Junichi Nakahara (1913-1988) was a prominent artist well-known for his illustrations, fashion designs, interior decorating and doll making. He started out as a dress designer and fashion illustrator and in the 1920s he was attracted to illustrating for Shojo magazines* and produced the cover art for several issues of “Shojo no Tomo” (Girls’ Friend) up into the ’30s.
His lyrical illustrations of young girls with big eyes were famous and people consider him as a forerunner of manga art. If you’ve seen his works you can feel there’s a quiet modernism that makes them just as contemporary today as when he created them.
Right after the WWII, a period of extreme poverty, Nakahara started up his own girls’ magazine “Soleil” and “Himawari” (Sunflower -1947) where he himself did the development, editing and design. Years later, after a study trip to Paris, he launched “Junior Soleil” (1954) and in 1970 his last magazine “Onna no heya” (Woman’s Room), all dedicated to realizing his unique world and vision, all dedicated to women.
Nakahara’s old-fashioned sense of style is still popular with younger generations. He left a large number of works and reproductions of his illustrations and magazines are still available.
Where can you get Nakahara’s works? それいゆ (“Soleil”) is a boutique located in Hiroo dedicated to selling a variety of goods and books. Here are some photos I took earlier this morning. So many pretty things! Thank you so much for letting me shot inside your beautiful boutique! ありがとございます!
The Kyoto fashion brand Sou Sou has created a limited edition of 10 traditional Japanese garments inspired in Nakahara’s works. Five of them are reproductions of Kimonos in Nakahara’s pictures, and the other five include original Sou Sou elements.
About Sou Sou…Sou Sou is a fashion brand original from Kyoto. They make and sell original textiles, tabi and kimono. The brand was established in 2002 by textile designer Wakisaka Katsuji, architect Tsujimura Hisanobu a, and designer cum producer Wakabayashi Takeshi. Their concept is “Modern design as an extension to Japanese tradition”. They have numerous shops in Kyoto, and several in Tokyo and overseas
*Shōjo Manga or Shōjo Magazines: manga marketed to a female audience roughly between the ages of 10 and 18.