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uncle editor
Aug 10, 2023

Ryohei Yanagihara principle ~RyoheIZM~06

Ryohei Yanagihara principle ~RyoheIZM~06

uncle editor

Aug 10, 2023

"Funekichi"'s love for Yokohama and the port

"Funekichi"'s love for Yokohama and the port

Famous sweets are back

Famous sweets are back

Ryohei Yanagihara loved Yokohama. He lived on the hillside of Yamate and created many works while looking at the harbor from his study/workroom (though a few years later, the harbor was no longer visible due to other buildings). There was a company president with an office in Yokohama who loved his work. He had an idea that the power of Ryohei Yanagihara's paintings could be the catalyst to boost the popularity of his company's existing products.

Hisazo Fujiki, Chairman of Ariake Co., Ltd. He was the driving force behind the revival of Harbor in 1999 after it sadly disappeared from the market in 2001 due to bankruptcy.

One of the famous sweets of the port city of Yokohama is a boat-shaped Western-style confectionery called "Harbor." It was popular mainly in the Kanto region as a luxurious confectionery made with an abundance of chestnuts. Fujiki was shocked when he heard the news (in 1999) that the company that made this famous confectionery had gone bankrupt. Encouraged by the voices calling for its revival, mainly from local residents, he decided to take action.

Ryohei Yanagihara loved Yokohama. He lived on the hillside of Yamate and created many works while looking at the harbor from his study/workroom (though a few years later, the harbor was no longer visible due to other buildings). There was a company president with an office in Yokohama who loved his work. He had an idea that the power of Ryohei Yanagihara's paintings could be the catalyst to boost the popularity of his company's existing products.

Hisazo Fujiki, Chairman of Ariake Co., Ltd. He was the driving force behind the revival of Harbor in 1999 after it sadly disappeared from the market in 2001 due to bankruptcy.

One of the famous sweets of the port city of Yokohama is a boat-shaped Western-style confectionery called "Harbor." It was popular mainly in the Kanto region as a luxurious confectionery made with an abundance of chestnuts. Fujiki was shocked when he heard the news (in 1999) that the company that made this famous confectionery had gone bankrupt. Encouraged by the voices calling for its revival, mainly from local residents, he decided to take action.

The tale of the revival

To digress, on the first day of the Harbor revival campaign (April 2001, 4), as Mr. Fujiki was handing out flyers in front of the store wearing a sash, a woman approached him.

Seeing the woman's unusual expression, Fujiki asked, "What's wrong?" The woman said, "HABA was my late mother's favorite candy. I'm so happy that it's being revived, it's like my mother has come back," and she cried as she held Fujiki's hand tightly. Fujiki has never forgotten the emotion he felt at that moment, and decided to include the two characters "emotion" in the company's philosophy.

Renewal several years after the revival

The tale of the revival

The campaign was a success, and the harbor was revived beautifully! However, sales will naturally slow down after a few years. The year 2009 is coming up soon, and the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Yokohama will be celebrated with commemorative events planned. The city of Yokohama is taking the lead, and Yokohama-based companies are deciding to participate in the commemorative events one after another, racking their brains for ideas to enliven the local city of Yokohama.

Fujiki made up his mind and wrote a letter to Ryohei Yanagihara. "Would you be willing to use your illustrations for our product 'Harbor'?" He explained the history of Harbor and said he wanted to start a new Harbor with a new package. Current president Takahiro Horikoshi, who joined the company from the Harbor revival campaign at Fujiki's urging and worked hard to revive it, looks back on that time.


"We got a reply right away. They said, 'If that's the case, we'll draw a new one, so please let us know the product.' We had hoped to use a suitable one from among Yanagihara's drawings, but he said he would draw a new one just for Harbor."

Hisazo Fujiki was delighted by the unexpected response. He immediately sent over the materials for the main products "Yokohama Harbor (Double Marron)", "Kurofune Harbor (Chocolate Walnut)" and "Yokohama Bay Bridge Sable". As a result, the cut above was used for the signature product "Yokohama Harbor" from the pictures he received.

To digress, on the first day of the Harbor revival campaign (April 2001, 4), as Mr. Fujiki was handing out flyers in front of the store wearing a sash, a woman approached him.

Seeing the strange expression on the woman's face, Fujiki asked, "What's wrong?" The woman replied, "Harbor is a sweet that my late mother loved.
"It's like my mother has come back, I'm so happy," he said, tears streaming down his face as he held Fujiki's hand. Fujiki has never forgotten the emotion he felt at that moment, and has included the word "emotion" in the company's philosophy.

