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Tokyo takes art to the wall

Enthusiasm is growing for public murals reflecting community spirit

A mural by artist PHIL decorates a wall under an overpass near Yokohama Station. (Courtesy of Wall Share)

TOKYO -- On a side street just off the main shopping arcade in Koenji, a residential neighborhood west of central Tokyo, a giant eagle spreads its wings over lush trees and a sparkling stream.

The larger-than-life eagle, in a soft shade of pink, is the centerpiece of a massive mural that covers the side wall of a privately owned five-story building. Painted by WHOLE9, a two-person artist unit based in Osaka, the mural, titled "SYNC," depicts the people of Koenji in the form of an eagle surrounded by abstract forms representing the diversity of life.

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