How a Japanese artist set the record for world’s largest GPS drawing with his marriage proposal

How a Japanese artist set the record for world’s largest GPS drawing with his marriage proposalHow a Japanese artist set the record for world’s largest GPS drawing with his marriage proposal
via Google
Bryan Ke
July 13, 2023
Nearly 14 years ago, a Japanese artist’s marriage proposal set a Guinness World Record.
Yasushi Takahashi, also known by his artist name Yassan, knew in 2008 that he wanted to propose to his girlfriend but did not know how, according to Google Stories.
Takahashi, now 46, was eventually inspired after seeing GPS art online for the first time. GPS art involves creating shapes by following a predetermined route plotted on GPS and uploading the collected positioning data to mapping tools, such as Google Earth, to form a visual representation of the traveled route.

Setting his plans in motion

Determined to create his own GPS art, Takahashi began planning a predetermined route across Japan, from the island of Hokkaido to the shores of Kagoshima, to spell out “MARRY ME” for his girlfriend.
After plotting his course, Takahashi left his job on June 30, 2008, and set out on his journey on his 31st birthday. His adventure took him around six months to complete, beginning on July 22, 2008, and ending on Jan. 2, 2009, he revealed in a video documenting his journey.
Traveling Japan
Although writing his proposal message was the main goal of his journey, Takahashi also noted in his video that he wanted to see more of Japan in person.
His video includes pictures of the places he visited, including Abashiri Prison Museum in Abashiri, Hokkaido, and the Asahikawa Zoo in Mashike, also in Hokkaido.
He finished his 4,451-mile journey on Jan. 2, 2009, at Hyodo Cliff in Hita, a city in Kyushu in Oita prefecture.
“I even found time to relax,” Yasushi Takahashi told Google. via Google
Roadblocks and hardships
In his video, Takahashi noted that he encountered several problems along the way, including a minor accident that saw his car ending up offroad.
Recalling his adventure to Google, the Japanese artist also said he had to camp out in his car on some nights and face heavy rain, snow and earthquakes, among other forces of nature.
Despite those problems, Takahashi told Google he never gave up, adding, “I even found time to relax.”
A memory to hold on to
Yasushi Takahashi (left) and his wife, Natsuki (right). via Google
After his trip ended, Takahashi uploaded his travel data to Google Earth and showed his plotted message to his girlfriend, which read “MARRY ME” with a doodle of a heart with an arrow through it at the end.
I kept thinking, where are you going without me?” his girlfriend recalls in his video. “Of course, I answered yes,” she adds, prompting her and Takahashi to laugh.
Takahashi’s heartwarming proposal set a Guinness World Record in 2010 for the “largest GPS drawing” made by an individual.
About the artist
Born in Saitama prefecture in 1977, Takahashi, a graduate of Inter Media Art at the Tokyo University of the Arts, has made over 1,400 GPS images since then.
He also became the subject of a documentary series called “The Walkumentary Series” in 2014, a project launched by the brand Hi-Tec.

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