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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 February 2019

Big in Japan: Has Banksy been in Tokyo lately?

The Japanese capital is investigating if the painted rat is by the famous British street artist

A drawing of a rat holding an umbrella - a potential Banksy - pictured on a door which is designed to prevent flooding during high tides, near Hinode station in Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolitan Government / AFP 
A drawing of a rat holding an umbrella - a potential Banksy - pictured on a door which is designed to prevent flooding during high tides, near Hinode station in Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolitan Government / AFP 

Tokyo is trying to verify if a drawing of a rat holding an umbrella, which has been sprayed near a monorail station, is the work of the famous and mysterious street artist Banksy.

"We noticed there is a drawing of a rat painted with spray" on the door near the Hinode station in central Tokyo, government official Koji Sugiyama told AFP.

"We think there's a possibility it has been done by Banksy."

A rat holding an umbrella is one of Banksy's most famous artworks.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike posted photos of the painting on Twitter, saying: "There's a painting of cute rat in Tokyo which could be Banksy's work! A gift to Tokyo?"

The government removed the door, which is designed to prevent flooding during high tides, and placed it in storage Wednesday night to prevent any damage, Sugiyama said.

It is unclear exactly when it was painted but the public safety bureau has known about the graffiti for a long time, he added.

There are photos on social media that appear to show the same painting and date back several years.

But it was only in December that the government realised it might have been crafted by Banksy after local residents contacted them, the official said.

The government hopes to find out if it is truly a work by Banksy, but "we still don't know if there's an expert in Japan", Sugiyama admitted, adding that the government will discuss ways to verify the painting.

Banksy, a British street artist whose identity is known to only a handful of friends, caused a sensation in October when one of his paintings began shredding itself, just after selling for $1.4 million (Dh5.1m).

Experts say Girl with Balloon, which is now called Love is in the Bin, is probably worth even more because the stunt created such a massive media stir.

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Read more:

Inside Banksy's The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem

'I don’t know how his mind works': what it's really like working with the elusive street artist Banksy

Wall to wall protection: new Banksy mural put under 24-hour guard

Top UAE art moments of 2018 - and the one that shocked the world

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Updated: January 17, 2019 02:36 PM

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