Fujita Kenji ふじたけんじ, artist . Mokko (Ehon) 絵本 モッコ, Tsugaru no Warabe Uta 絵本 津軽のわらべうた (Ehon), Hachi no Tarō (Ehon) 絵本 八の太郎, 3 volumes. Aomori-ken Bungei Kyōkai Shuppanbu 青森県文芸協会出版部, publisher. Aomori-ken 青森県. 1971, 1973, 1975.
Mokko (Ehon) モッコ 絵本. Fujita Kenji ふじたけんじ, artist, Kimura Isao きむらいさお, author and Kawashima Keizō かわしまけいぞう, blockcutter. Aomori-ken Bungei Kyōkai Shuppanbu 青森県文芸協会出版部. 1971.
Single volume 42 x 29.5cm bound Japanese style, fukuro-toji. Navy fabric wrappers bound with red thread with a printed title slip. No limitation given. Black and white throughout with Japanese text. Illustrated title page followed by 12 large, double-page, woodblock illustrations by Fujita Kenji ふじたけんじ [藤田健治]. Text is by Kimura Isao きむらいさお and blocks are cut by Kawashima Keizō かわしまけいぞう.
Manga and monsters go hand-in-hand, and in this book, cartoon-like characters face imaginary beasts of large proportions. Fujita uses the double-page to great advantage; the monsters appear even larger and scarier as a result. In Mokko, the first illustration is a landscape of a snowy winter day and the second illustration features a tree that is centered between the pages, stretching over to both sides, while villagers work in the rice fields underneath its branches. The idyllic atmosphere is ruptured in the third illustration, when a creature appears out of nowhere, killing many of the villagers. The gigantic centipede-like insect confronts the citizens and reader across double pages until ultimately the village is saved by the volcano Mokko that watches over it. The last page is simply white text against a dark background.
Fujita Kenji [藤田健治] was born in 1939 in Tsuruta-cho 鶴田町 in Aomori-ken 青森県, a lovely, forested prefecture that to this day reflects its name of “Aomori” (青森, “green woods.”) A cartoonist, print artist and essayist, he formerly retired in 1999, but his work continues to be exhibited in museums and featured in local commercial products. Starting out as a civil servant working for the local Minyu Aomori 青森民友 newspaper, he was encouraged in his artwork. As a child, he had been inspired by the established manga artists Osamu Tetzuka 手塚治虫 and Masazo Takenami 竹浪正造 and so began developing his unique cartoon style, relying on his rural childhood for inspiration. One particular memory, of playing under a neighborhood Tamo tree (タモ, Japanese ash) , influenced many of his landscape and pictorial images. The artistry of woodblock prints, coupled with the whimsy and nostalgia of childhood, is an intriguing combination. He is also known for his non-fiction book "Kangofu no Oyaji Ganbaru" 看護婦のオヤジがんばる series, based on his own experience of living with a wife who was a nurse, which was made into a movie in 1980.
Housed in a fabric-covered navy chitsu 43 x 30.5cm with a centered, printed title slip and navy ties. Fine condition.
(Ehon) Tsugaru no Warabe Uta 絵本 津軽のわらべうた
Fujita Kenji ふじたけんじ, artist
Aomori-ken Bungei Kyōkai Shuppanbu 青森県文芸協会出版部
Single volume 42 x 29.5cm bound Japanese style, fukuro-toji. Navy paper wrappers bound with white thread with a printed title slip. Black and white throughout with Japanese text. Labeled 126 of a limitation of 200. Illustrated title page followed by 12 large woodblock illustrations on the left hand side and a song/poem printed in hiragana on the facing page. All but one poem has one or more explanatory notes, suggesting that it was written with children in mind.
Charming and witty illustrations with traditional poems similar to western nursery rhymes from the Tsugaru area, the western region of Aomori Prefecture. Charming landscapes of village life, one with a large mountain in the background, others with a towering tree, the latter likely the influence of the Tamo tree that the artist played under in childhood. One is titled ‘Mokko” with a note that explains that it is from the girl’s name ‘Mo,’ an interesting comparison with the volcano of the same name in an earlier volume in the group. Another Another rhyme, Ikkaku Nikkaku一角 二角, is a version of a nursery rhyme / patty-cake-type song sometimes called Ikake Nikake. Done in a round, the last word of the initial phrase becomes the first word in the next phrase, and so on. Other subjects include crows, sparrows, snow and New Year’s.
Housed in a navy chitsu 43 x 30.5cm with a centered, printed title slip and navy ties. Foxing in a few spots, otherwise in fine condition.
Hachi no Tarō (Ehon) 絵本 八の太郎
Fujita Kenji ふじたけんじ, artist and Shōbuke Taneyasu しょうぶけたねやす, author
Aomori-ken Bungei Kyōkai Shuppanbu 青森県文芸協会出版部
Single volume 42 x 29.5cm bound Japanese style, fukuro-toji. Navy paper wrappers bound with white thread with a printed title slip. Black and white throughout with Japanese text. Title page followed by 12 large, double-page, woodblock illustrations. Labeled 39 of a limited edition of 200.
The tale of Hachi no Tarō 八の太郎 is a Japanese legend about a boy from Aomori-ken 青森県 whose father is a snake, and as a young man he turns into one as well, after drinking from a lake. It is not surprising that the artist Fujita Kenji ふじたけんじ chose this story to depict, as he grew up in Aomori prefecture and enjoyed local folklore.
Housed in a navy chitsu 43 x 30.5cm with a centered, printed title slip and navy ties. Foxing on inside covers, otherwise fine condition.