Car Culture

Japan's new license plate might be the best ever made

It draws inspiration from the legendary Japanese artist Hokusai.

Library of Congress

The top of the plate is curved to emulate the shape of the wave.

Sumida Ward website

In Japan, license plates for cars are all the same. That's not the case with scooters, though, where art can run wild. The newest plate for Tokyo's Sumida ward might be one of the prettiest ever put together.

Sumida's new scooter plate pays homage to Hokusai, the Japanese artist probably most famous in the US for his work The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Everything's a little scrunched together, Tokyo's Skytree tower was added in and Mount Fuji is red, but it's pretty darn close to the original work.

This wasn't a bureaucratic decision to honor a great artist. Rather, this license plate was selected as part of a design contest put on by students. And people say kids these days don't appreciate good art.

There is a connection, though. Hokusai was born in what is now the Sumida Ward, and later this month, Sumida will play host to a new museum dedicated to Hokusai's life and work. On an unrelated note, Hokusai's art will also appear in Japan's new passports.

(Hat tip to RocketNews24!)