Early 20th Century Illustrations from Japanese Children's Books

I imagine that yes is the only living thing

E. E. Cummings

Okamoto Kiichi, Land of the Little Birds, 1929

Koga Harue, May Motifs, 1932

Koga Harue, Mid-winter Night's Dream, 1931

Onchi Koshiro, The Akebia Flower, words by Kitahara Hakushu, 1928

Hatsuyama Shigeru, Elephant and a Child, 1931

Hatsuyama Shigeru, Roasting Chestnuts, words by Yokose Yau, 1928

Kawakami Shiro, Pheasant Village, 1929

Kawakami Shiro, The Insects' Journey, 1927

Honda Shotaro, Working Children, 1928

Honda Shotaro, The Swallow's Architecture, 1923

Honda Shotaro, The Insects' Orchestra, 1922

Takei Takeo, Wood Crafts, words by Takei Takeo, 1928

Takei Takeo, Color Tape Crafts, 1927

Takei Takeo, Clay Crafts, 1927

Takei Takeo, Origami, 1927

Takei Takeo, Bean Crafts, 1927

Takei Takeo, Always Together, words by Mizutani Masaru, 1931

Takei Takeo, Mountain Climbing, 1929

Okamoto Kiichi, Jumping Rope, 1928

Okamoto Kiichi, Diving, 1928

Okamoto Kiichi, Seesaw, 1928

Image Source
The International Library of Children's Literature / National Diet Library


  1. Simply wonderful! These images are so much like my own childhood memories, it's hard to imagine that our cultures vary at all...at least in the heart of a child!

  2. these are extraordinary!
    thanks so much (& for the link to the exhibit!)


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