Friday, December 18, 2009

The History of Manga, Part 7

Again, Tokyo Art Beat comes to the rescue, this time for Hidetsune Kobayashi (1908-1942). In 1934, he started illustrating a serialized novel by Kan Kikuchi, entitled "Teiso Mondo" ("Chastity Talk", "貞操問答"), which appeared in one of the newspapers. Within a few years, he was being called one of the "three masters of illustration" along with Sentarou Iwata and Tatsumi Shimura. However, he became ill, and died a few years later at age 34. In all, his work spanned less than a decade.

("Orizuru" ("Folded Paper Crane") by Hidestune Kobayashi, Shojo no Tomo, 1938, from Gekkan Bijutsu, used for review purposes only.)

Now, here's where things get interesting. Edogawa Rampo was one of Japan's first mystery writers, and his first novel came out in 1923. The first story he wrote for children was "Kaijin Nijuu Mensou" ("The Mysterious Man of 20 Faces"). According to the One Hundred Japanese Books for Children website, "Kaijin Nijuu Mensou" was serialized in Shonen Kurabu magazine in 1936 and was illustrated by Hidetsune. We're now starting to see shojo illustrators crossing over into the shonen magazine world. Other artists did cross over between shonen and shojo magazines, but this is the first example worth talking about. It's still not panel strip-style manga, but it does show that the trend of illustrating stories was prominent in both shonen and shojo magazines in the '30s. The One Hundred Japanese Books for Children page continues on to state that Kobayashi also illustrated Edogawa's later stories "Shonen Tantei Dan" ("A Troop of Boy Detectives") and "Youkai Hakase" ("A Monstrous Doctor").

(Conversely, author Kan Kikuchi went on to found Bungeishunju publishing, which issues a literary monthly magazine of the same name. The company has also been presenting the Bungeishunju Manga Award, recognizing manga artists and illustrators, since 1955.)

Technically, Jun'ichi Nakahara (1912-1983) doesn't really belong in this list of featured shojo magazine illustrators because he wasn't one of the 10 in the main list. On the other hand, it's his publishing company that printed the Shojo no Tomo magazine collection sold at the Yayoi-Yumeji Gallery exhibit (and is still available from the Soleil shop in Hiro-o, near Ebisu), and he is one of the artists featured on the September issue cover of Gekkan Bijutsu magazine which ran the list of the other 10 people. So, I'll let him slide this time.

(Soleil, in Hiro-o.)

(Shojo no Tomo covers by Jun'ichi Nakahara, from Gekkan Bijutsu, used for review purposes only.)

As mentioned in Part 2, Jun'ichi started out as a dress designer and fashion illustrator. He was attracted to illustrating for shojo magazines in the 1920's, and he produced the cover art for quite a few issues of Shojo no Tomo up into the '30s. He doesn't seem to have gotten into panel manga, though. In 1946, he started up his own girl's magazine, Soleil, which ran until 1960, and then Himawari (Sunflower), which ran from '47 to '52. The Soleil shop, between Shibuya and Roppongi in Tokyo, continues to sell his prints, and displays some of his dress patterns. The Artlino webpage entry for him credits his "big eye style" as a forerunner of modern manga design, and it may have influenced Katsudi's own characters, when he started working for Shojo Gaho in 1928. Compare Katsudi's Kurumi-chan, which first appeared in 1938, to Jun'ichi's cover girls.

(Note that Artlino gives Jun'ichi's birth date as 1913, while Gekkan Bijutsu says it's 1912.)

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