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Children's Song
Kodomo no kuni and It's Artist
The Children of Kodomo no kuni
Introduction

The children in the pages of Kodomo no kuni for the first ten years from its founding do not look much different from children now more than half a century later in the new millennium.
 
My Room
January 1930. Okamoto Kiichi
The School Outing
May 1930. Fukuda Shinsei
There are children wearing colorful dresses, chapeau, galloshes and umbrellas, mantles fluttering in the wind, in fur-collared winter coats, sitting beside windows with flowered curtains, eating strawberries at a table covered with a tablecloth, climbing on a jungle gym, gazing at a department-store window display with a Santa climbing into a chimney.
By the end of the twentieth century, such scenes were a familiar part of daily life and lore for most Japanese citizens.
 
Stepping on Shadows
October 1928. Isayama Yoshie
Back cover
July 1930. Fukuda Shinsei
 
The Piano
July 1928. Okamoto Kiichi
Studying
November 1925. Ito Takashi
   
Feeding Baby
October 1927. Okamoto Kiichi
 
The children in Kodomo no kuni seem to be enjoying the pleasures of modern city life. There are Western-style houses, trains and cars running along busy streets, airplanes flying in the sky, and subways passing beneath a townscape bristling with skyscrapers.

What is different from now is the energy and cheerfulness with which people seemed to be looking forward to the happy future that materialistic prosperity would surely bring.
 
Jumping Rope
March 1931. Kawashima Haruyo
The Little Traffic Controller
May 1930. Okamoto Kiichi
   
At the Department Store
February 1932. Yasui Koyata
 
Taisho Romanticism was a product of the age when Japan's drive to catch up with the modern West, begun at the start of the Meiji era in 1868, was nearly realized.

The urban surroundings of the children in the pages of Kodomo no kuni in the1920s are almost foreign. Here is the world that reflects the Japanese conviction that Japan would sooner or later be wealthier and more powerful, a confidence that was bolstered by success in rapid modernization.
 
Writing New Year's Cards
December 1922. Honda Shotaro
Babies of Japan, Britain, United States, France, and Italy
January 1931. Okamoto Kiichi
Children and adults cheered as they gaze up at the Zeppelin airship flying in from a faraway Western country. It was the beginning of a dramatically different time when adults and the young together began sharing one new experience after another.

The building of a new transportation system and the introduction of new communication devices like telephones and radios promised more convenient lives in the industrial age.
 
The German Blimp
November 1929. Okamoto Kiichi
Steel Bridge
November 1931. Yasui Koyata
 
The Telephone
January 1923. Okamoto Kiichi
Building a Radio
February 1928. Okamoto Kiichi
Kurahashi Sozo inspired artists to draw children growing up free and happy in the family and then in places of broader experience at kindergarten and school. His images of grown-ups laboring in society also expressed one of his important themes. The artists took Kurahashi's challenge seriously.
They vividly portrayed, and thus recorded for history, children pursuing various activities in diverse venues.
 
Playing "Rakansan"
March 1923. Okamoto Kiichi
The Fountain
August 1927. Okamoto Kiichi
 
The Jungle Gym
October 1930. Okamoto Kiichi
Field Day
October 1928. Kawakami Shiro
 
Pushing the Cart
September 1923. Okamoto Kiichi
Threshing Rice
December 1927. Matsuyama Fumio
   
Storytelling
February 1929. Okamoto Kiichi