Aki Inomata’s “Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter to Hermit Crabs?” Has got to be about the coolest conceptual project I have seen in a long time.

In Inomata’s own words:

n this piece I gave hermit crabs shelters that I had made for them, and if they liked my shelters, they made their shells in them.

My idea for this piece first came about when I participated in the “No Man’s land” exhibition that was held in the French Embassy in Japan in 2009. This work is inspired by the fact that the land of the former French Embassy in Japan had been French until October 2009, and became Japanese for the following fifty years, before being returned to France. The same piece of land is peacefully transferred from one country to the other. These kinds of things take place without our being aware of it. On the other hand, similar events are not unrelated to us as individuals. For example, acquiring nationality, moving, and migration.

The hermit crabs wearing the shelters I built for them, which imitate the architecture of various countries, appeared to be crossing various national borders. Though the body of the hermit crab is the same, according to the shell it is wearing, its appearance changes completely. It’s as if they were asking, “Who are you?”

For more on Inomata’s project, visit her site here.

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Stay conscious, Rae


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Rae Tilly

Rae the EIC of LFB and YEOJA Magazine. She is also a photographer and social media influencer.


  • Omgosh how cute and I love the concept behind this!


  • This project reminds me of scenes from Hayao Miyazaki / Studio Ghibli films! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • Everything about these is amazing!
    I want one so much.

  • This is so cool! <3

    Style Vanity

  • Such an intetesting and neat concept! Its almost like the hermit crabs are showing a little about them when they choose their shell!


  • This is absolutely fascinating – and from so many perspectives. It’s obviously beautiful art, but it’s also practical for the crabs, and discusses a larger, pertinent issue of borders and division. And I mean, the metaphor of using hermit crabs to do that (who have no home of their own) is sheer brilliance – wish I was that clever!!

    x Kathryn
    Through the Thicket

  • This is so cute and brilliant. <3


    Jenny // Mish Mosh Makeup

  • This is amazing! Love the transparency of the shelters.

    Erin | Erin and Katherine Talk Beauty

  • This is the most original idea that I have seen in many years. Perhaps that I have ever seen. Amazing that the Hermit crabs will actually take to these glass structures.

  • dannifred

    this is so awesome, you find the coolest things!

    xx danielle // shadesofdanielle.blogspot.com

  • This is such a cool project. Now if only there was a hermit crab shelter that looked like the castle in Disneyland!

  • Jenna

    This is so awesome! I would love to see them altogether, a little city!

    Jenna || Jennafifi.co.uk

  • Victoria Nightingale

    Wow this is awesome – I can’t stop staring at the photos – so beautiful :)


  • Whoa! This is such a cool idea! And these photos are so cute, haha.

  • Gingi Edmonds Freeman

    WOW!!!! That is kind of freaking awesome! I’m mesmerized!

    Anyhoo, I found your blog through a fellow blogger, and just thought I’d drop by and say hi! It would totally make my day if you did the same – or better yet! – keep in touch! <3 – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

  • these are so surreal! beautiful art


  • This is pretty cool!

    She Likes to Shop

  • kristiina ^..^

    These are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing them.

  • Kat

    This is such an interesting piece, some of those little homes are very intricate. Major props to the artist!

    x beauty, style, life | bespectacled

  • I’m always so amazed at how beautifully detailed tiny things like this can be! Such an interesting project.

  • these are so great! really interesting work, looove the concept! thanks for sharing these :)

    Meg, Optical Intake

  • this is nuts, what a think to try!

    Buckets & Spades