“Kodomo no Tomo” Original Illustrations from the Fujin no Tomo-sha Collection

Itabashi Art Museum

poster for “Kodomo no Tomo” Original Illustrations from the Fujin no Tomo-sha Collection

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A new culture of modernism geared toward children flourished in the Taisho period (1912–26). This climate of freedom produced the children’s picture book magazine “Kodomo no Tomo” (Children’s Companion), launched by the publisher Fujin no Tomo-sha in 1914. Running for 30 years until a paper shortage during WWII shut it down, Kodomo no Tomo fostered modern personhood through children’s independence with a proactive approach to lifestyle education. Its diverse contents including illustrations, stories, comics, and quizzes were loved by many children, with artistry boasting the refreshingly unrestrained and humorous direction of Rakuten Kitazawa and the richly lyrical style of Yumeji Takehisa. In its later years, the magazine printed the works of artists such as Takeo Takei and Tomoyoshi Murayama, who would come to be known as Japan’s first generation of children’s illustrators.

This exhibition presents more than 150 original illustrations from Kodomo no Tomo, with a focus on the works of Rakuten Kitazawa, Yumeji Takehisa, Takeo Takei, and Tomoyoshi Murayama, as well as Koko Fukuzawa and other artists who contributed to the magazine up through the end of its publication. Copies of the magazine are displayed along with the illustrations, offering a moral compass to the adults of tomorrow in these turbulent times through the pages of “Kodomo no Tomo.”


[Related Event]
Lecture “Children’s Books and the Era of ‘Chisai Ouchi’ (The Little House)”
Speaker: Kyoko Nakajima (“Chisai Ouchi” author)
Date: Feb. 27 (Sat) 14:00–15:30
In Japanese. Please see the official website for details and information on more related events.

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from February 20, 2016 to March 27, 2016

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