Photo/IllutrationGraffiti suspected to be by Banksy found on a tide gate near Hinode Station in Tokyo’s Minato Ward (Provided by the Tokyo metropolitan government)

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Graffiti resembling work by Banksy, the controversial anonymous street artist based in Britain, was found in the Tokyo Bay area.

News of the find created a buzz among art aficionados. But whether it's a million-dollar artwork, or just a piece of copy-cat vandalism, has yet to be determined.

The black-and-white graffiti of a long-tailed rat holding an umbrella was left on a tide gate near Hinode Station on the Yurikamome Line in the capital’s Minato Ward.

“Banksy created similar paintings featuring a rat in the early 2000s," said Yoshitaka Mori, a professor of sociology at Tokyo University of the Arts, who has translated books on the artist.

He said the existence of the graffiti has been much talked about among his art-related acquaintances since the end of 2018.

"It seems highly likely that the graffiti is Banksy's, and I hope it is, too," Mori added.

The Tokyo metropolitan government said it will investigate its authenticity.

Metropolitan officials on Jan. 16 removed the aluminum plate the graffiti was painted on from the tide gate and put it in storage.

“Under ordinary circumstances, graffiti on a public property is unacceptable,” said an official. “We removed it because the area could end up turning into circus if it's authentic.”

Alerted by an art expert at the end of 2018 that there was a painting possibly created by Banksy, metropolitan officials went to check it out. They found the graffiti, measuring about 21 by 30 centimeters, on the lower left-hand corner of the gate, which protects the station area from being hit by high water.

Banksy is known for his guerrilla style and leaving provocative works of political satire sprayed on walls, streets and other sometimes unusual objects. The artist’s hidden identity and works featuring messages and hidden statements have earned him a global cult following.

In October 2018, one of Banksy's paintings destroyed itself with a shredder the artist had secretly built inside it right after it sold for about 155 million yen ($1.4 million) at a London auction. The bizarre stunt became a popular conversation topic around the world.