Technical manhole covers

However, in eccentric Japan, some representations of national culture reach the most unexpected places, even under our feet if we put wealth on the covers of exotic and picturesque manholes.

Thanks to their amazing designs, about 12,000 pieces of iron, which mark the entrance to the sewage tunnels of the Asian country, have become a local pride.

Castles, flowers, fish, rice fields, bridges, Mount Fuji, festivals, cartoon characters, video games or cartoon scenes, memorial texts and a host of other symbols of identity await on the streets of almost all Japanese municipalities.

The idea for the design of the sign boards, Manhoro in Japanese, originated in the early 1980s. The government’s strategy sought to attract taxpayers’ interest in the new sewage system and their understanding of the high costs of infrastructure.

Entering the 21st century, tapas has gone beyond mere visual enjoyment. Its influence transcended the boundaries of art to become a tourist attraction and profitable niche for marketing.

Given the growing popularity, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation started manhole coverage summits in 2014, an event eagerly awaited by fans of the subject, called “handlers”.

The bi-annual meeting encourages an exchange of views on sewage systems, while participants buy souvenirs, dorayaki cakes stamped with iron-cut patterns or enjoy other attractions typical of this universe.

A game called Manhole Card, created in 2016 by Yamada Hideto at the behest of the Japanese government, made the phenomenon famous. The initiative mobilizes thousands of collectors, who have to visit the places where the creations are to get letters with geographical coordinates, information and photography of the desired item.

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And the successful Pokémon Go franchise for mobile devices also rounded up the entrance of many drains to pokestops, by capturing some avatar pocket monsters on the deck of covers.

(taken from orb)

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