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1893 - 1939

Honda was born in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka prefecture in 1893. In 1907, at the age of fourteen, he was accepted at the Taiheiyo Gakai Kenkyujo, a school of Western-style art affiliated with the Taiheiyo Gakai (Pacific Art Society Institute) established in 1904. He studied Western-style painting under Ishii Hakutei and Ishii Toraji. At the same time, he taught himself ukiyo-e by copying works by the masters. In 1910, he won first place in a cover design contest for the magazine Shonen sekai [Boy's World]. In 1913, he started illustrating for magazines published by Hakubunkan, including Yonen gaho [Toddler's Illustrated] and Yonen sekai [Infant's World], and for the magazine Shojo [Girls] printed by Jijishinpo. In the 1920s, he was active as an established illustrator for such prominent journals as Kodomo no kuni [Children's Land], Kodomo asahi [Children's Asahi], and Kodomo no tomo [The Child's Friend]. From 1928 to 1936 he illustrated for Shonen kurabu [Boy's Club]. He was also one of the artists recruited to illustrate the well-known Nihon dowa senshu [Collected Japanese Stories] (Maruzen Co., 1926-1936) and Nihon jido bunko [Library for Japanese Children] (Arusu, 1927-1930). Among Honda's leading works are Koganemaru [Koganemaru the Dog] by Iwaya Sazanami (1938), Songoku [The Monkey King] (1939), and Songoku to Hakkai [The Monkey King and Hakkai] (1940) in the Kodansha Picture Book series.