Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Now and Then

In a happy moment of internet serendipity, while doing an entirely unrelated search, I came across the bottom picture of the flapper girl contemplating her doll just a day after taking the top picture of the anthropomorphized fruit in my local bookstore.

While the fruit seem grumpy, the girl is definitely contemplative, a nice contrast to the present day almost unremitting cheery, chipper cartoon images all around us.

The boxed, two-volume set is a compilation of the greatest hits from the journal Kodomo no Kuni (Kids' Land) which was published monthly, mostly in the 1920s, 30s, with a few issues in the 40s. You can learn more about the history of it here, but I first came across some of the images here. The bottom picture shows the magazine cover for the January, 1922 issue.

One of the interesting aspects of the boxed reprint is that the designers elected to erase the magazine's original title, which read from right to left, and replace it with a more modern version reading left to right. Below is the original with the katakana reading from right to left.

You still occasionally see print reading from right to left here — on the side of a boat or an old sign — but I suspect the practice was abruptly ended at the conclusion of World War II. 

I'll have to do a little research and get back to you.

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