Okamoto Kiichi: Children's Country

Kodomo no Kuni was a children's magazine that was very popular in the 1920s and 1930s in Japan, with many wonderful illustrations. The English website of The International Children's Library has thousands of illustrations that are a real delight. They also feature the popular children's songs of the day, which were published in the magazine. Click to listen!

I particularly like the style of Okamoto Kiichi (1880-1930). In a way, my own room as a kid growing up in Sweden in the early 1970s didn't look much different, with toy trains and boats and airplanes, plus lots of books!!

Also interesting to note that the editors and illustrators were inspired by - among others - Swedish illustrators and painters like Elsa Beskow and Carl Larsson.

Search for illustrations here

From the Kodomo no Kuni website:

The 1920s was an era of urbanization and technological revolution. The role of art in society was also transformed with the growing importance of such genres as architecture and commercial art. However, Kodomo no kuni maintained its devotion to the nourishment of the minds and hearts of children in the newly modernized Japan. The pages of Kodomo no kuni brought to children pictures not only illustrating poetry and stories but also vividly recording the colorful daily life and fantasies of childhood.


Pandabonium said…
Beautiful. I really enjoy his illustrations. Many of the songs featured were written by Ujo Noguchi who was born in Kita-Ibaraki City in Ibaraki. His home, where Noguchi family members still reside, is now in part a museum and there is a city museum dedicated to him as well.
Martin J Frid said…
Great! Thanks for the references. I'll add "Ibaraki" to the labels.

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