a case of the Hasui Kawase blues

Mt. Fuji and Kawai Bridge (1947)


For a little over a year, I’ve been sharing children’s book illustrations on Facebook every day. The best part is learning about so many new-to-me artists. In my online travels, I often stumble upon pieces I love that are not by children’s book illustrators, but prompt me to explore further.

This was the case with Japanese master woodblock printmaker Hasui Kawase (1883-1957), one of the most prominent artists of the shin-hanga (“new prints”) movement. Though I know very little about Japanese art, Hasui’s work spoke to me instantly. Such exquisite understated beauty! So peaceful and calming!

Mt. Fuji After Snow (1932)


Born in Tokyo, he studied both Japanese and European painting techniques and is known as the “Master of Snow.” He liked to travel around Japan, sketching and making watercolors of scenic landscapes and townscapes, upon which he based his prints. The shin-hanga movement focused on traditional themes (landscapes, famous places, beautiful women, birds and flowers) but incorporated Western elements (effects of light, expression of moods).

Evening Snow at Edo River (1932)


Hasui considered himself a realist, and his prints express a certain longing for a bygone Japan during a time of rapid social and cultural change. His work is characterized by its delicacy, restraint, and flawless composition.

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[sweet review] Timothy and Sarah: The Homemade Cake Contest by Midori Basho

Didn’t someone once say you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Well, anyone who reads Midori Basho’s Timothy and Sarah: The Homemade Cake Contest (Museyon, 2015) will certainly be able to do both. First published in Japan six years ago, The Homemade Cake Contest is the first title from Basho’s popular 13-book Timothy and Sarah series to be translated into English, and it’s quite scrumptious.

In this charming story, mouse twins Timothy and Sarah are excited about helping Miss Flora and their mother raise funds to restore an old house in the forest. It was once a wonderful café where guests could have tea and chat while their children played outside. If only they could repair the building and reopen the café! Then young and old alike could enjoy it together!

Adorable endpapers!

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