These Images Were Created In A Classroom Using Chalk, A Board, And Dedication

We all remember how much fun it was when we were finally allowed to draw on the board in school. There was something about the smoothness of the chalk and the larger, vertical scale that seemed so important. Of course, while many students with chalkboard access fall back on games of hangman and stylized lettering (everyone remembers the “S” thing we all drew, right?), some students take it above and beyond normal doodles.

Enter the chalkboard art competitions of Japan. Here, schools from all over the nation design a chalkboard creation that reflects their school, region, and their experiences of high school before entering the larger world. The chalkboards can be designed by anywhere from two to 11 people, and showcase all kinds of colors, themes, and styles.

Highest Award

Highest Award

This chalkboard mural from the Kochi Nishi High School in the Kochi Prefecture celebrates high school athletics. The figures passing the baton symbolize the older students passing on knowledge and traditions to the younger ones.

Outstanding Performance Award

Outstanding Performance Award

This everyday scene of a classroom, highlighted with fanciful, imaginative elements in color, comes from the Gwangneung High School in the Saitama Prefecture.

Winners of the Japan Science Special Award:

From the Matsudo High School art department in the Chiba Prefecture comes this beautifully detailed chalkboard design, created by no less than 11 students. The subtleties and varieties of color that the students achieved here even surprised the judges.

On the other end of the spectrum, though no less nuanced, is this minimalist approach to Mt. Fuji, created by two students from the Miko Sakuranomaki High School in the Ibaraki Prefecture. Using just white chalk, they managed to capture the iconic, snow-covered slopes of Japan”s famous mountain.

Nine students from the Sasebo Nishi High School in the Nagasaki Prefecture decided to celebrate their teachers in their design. These portraits of favorite teachers, combined with special messages, are a direct expression of gratitude.

Other prizewinners:

This vivid design incorporates a number of Japanese cultural icons, such as Hokusai”s famous wave print, traditional dishes, and a phoenix. It”s very bright and colorful, and the judges found it balanced but energetic.

Two students from the Aso High School in the Kanagawa Prefecture created this image, with the spread wings symbolizing the students” “taking flight” from school into their adult lives.

Shizuoka Prefecture”s Science and Technology High School created this softly colored entry. It includes messages of encouragement to graduating students who might feel anxious about taking their next steps and “[leaving] the nest.”

The Tokyo Metropolitan Comprehensive Technical High School created this colorful piece, which shows the real world reflected against a fantasy one. It represents the bittersweetness of growing up, with students ready to “take the plunge” into the real world while still holding onto memories of the magic of childhood.

Finally, this geometric, monochrome entry from the Niiza Technology High School in the Saitama Prefecture shows another interpretation of coming into one”s adulthood. The crowd approaching from the left represents the students, who have been functioning as a collective, as they approach the intersection of graduation that will take them down individual paths.

Honorable Mentions:

Saitama Prefectural Omiya Gwangneung High School

Gakuen High School

Saitama Prefectural Niiza Technology High School

Hokkaido Arts High School, Tokyo Ikebukuro

Fukui Prefectural Takashi High School

Saitama Prefectural Niiza Technology High School

It”s amazing to see how each group of students interpreted and expressed their views of school, graduating, and growing up, and the similarities and differences in their creations. The students got to work together as a team, as well as express themselves creatively. The first and second place prizewinners received gift certificates valued at 100,000 and 30,000 yen, respectively.

You can see more entries and read more of the judges” comments on the website.

For more chalkboard madness, see what these other clever people have done: