Asian Art

10 Miniature Sculptures By Tatsuya Tanaka To Brighten Your Day

Sandra Juszczyk 29 April 2024 min Read

Japanese miniature craftsmanship has been evolving for the past couple of centuries. Their love for scaled-down everyday objects gained the interest of many people all around the world. Whether it be stand-alone tiny figures, elaborate miniature dioramas, or even edible small food items that look just like their normal-size counterparts. Japanese miniature art continues to flourish and gain new forms. A great example of a miniature artist who brings innovation to this years-old art form is Tatsuya Tanaka. We compiled a list of 10 miniature sculptures by Tatsuya Tanaka to brighten your day!

Fascination with tiny objects in Japan spans all the way back to the 17th century. Back then many forms of miniature art began to flourish. First Netsuke started as a practical object used to secure the cord of a pouch worn with a kimono. Over time these gained more and more ornamental features and eventually became an art form. Similarly, during the Edo period, tiny children’s toys became popular resulting in the creation of craftsmanship in miniature making. To this day Japanese artists such as Tatsuya Tanaka, continue the tradition of miniature sculptures.

Tatsuya Tanaka


Born in Kumamoto, this artist began posting his miniature compositions online in 2011. For over a decade, he’s been posting a different miniature sculpture every day! However, there is one special thing about him, which distinguishes his miniatures from others. They are all made from everyday objects!

Tanaka became fascinated with the concept that some commonly used objects resemble other much bigger ones. Broccolis are just tiny trees and scattered rice looks just like a snowy landscape. He uses those types of objects and combines them with tiny figurines to reimagine everyday scenes. He then uploads them to his MINIATURE CALENDAR in hopes that they will brighten someone’s day! There are almost 5000 of these adorable tiny dioramas for you to check on his website, but for now, take a look at these selected few!

1. Clothing Change

tatsuya tanaka: Tatsuya Tanaka, Clothing Change, 2016. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka, Clothing Change, 2016. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

This stunning fall landscape was made with yarn! It perfectly encapsulates what Tanaka’s style is. The first thing that catches the viewer’s eye is the vibrant colors, which subconsciously remind the viewer of the fall season. To a simple composition, the artist added tiny figures of a couple on a bridge and some adorable little deer. This small addition suddenly changed some colorful balls of yarn into a beautiful Japanese landscape.

2. Van Gogh’s Earphone

tatsuya tanaka: Tatsuya Tanaka, Van Gogh’s Earphone, 2024. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka, Van Gogh’s Earphone, 2024. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tanaka is a well-rounded artist. He is not only very creative with his ideas but also a very skilled craftsman. To create a miniature composition, the artist designs each sculpture on the computer, then the figures are 3D printed and hand-painted. He really can make a tiny version of everything. Just like this tiny sculpture of Vincent van Gogh! Here we can really see Tanaka’s attention to detail. Every feature of Van Gogh’s face has been studied and perfectly executed in a small form. On top of that the earphone acting as a pipe adds a nice touch of Tanaka’s unique style.

3. 2020 Winter

tatsuya tanaka: Tatsuya Tanaka, 2020 Winter, 2020. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka, 2020 Winter, 2020. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tanaka didn’t miss a day of his calendar, even during the pandemic. He took the time to brighten people’s days by constructing adorable miniature scenes. The artist used surgical masks that remind us of those dreadful days to create something that brings people joy! So, although people couldn’t go outside and play in the snow, at least they could watch tiny people having fun sleighing down a discarded mask some of us probably still have lying around our houses.

4. Balloon

tatsuya tanaka: Tatsuya Tanaka, Balloon, 2017, MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka, Balloon, 2017, MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Have you ever looked at a tobiko on your sushi and thought it looked just like a balloon? Tanaka certainly has! Turns out that if you put your fish roe on a toothpick, it becomes a vibrant miniature balloon! Add a mini clown, and now your tobiko sushi is an endless supply of balloons for your fun-size circus!

5. Rice Planting

tatsuya tanaka: Tatsuya Tanaka, Rice Planting, 2015. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka, Rice Planting, 2015. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka really has an eye for detail. Not many can see a rice field in their computer’s hardware. The artist turned an old, no longer useful piece of technology into a work of art. All that by simply paying attention to detail and a little bit of creativity! And a supply of tiny rice planters figurines, of course.

6. Mommy side up

tatsuya tanaka: Tatsuya Tanaka, Mommy Side Up, 2016. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka, Mommy Side Up, 2016. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

The artist doesn’t have to change much to create something out of nothing. A significant role in Tanaka’s miniature sculptures play colors. An egg on a regular plate is just an egg but put it on a blue plate, and suddenly it turns into an island in the middle of an ocean. Sometimes less is more! Tanaka understands that he doesn’t have to change the objects too much to make them resemble other much bigger things. All it took was one tiny palm tree to turn an egg yolk into a pile of sand. He uses our subconsciousness that associates certain colors and shapes and combines it with additional detail to better illustrate what he sees within his mind.

7. Eraserhenge

tatsuya tanaka: Tatsuya Tanaka, Eraserhenge, 2018. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka, Eraserhenge, 2018. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tanaka also loves to recreate famous places such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Sphinx, and in this case, Stonehenge! Or, as the author creatively called it: Eraserhenge! Just imagine the time it took to file down all those erasers to match the shape of the stones! The artist’s dedication to the craft really shows here. Just look up a photo of Stonehenge, and you will see that it is the exact replica made entirely out of erasers!

8. One Grain Sushi


tatsuya tanaka: Tatsuya Tanaka, One Grain Sushi, 2020. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka, One Grain Sushi, 2020. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

What if a sushi bar was made out of sushi? In Tatsuya Tanaka’s world, everything is possible! To create this masterpiece, he lined up various hosomaki rolls and placed some wooden chopsticks to create a sushi bar. In the back, he used various sushi ingredients and even placed 3 grains of rice on a small board to resemble the rice base of nigiri. He also creatively cut tiny pieces of nori to recreate the traditional strips of paper hanging above the bar, displaying the menu.

9. Sweet Time

tatsuya tanaka: Tatsuya Tanaka, Sweet Time, 2021. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka, Sweet Time, 2021. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

As you might have noticed by now, Tanaka’s favorite artistic medium is food. This piece reimagines the purpose of a simple chocolate bar! Not only is it deliciousit also works great as a bookshelf, a painting on a wall, or even a coffee table! The possibilities are endless! With Tanaka’s creativity, everything edible can become a set of furniture!

10. Autumn Forest

tatsuya tanaka: Tatsuya Tanaka, Autumn Forest, 2021. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Tatsuya Tanaka, Autumn Forest, 2021. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

This piece was made for the artist’s first exhibition in Korea. It appeared on his calendar the same day the exhibition opened, and it also could have been admired in real life by the gallery’s visitors! Tanaka not only used adorable figurines dressed in traditional Korean hanbok. He also created trees out of Korea’s representative food, which is kimchi! If you look closely, you can see that the bonfire is kimchi, too! It is a stunning artwork to celebrate Tanaka’s first solo exhibition overseas!


Make sure to follow Tatsuya Tanaka on social media to get your daily dose of miniature joy! You can also check his website to see whether there is an exhibition near you! There, you can see a selection of his photographs and even some of the miniature compositions in real life. There are also huge life-size reconstructions of his miniatures, allowing you to experience the world where food is trees and tiny objects are not so tiny anymore!

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