers, and skunks, seals can eat a lot of seafood. They primarily consume shrimp, squid, fish, and other mollusks. Larger seals can eat more than 10 pounds of food per day. This little fellow might not be able to consume 10 pounds, but he sure does look cute.

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This little fellow has sealed the deal for us. Look at the little guy, seemingly calm and relaxed as if he’s sunning himself on the shore. Don’t we all wish seals were this adorable and friendly so that they’d pose for pictures, too?

This polar bear should join the circus

Back in the day, this polar bear would have been the perfect addition to the circus because he has impressive skills when it comes to juggling balls, and he doesn’t seem to have any issues with it in this next photo.

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Look at him happily juggling away with his three red balls with a big smile on his face, as if he was born to do nothing else but to impress people with his juggling skills. This rice sculpture deserves an award.

Hard Day’s Night or The Professional?

The Beatles have always been one of our favorite bands, and Jean Reno, we always say, is one of the most underrated actors in the world. The guy has starred in movies such as Leon, The Professional, and Ronin, and every time, he doesn’t disappoint.

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When we look at this rice art, we see both Jean Reno and Ringo Starr. Many people can’t decide because it resembles both of them, but we’re leaning more towards Jean Reno. That’s Leon right there. What do you think?

A bowl of rice made out of rice

This is something that a lot of Asians would like. We know that rice is a staple in their food culture and is something that they cherish. This will delight them to no end because it’s rice on rice.

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What you see in the photo is a bowl of rice made out of rice. How clever is that? It’s something you don’t see every day. We have to say we are loving this rice artist all the more after seeing her works of art.

Cats out on a date

You know what they say, once you have children, couples hardly have any time left for each other. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try making time for one another. It’s necessary for a healthy relationship for you both and the child.

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These cool cats know how important that is, and here they are, ready to go out and about and paint the town red. They must be going to a fancy restaurant judging from the tux and the nice dress they have on.

It’s the time of year again

This scary cat is just in time for Halloween with his broomstick and witch’s hat. We can see this cat running the show during what’s supposed to be the scariest time of the year because we all know that cats have the reputation in some parts of the world to be witch’s familiars.

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They are thought to be assistants of demons who help with the work of witches. Witches are also thought to shape-shift into black cats if they want to avoid detection, and that’s how exactly black cats came to be synonymous with Halloween.

Hello there, Hedwig

Does this pretty owl remind you of something? One look at him brought back memories of everyone’s favorite magical pet owl, Hedwig from Harry Potter. Plenty of young people grew up with Hedwig and his master Harry. They are basically icons!

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The snowy owl was a gift from Rubeus Hagrid to Harry on his eleventh birthday, and the two shared a deep bond. Aside from delivering mail, Hedwig was also one of Harry’s closest friends, and he was a loyal owl up until his death.

Here comes Krillin

If you were a ’90s kid and were into watching Japanese cartoons, you would have probably already seen an episode or two of Dragon Ball Z. After all, it is one of the most popular and most successful anime of all time.

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One of the most recognizable characters from the show is Krillin, and here he is in rice form. We’re pretty sure you can see the resemblance, and we do not doubt that the person responsible for this is a master of the art of rice.

Just in time for the holidays

This brings joy to our hearts, and it’s just in time for the holidays. We love the little Christmas tree behind the elves, it’s subtle, yet you can tell that it belongs to the Christmas and holiday category. We wonder how the artist made the Christmas tree.

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The only thing that could make this masterpiece even better is the presence of Santa Claus. He would compliment the elves well. If we had this on our table come Christmas, any guest would be impressed by it, and they might just want to take it home.

The lovely Japanese lady

If only rice didn’t go bad. We would gladly have this lovely Japanese lady framed so that we can brag about it every time we have friends and family coming over. We are quite sure anyone who sees her will admire her beauty.

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Honestly, we’re quite jealous of this artist. Not everyone gets to have his talent, and he should be thankful he has a skill that not a lot of people can say they have to. All we can do now is wish we had his talent, too.

Kung Fu Rice Panda

One of the most beloved characters to have come out of the movies was the pudgy and careless yet lovable and heroic panda named Po in Kung Fu Panda. Not a lot of people know this, but it took years to make the film.

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The animators for the film had to take a class in kung fu so that they could have a better idea of how the characters should move and look to make the animation more believable. The fighting style of each character is modeled after various kung fu styles.

