The illustrated book for the exhibition is designed in a creative way that offers the reader a fun way to enjoy omocha-e
. It is brimming with playful spirit. The cover is reminiscent of a children's magazine, with a sort of lively and whimsical feel. This is the kind of impression we wanted the book to give. It is titled Edo Ichinensei
(Edo First Grader). The illustrations scattered across the cover are all taken from the ukiyo-e
that were displayed in the exhibitions. Those with the illustrated book can enjoy finding each of the ukiyo-e
on the cover.
The two-page spread containing the table of contents also has a trick that will engage the reader's playful spirit. It is designed as a sugoroku
board (a Japanese board game) that travels through Ukiyo-e Yokocho. It starts with the "Greeting" chapter, then continues to "What is Omocha-e
?" I'd like to introduce some of what the students wrote.
When you hear about ukiyo-e, do you find it to be difficult to get into, and hard to approach?
Omocha-e are exactly what the name suggests—they're ukiyo-e that were published for children as toys during the Edo and Meiji periods.
None of them were high-quality prints. They were mostly miniatures of plays, illustrated animal encyclopedias, decorative fabrics, and sugoroku boards—mere toys that were cut up, pasted, and played with, meaning that few still exist nowadays.
They are colorful, fun, and vaguely nostalgic. Out of this world of omocha-e, you may see new glimpses of life in the Edo and Meiji eras that we've never seen before.
As described in the table of contents, the exhibition is structured in three parts. The first chapter is titled "Saikumono
" (Cut-and-Paste Crafts), the second is called "Monozukushi/Etoki
" (Illustrated Encyclopedia/Pictorial Explanations), and the third is called Sugoroku
. The exhibition contains a total of 20 pieces of ukiyo-e
. Here, I will introduce the following three works of art: a kumiage-e
(cut-and-paste crafts), a monozukushi
, and sugoroku
. We hope you get a sense of this world of omocha-e
, which the student above aptly described as "colorful, fun, and vaguely nostalgic."