Friday, October 12, 2007

Old Folks' Day

The third Monday of September is "Respect for the Aged Day" in Japan. In practical terms, it's generally a celebration of grandparents, and it's pretty common for school kids to do something special for Ba-chan (Grandma) and Ji-chan (Grandpa). Here in Miyazaki most (or perhaps all?) of the elementary schools had the kids draw pictures of their grandparents, and then put them all on display at the local shopping center.

Now, you may be wondering why in hell I'm posting about this now, some three weeks after the fact. Well, it so happens that I took some pictures of the above-mentioned drawings while at the shopping center with my daughter a few weeks back, and I'd forgotten about them until today, while I was trying to capture a shot of the corpse of a giant spider that I found in my office... well, that's another story! They were shot with my cell phone, so they're not up to the usual artistic standards of everything else here (har har). Still, I found the kids' drawings to be colorful and interesting. It was also interesting how drawings from different schools were done using different "techniques" (er, almost as if they came from, um, like, different "schools", if you know what I mean...).

Anyway, here are a few of them (click to enlarge). Oh yeah, let's get Phoctober!


  1. I'm always fascinated by how many (unskilled) Japanese drawings I see where the eyes look round. What do you think explains this? Do Japanese not see themselves as having almond-shaped eyes, or is this a reaction to seeing so many images of westerners?

    Come to that, any idea why animé characters always look so wide-eyed?

    I hope I don't sound racist. I'm just ignorant, and curious.

  2. Brendan,
    I think anyone would have to be blind not to make the same observation. I've heard lots of "explanations" for this (a subliminal desire to be "western" seems to be a common theme, but hardly explains the kids' drawings), but most of them are crap. I read an interesting article once that seemed to show that there was nothing unusual, let alone abnormal, in any of this. Unfortunately I lost the link...

  3. There's a couple of schools there that seems to have lots of PINK paint. I like the block print ones.

  4. I think there's very little more wonderful and captivating than the art of children - they see with such fresh eyes! Lovely, Kyklops!
    PS I notice none of them painted their grandparents' legs...

  5. Verilion,
    Yeah, the block print ones remind me of some European stuff from maybe the 50's or earlier...

    I agree with what you say about kids and art. As for the legs, well, it's a social taboo to depict the legs in paint in Japan...