Inosukee in the flesh, erm rice

This is Inosukee in the flesh, or in the rice, to be more precise. To those of you not into Japanese manga and who don’t recognize the character in the photo, that’s Hasibira Inosukee from the show Demon Slayer.

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Seriously, if we had this person’s skills, we would be making plenty of money off of it. We know many people who would like to have their pets or favorite persons immortalized. Rice may not be the medium they have in mind, but we’re sure we can convince them.

Hooty, is that you?

Wow, Hooty, is that you? Hooty is the titular character of the show, The Owl House, which was very popular back in the day. Not only was he attached to the door of the house, but he also acts as the house’s guardian.

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What’s better than Hooty? Having more than one Hooty, eight to be exact. If we didn’t know better, we’d tell you that someone has heard of this rice artist’s talents, and they wanted to put her skills to the test, so they asked her to make plenty of Hooties.

A day at the onsen

Those who have been in Japan or fans of anything Japanese will recognize this very distinct sight in the photo. Yup, that’s the Japanese onsen right there, a place for relaxation and cleaning. Onsen is defined as mineral water, hot water, and water vapor or gas.

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One unique thing about the Japanese onsen is any clothing, towel, or any other garment is considered dirty and should never be brought to the onsen. If you have not tried it, you should do so when you’re in Japan. It’s an experience in itself.

We love this kiwi

The kiwi fruit and the kiwi animal in this photo are adorable, and frankly, we can’t get enough of the duo. The kiwi animal in this photo looks so real that you wouldn’t think it’s made of rice at first glance.

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However, we can’t help but think that this is quite a traumatizing experience for the kiwi animal having to sit next to the sliced kiwi fruit. We wouldn’t be surprised if he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after this.

The rice turtle

We’re sure a lot of work went into this rice turtle because it looks intricate. The pattern is amazing, and if you’re someone who does not have that much patience, this is going to be a real test because it’s time-consuming.

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What we especially love about this one is that the turtle has a smile on its face as if it’s having such a good day. We all should be like this turtle. Even in the most trying times, we should always have a smile on our faces.

The Lion King

We could spend a few minutes sitting down and admiring this lion. The king of the jungle looks incredibly dashing when on rice, and it looks a bit less menacing, too. As the only cats that live in groups, we never knew they also looked amazing in rice.

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This lion may not weigh as much as 190 kilos, but we have to say that this work of art is a heavyweight in its own right. Not everyone can accomplish something like this. If we tried this with our rice, it would look more like congee.

Way too cute to eat

These kitties look so cute that anyone who sees them would not think of eating them at all. We just want to frame them and display them in our living rooms so other people can also lay eyes on them and appreciate them.

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This may not be the most complex rice art on this list, but it’s one of the cutest, and you all know how people work. They tend to rate cute things highly and choose them any day over anything more complex or anything that requires plenty of man-hours to make.

Beware of the ninja

Ninjas have always been some of the most fascinating characters throughout history. A ninja, sometimes called shinobi, is a mercenary or covert agent in ancient feudal Japan. Their main functions are deception, espionage, and surprise attacks.

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Although this ninja right here might not deceive you or be active in espionage, it’s surprisingly realistic. It even has a few shuriken that can easily distract, maim, or kill. The shuriken is a throwing weapon and can be darts, discs, knives, or spikes.

How can you eat this cute doggo?

How can you possibly eat a doggo that looks as cute as this? This poodle looks as friendly as can be, and although it might not be large or menacing enough to foil any theft attempts in your home, it sure looks like it can give you all the love in the world you could ever need.

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Poodles originated in Germany and not in France, as most people are led to believe. Originally bred as hunting dogs and meant for function instead of fun, the poodle was meant to be a water retriever but has now become a symbol of style and fashion.

Gaspard and Lisa!

This duo is quite recognizable because these fictional characters appear in a series of several picture books created by the wife and husband team of Georg Hallensbein and Anne Gutman. That’s Gaspard and Lisa right there, cute as can be.

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Gaspard is the black one with a blue scarf, and Lisa is the white one with a red scarf. They both go on various adventures, and although they are neither dogs nor rabbits, they sure look like either of the two creatures, don’t you think?

We want some salmon too

We understand why this bear likes salmon because we like our salmon too. Who doesn’t love this undeniably delicious, delicate fish that doesn’t have that much of a “fishy” taste? High in calories, it makes an excellent meal for bears.

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Bears prefer to eat the brain, skin, and eggs which are the fattiest parts of the salmon because it contains the most calories. Salmon is a high-calorie meal for them, but when salmon is not in abundance, bears also eat the other parts of the fish.

