In Japan, many companies, especially those in manufacturing, take a summer break around the Obon festival, a Buddhist event that honors ancestral spirits.
Typical Obon events in Kyoto include the “Daimonji Gozan Okuribi” (Daimonji Bonfire).
On one of these summer days, I visited the Fukuda Art Museum in Arashiyama, a popular tourist spot recognized outside of Japan, to see a collection exhibition of Takehisa Yumeji’s works, “Takehisa Yumeji – The painter is also a poet and a designer”.
Yumeji was a renowned painter in Japan during the early 1900s. He was also a graphic designer and a writer of poetry and other literature. He is best known for his numerous portraits of beautiful women, and his poetic style, often referred to as “Yumeji-style beauties,” remains popular to this day.
Moreover, Yumeji fully showcased his talents as what we would now call a graphic and fashion designer, earning high praise for his book covers, illustrations, and advertising art, and he enjoyed unwavering popularity among the masses.
By the way, there’s a deep connection between Takehisa Yumeji and Kogei Art KYOTO, operated by the company Karafuneya. The founder of Karafuneya, Horio Kohtaro, had a close relationship with Yumeji, who once lived in Kyoto. The name “Karafuneya,” which often appears in Yumeji’s paintings, was adopted as the company name. It’s also speculated that the Karafuneya logo was designed by Yumeji. During my visit to the Fukuda Art Museum, I spotted a postcard piece with the word “Karafuneya” written on it.
The ongoing collection exhibition at the Fukuda Art Museum, “Takehisa Yumeji – The painter is also a poet and a designer” will be held until October 9, 2023.