The following photographic-rich article features artworks and creative behind the stage stories of Takeshi Yamada’s original Japanese Samurai Warriors Ceremonial Reincarnation Masks. This manuscript was produced by Dr. Eriko N. Bond, an active art critic and author in New York City, as told by Yamada and edited by Diane M. Taros and Deborah Zingale.  Photographs were taken by Takeshi Yamada and Diane M. Taros.



“The possible ancestor of the word mask is Latin word mascus (or masca) which

means ghost. The mask without the presence of ghost is not a real mask.”

Abraham Morris



Samurai Warrior’s Mask # 8 with feathers, Private collection



The mythology of the horseshoe crab written in the Japanese encyclopedias dated 1697 and 1803.

“Sono rei kashite kore to naru” (Those samurai warrior’s spirits transformed and became these horseshoe crabs.)



(left) Haniwa (Clay dolls shaped after the Japanese ancient emperor’s guards.)

(right) Japanese official postal stamps of the Haniwa



Fine Art Prints

Takeshi Yamada also created a series of original pen and ink drawings (over 200 works on papers) featuring the images of the horseshoe crab by using the horseshoe crab’s sword-like sharp, hard tail (telson) as a dipping pen. Dry process prints (not inkjet print) were created for a wider audience under the close supervision of the artist. Many of the works reflect Japanese mythology about the reincarnation of samurai warriors into horseshoe crabs. Some dramatic examples are shown below.



 (left) Japanese Samurai Warrior Ceremonial Reincarnation Mask   (right) Mythology of the horseshoe Crab #1



                (left) Mythology of the horseshoe crab #2         (right) Yamada’s original horseshoe crab telson dipping pen


Kabutogani-no-chigiri (loving, caring and committed relationship between the husband

and wife like a pair of the horseshoe crabs), acrylic on paper, 2003. The visual  elements

of this Yamada’s artwork were implemented for his series of exotic canned food artworks later.


Yamada was also inspired by his research on the food cultures of various ethnic groups throughout the world. Consequently, he created a series of artworks reflecting today’s canned food consumer culture. He chose the horseshoe crab as the first animal to be featured in this series. There are currently 77 varieties of canned foods in the collection.



(left) Coney Island Brand Exotic Canned Food #1: Horseshoe Crab, drawing in 2002,

(right) digital drawing and photo-print in 2004



Mermaid Princess (Princess Otohime)

The following art poem inscribed on the sacred stone tablet excavated at the Palace of Ocean 5,000 years ago predicted Yamada’s creation of the Mermaid Princess’s paintings on the carapaces of horseshoe crabs.


Riding on the back of magnificent creatures with ancient warriors’ souls,

divine creatures once being worshipped as Goddesses in the Far East shall arrive

on the sublime golden beach of the greatest city ever built in the world

at the dawn of the new millennium

being led by the son of a warrior king from the country of Rising Sun.


Yamada created over a dozen pieces featuring the Mermaid Princess on the carapaces of horseshoe crabs. Yamada created a series of golden pendants by using the prosoma (frontal portion) of the horseshoe crab. Here are a few examples.


 (left) Mermaid Princess #11: 21-1/2” x 9-3/4” x 3”, 2002    (middle) Prosoma Pendant #6: 8-5/8” x 7-7/8” x 2-1/2”, 2003

            (right) Golden Mask of Mermaid Princess: 15-3/4” x 8” x 2-3/4”, 2003



Costume Design and Public Interactive Fine Art Performances

During the golden era of the circus sideshow culture at magnificent amusements in Coney Island, elaborately dressed up or costumed people were essential elements intended to enrich people’s experience. Wearing costumes and props were a natural part of the lifestyles of show people to inspire those around them. Elements of this Coney Island culture can be found at Disney Worlds today. It should be noted that New Orleans carnivals and Mardi Gras also incorporate similar cultural phenomena, although not limited to the boundaries of carnival grounds in these cases, because the city of New Orleans itself resembles an amusement park. (For more information on this unique visual carnival culture in New Orleans, see Takeshi Yamada’s article entitled Divine Comedy: New Orleans Mardi Gras.)


In modern American art, the field called “performance art” has a relatively short history, especially as it occurs at the opening receptions of art museum exhibitions and commercial art galleries. Yamada has been conducting over 400 interactive public fine art performances since 1990.


To expose his horseshoe crab artworks to a wider audience and raise people’s awareness about this sacred marine animal, Yamada created a number of interactive public fine art performances. Yamada also designed and created a one-of-a-kind costume by using carcasses of horseshoe crabs collected at Coney Island Beach. Yamada has worn the costume at numerous galleries, government facilities, and art events on the streets of New York City. 



 (left) Takeshi Yamada in full Horseshoe Crab Warrior Costume with a local popular entertainer, Helen Pontani,

at the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade in 2003 (right). Yamada won the King Neptune Award and medal.



 (left) Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Gallery, fall show 2002

(right) Yamada at Arsenal Gallery in Manhattan in 2003 



 (left) Brooklyn Borough Hall Gallery in summer of 2002     (right) Brooklyn Waterfront

Artists Coalition Gallery, summer show 2002 (photographs by Diane M. Taros)



 (left) (left) Yamada at Ground Zero in New York, September 11, 2002       

(right) Yamada with his “Red Samurai Warrior Mask” at Pro Troop Rally at 42nd Street on March 23, 2003. 

His picture and interview on the site was featured in Sing Tao Chinese Community (newspaper).



 (left) Yamada and Lauren Travis at Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Gallery, fall 2003    

(right) Yamada and Lauren Travis at Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Gallery, summer 2004 

(Photograph by Diane M. Taros)



 (left) Yamada and Lauren Travis at Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Gallery in 2003 (art demonstration)

(right) Yamada with two giant prehistoric horseshoe crabs at Coney Island Beach in 2003  (The Dino’s

Wonder Wheel is shown in the background.)  (photographs by Diane M. Taros)


Yamada by the Cyclone roller coaster of the Coney Island. 2003. (photographs by Diane M. Taros)


 (left) Yamada with prehistoric giant horseshoe crab, Limulus phoenix at Coney Island Beach, 2003.

(right) “Real Brooklyn” photo show at Brooklyn Borough hall. September 8, 2003. (photographs by Diane M. Taros)


Yamada received “Excellence in the Estuary  Award for Artistic Impression” from the

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Inc. in Wilmington, Delaware on September 14, 2004.


Long Island University show in the summer of 2006



Media Coverage

Takeshi Yamada’s artwork inspired by the horseshoe crab has been featured in numerous media.


















(Poster and holiday card published by Partnership for the Delaware in 2003 (left) and 2005 (right)



(left) photograph of Yamada at Coney Island Creek (photograph by Leslie Van Stelten)

(right) TV coverage of Yamada’s show at the Coney Island library on Channel 4 TV news in New York


(photograph by Merryl Kafka)


For more information regarding Takeshi Yamada’s horseshoe crab related artwork, see following websites: (over a dozen web pages),tudor,75027,15.html






All rights reserved by Takeshi Yamada, October 2006. Museum of World Wonders in Coney Island, 1405 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11224, USA.     E-mail:

Special thanks to Eriko N. Bond, Abraham Morris, Lauren D. Travis, Diane M. Taros, Merryl Kafka, and Deborah Zingale.


Takeshi Yamada © 2006 Copyright all rights reserved

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