Who can this be?

Who can this grumpy guy be? He looks like he isn’t pleased at all. Did someone not in tune start singing his least favorite song? Did someone who can’t play the piano play his favorite symphony? We’re not sure, but somehow, we think this guy is none other than Beethoven himself.

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Ludwig Van Beethoven is one of the most famous names when it comes to music. Born in Cologne, Germany, he was a predominant figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras of music, and up until today, people still enjoy his body of work.

Hump day

This is the literal interpretation of a camel of hump day. See what we did there? Did you know that there are two kinds of camels, Bactrian, and dromedary? What sets them apart from one another is the number of humps on their backs.

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About 90% of the world’s camels are Bactrian camels, and they have two humps on their backs. The dromedary camel, more commonly known as the Arabian camel, only has a single hump on its back. Their humps store fat which can be converted into energy and water.

Llama mama

This work of art happens to be one of our favorites because, aside from alpacas, llamas are our favorite animals. Most people are not aware that llamas make excellent guards for herds of small animals. As social creatures, llamas can easily adopt a group of goats or sheep.

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Considered to be the hippie cousins of camels, llamas belong to the same group of animals alpacas belong to, camelids. Camelids either stick out their tongue or spit when annoyed. We have never noticed them doing such things, but we will be on the lookout now that it’s mentioned.

Is this a premonition for the future?

If this is what the future looks like, we’re deathly afraid. We are already wearing surgical masks nowadays, and the last thing we want is to be required to wear are gas masks whenever we are out. It’s bad enough for women nowadays that they can’t wear their favorite shade of lipstick.

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Because what’s the point when no one sees your lipstick underneath the mask anyway? We can think of a few movies and TV shows where people wore gas masks, and none of them are appealing. No, we don’t want that kind of future.  

MJ is alive!

Seeing this work of art makes us think that MJ is alive and well and that he’s just hiding somewhere to avoid the prying eyes of the paparazzi. How we hope that’s the truth because no one wants to live with the fact that Michael Jackson has left us.

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Say what you will about the man, he might be controversial, to say the very least, but the truth is no one can beat him when it comes to music. He gave us some of the most memorable hits of our lives, and when he performs on that stage, he gives it his all.

Hola Koala!

They may look very much like bears, but koalas are marsupials. Native to southeastern and eastern Australia, koalas are fussy eaters, and they are Australia’s most famous animals (aside from kangaroos). They can easily melt the coldest of hearts.

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Even this rice koala can melt the coldest of hearts. We’d be happy if someone could breathe life into this creation and it started climbing and living in trees. Oh, just for people to know, they have supportive butts, and they need it because they are mostly wedged between rough branches the majority of the time.

The Japanese tanuki

The tanuki, or the Japanese raccoon dog, is popular in Japanese folklore since ancient times. The tanuki is often depicted as tricksters, and they can shapeshift and imitate other creatures. One important thing that they failed to mention is that the tanuki is very cute.

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Just look at that creature right there! We wouldn’t mind being tricked or deceived by such a creature. As a matter of fact, we’d welcome the opportunity. How many people can say that they had the chance to interact with a tanuki?

We’re not sure if this is an ancient Japanese warrior

We’re not sure if this is an ancient Japanese warrior or an individual from a different culture and time, but we like this. It’s easy to see that this took time, effort, and talent. If we were to make something as nice as this, it would probably take us a week at the very least.

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The intricate design requires skillful hands, and this is a project that needs dedication, something not everyone has plenty of. We want to take our hats off to the artist because he deserves recognition. His talent is undeniable remarkable.

No jailbird here, just a jail bear

You should look somewhere else if you’re expecting a jailbird because we don’t have that here. What we have is a cute and cuddly jail bear complete with the striped suit, and he’s carrying what looks to be tempura.

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Bears eat shrimp, and polar bears mainly prey on herring, shrimp, and arctic cod. Another staple in their diet is the seal. Fish and meat are important sources of protein and fat for bears, which they need, especially during cold weather.

How do you like these flowers?

Before, if someone told us they could make flowers out of rice, we would have told them they were crazy, but now that we see this, we have changed our minds. We never knew that flowers made from rice could look so good.

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They have even thrown in a few vases made of rice too. Although we’re not sure if they also used ikebana here, which is the art of Japanese flower arrangement, we have to say that we are liking what we see.

