A Japanese graphic designer is fast becoming an online celebrity after appearing in photographs showing him apparently flying on a broomstick. The images have caused a storm on photo-sharing website Instagram.
Halno-san, 33, from Hyogo Prefecture, in the Kansai region of Honshūisland, told the Huffington Post UK he is simply "inundated" with work since becoming what fans are calling "The Japanese Harry Potter".
Halno-san has photographed himself "riding" his broomstick alongside cars, trucks and even passenger jets landing at nearby Kobe airport, in clever pictures that make him look like he is actually flying.
“Due to the popularity of Instagram overseas, we sometimes get these comments and reply we are the Japanese version of Harry Potter!” says Wacamera, 33, Halno-san’s assistant who helps the designer make his popular photos.
The pair spend their free time experimenting with an old-fashioned broomstick and digital camera to create images that have been "liked" on Instagram over 60,000 times, by 20,000 loyal subscribers.
“We are not real Harry Potter fans, our inspiration is actually taken from Natsumi Hayashi's work,” says Halno-san, of the levitating girl from Tokyo who became a blogging sensation in May 2011.
“We always get her permission before doing a shoot. She has been so influential in our work.”
The designer is keen to keep his professional work private, though a source in Japan’s design community describes him as "one of the country’s leading designers".
“We are now getting requests for original work,” he says, “because of the sheer popularity of the pictures, and we are actually happy that lots of people are copying us.”
Fans of the photographs have been uploading their own versions, which Halno-san insists are easy to replicate.
“To create your own copycat version of the ‘flying broomstick’, it is important to bend the legs, and make sure you perfect your facial expression, no excitement needed!”
Halno-san says Instagram, which was recently bought by Facebook for $1b, is the perfect place for people to experiment with photography, and that anyone can become an online star.
“Just remember to be interesting, and different from other people. Amateur photos of food and clothing are boring, don't you think? You can fly on anything, not just a broomstick. Be creative!”