Japanese photographer S. Morita has introduced us to a new kind of street art with photos of manhole covers in Japan. According to the Japan Ground Manhole Association, there are approximately 6,000 manhole artworks adorning the city's streets. You might wonder, what initiated this creative trend? In 1985, a high-ranking politician sought to raise support for sewage reform (that could only come about via a hefty tax hike), and he thought that the best way to draw positive attention to the project was by inviting municipalities to compete in a manhole design competition. The idea quickly took off. Soon independent competitions sprang up, and the phenomenon became widely publicized. Now, almost three decades later, it’s tough to find a street without a beautifully decorated manhole cover.

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[via ThisIsColossal]