A brown bear and his flower

We have seen plenty of bears on this list. We have seen a polar bear with his three red balls, a brown bear with his salmon, and a jail bear with his tempura. Now get ready to meet a brown bear and his yellow flower.

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Is he going to give the flower to someone? We hope the lady who receives it is someone who deserves it because he looks like a sensible, kind, and charismatic brown bear. Any lady would be lucky to have him.

Master Roshi with his nosebleed

Another character from the hugely popular Japanese anime Dragon Ball Z is Master Roshi. Also known as the Turtle Hermit and the God of Martial Arts. He was an amazing character who trained Gohan, Yamcha, Krillin, Goku, and Ox-king.

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When he was younger, he was simply called Turtle or Kame. He has a distinct appearance with his distinct bald head and thick, white mustache. One look at this rice work of art, and you instantly know it’s none other than the master himself.

Now, we have the black bear

You might have already had your fill of brown and polar bears, so we thought it would be a good idea to add a black bear to this list too. Some say he might be a little bit meaner than his other cousins, but that doesn’t make him any less adorable.

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Look at him surrounded by fruits and vegetables, although we know that black bears are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and meat. Some of their diet staples are grass, insects, fish, meat, berries, as well as other succulent plants.

The sheep’s bleat

This artist could easily rival that of Renaissance Rome’s most popular. You know those who make paintings of influential men and women? We may be more partial to this artist, but we firmly believe that those Renaissance artists have nothing on this one.

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Imagine reproducing the most beautiful and sometimes complicated creatures using rice and a few other edible items. Not everyone has the knack for it, and he should count himself lucky that he is one of the only few people who can do so.


Now, this is one creepy rice ball that we wouldn’t want anywhere near us. We’re pretty sure we have seen this character somewhere else, and we’re not sure if it’s a Japanese anime or one of those Western cartoons.

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The rice ball you see on the left might look harmless, but if it starts morphing and becoming a menacing version of itself, you’ll see its long tongue sticking out and looking for something to eat. You better stay away if you want to be safe.

The smug-faced kitty

Rice or not, we don’t have the heart to eat kitties, especially those with smug faces such as this one. We just want to scoop it up, bring it home with us, and take very good care of it. We’re going to buy plenty of cat food.

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We’ll buy it all the toys it needs and even get a scratch post or two or five if that’s what it wants. Who can say no to that face? We imagine a friendly attitude coming along with that pleasant face, although most cats are not supposed to be very friendly.

The white tiger

We’re happy that the artist included a white tiger on this list because they’re quite rare. They have been observed to grow faster compared to their orange-colored cousins. Like all tigers, they have unique stripes that serve more like fingerprints.

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They grow darker in the cold, and they inherited their white fur from albinism. We can go on and on about many white tiger facts, but let’s take a moment to admire just how talented this artist is. He made the rice white tiger look so real.

The happy, little dog

This is a realistic Jack Russell dog which we would like to get our hands on if we had more room in our homes for a delightful pet. Developed in England two centuries ago to hunt foxes, the Jack Russell terrier is a lively, independent, and clever dog.

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It will fill your life with laughter and love as long as you give it the proper training, supervision, and attention it demands. It got its name from John Russell, an English priest who used to hunt foxes and was in search of a terrier who could go with him on his expeditions.

Bored panda?

Is this how a bored panda looks like? Or is it a happy panda or a satisfied panda? We will let you decide on this one, but for us, this looks like a happy panda. Pandas are some of the most well-loved creatures on this planet.

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They have distinct black and white markings that serve two purposes: communication, and camouflage. Most of its body is white to help it hide in snowy habitats, and the legs and arms are dark to help it hide in the shade.

Here comes the moo

We could see us putting this in a glass case and displaying it proudly in our home. We could show this to friends and family and wait in anticipation for their reaction. Will people say it’s groundbreaking or phenomenal?

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We think it’s one-of-a-kind, and it deserves to be admired and talked about for all the right reasons. See how realistic it looks? We can almost hear it moo, and we especially love its pinkish nose. Did the artist use salmon to make the nose?

The Fox Spirit

With all the rice art we have seen so far, we’re pretty confident that this artist is Japanese, part Japanese, or loves everything about Japan. This is another one of her works, and it is Oinari or the Fox Spirit.

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Also called Inari, the Oinari is the Japanese kami of foxes, rice, tea, sake, general prosperity, agriculture and industry, fertility, and worldly success. The Oinari resembles a fox and symbolizes both malevolence and benevolence. Quite a character!