Renewal several years after the revival

A wonderful paper cut

The campaign was a success, and the harbor was revived beautifully! However, sales will naturally slow down after a few years. The year 2009 is coming up soon, and the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Yokohama will be celebrated with commemorative events planned. The city of Yokohama is taking the lead, and Yokohama-based companies are deciding to participate in the commemorative events one after another, racking their brains for ideas to enliven the local city of Yokohama.

Fujiki made up his mind and wrote a letter to Ryohei Yanagihara. "Would you be willing to use your illustrations for our product 'Harbor'?" He explained the history of Harbor and said he wanted to start a new Harbor with a new package. Current president Takahiro Horikoshi, who joined the company from the Harbor revival campaign at Fujiki's urging and worked hard to revive it, looks back on that time.

"We got a reply right away. They said, 'If that's the case, we'll draw a new one, so please let us know the product.' We had hoped to use a suitable one from among Yanagihara's drawings, but he said he would draw a new one just for Harbor."

Hisazo Fujiki was delighted by the unexpected response. He immediately sent over the materials for the main products "Yokohama Harbor (Double Marron)", "Kurofune Harbor (Chocolate Walnut)" and "Yokohama Bay Bridge Sable". As a result, the cut above was used for the signature product "Yokohama Harbor" from the pictures he received.

A wonderful paper cut

By the way, I was given a special look at the original artwork, and the tape being thrown from the boat is actually "paper cutouts" made by cutting colored paper with a razor and pasting it down.

The original painting is about 10-15cm square. Therefore, each tape is about 2mm wide. They are all cut parallel and smoothly (thin at the twisted parts, of course). What precision work! 


There is a phrase that means "jack of all trades, master of none," but in the case of Yanagihara, should we call him a "skilled celebrity"? Actually, calling him "skillful" is disrespectful to the artist Ryohei Yanagihara. In any case, all I can say is that his work is smooth and beautiful. I spent five minutes staring at the art, condensed into 10-15cm squares, and was deeply moved.

By the way, I was given a special look at the original artwork, and the tape being thrown from the boat is actually "paper cutouts" made by cutting colored paper with a razor and pasting it down.

The original painting is about 10-15cm square. Therefore, each tape is about 2mm wide. They are all cut parallel and smoothly (thin at the twisted parts, of course). What precision work! 

There is a phrase that means "jack of all trades, master of none," but in the case of Yanagihara, should we call him a "skilled celebrity"? Actually, calling him "skillful" is disrespectful to the artist Ryohei Yanagihara. In any case, all I can say is that his work is smooth and beautiful. I spent five minutes staring at the art, condensed into 10-15cm squares, and was deeply moved.

Renewal successful!

Eight years after the revival, on the debut day of the new Harbor, designed with Yanagihara's painting, Horikoshi was savoring his joy while serving customers at the storefront.

"We had a shop in the Diamond Underground Mall (now Sotetsu Joinus), and many customers came. Fans of the teacher said, 'Oh, this is it.' Some customers looked at it with interest and said, 'Oh, so this is the new Harbor.' Others said, 'Oh, Mr. Yanagihara's picture is on Harbor. I'll buy more from now on.' Our reputation grew in this way, and the number of stores selling our products increased dramatically from 2009 onwards."


The power of Yanagihara's art proved fruitful in the form of increased sales for Harbor, just as when he drew Uncle Torys for Kotobukiya (now Suntory Holdings) and contributed greatly to sales of Torys Whisky.


For this reason, the number of customers coming to buy Shin Harbor products increased dramatically after the renovation, and Yanagihara was one of the frequent customers.

"The professor often came to the store with his wife to send haba to all kinds of people. Being the kind of person he was, he must have had a wide circle of friends. He would come by all the time and write out receipts while talking with his wife. He was a really big customer."

Connecting citizens with the port

Not only in the harbor incident, he was also active in activities to enliven his hometown of Yokohama. One of these was the "Association Connecting Yokohama Citizens with the Port" (1977-1989).

One day, a female curator from the Yokohama Marine Science Museum came to Yanagihara's house to ask for advice, saying that the museum was in the red and was about to close. Yanagihara immediately set up the "Association to Connect Yokohama Citizens with the Port." Yanagihara felt it would be embarrassing for Yokohama, Japan's proud port city, to close a museum that displayed a wide range of ships and port-related items.

Upon hearing the call for the launch of the association, powerful people from all over Yokohama gathered together. Among them were Yukio Fujiki (no relation to Hisazo Fujiki) of Fujiki Enterprises, which was in charge of all port cargo handling operations, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Yokohama City University, a university professor who was an authority on port studies, Yurindo Bookstore, Hotel New Grand, and the city's Board of Education. The city authorities then withdrew their plans for closure. Yanagihara saved the museum.

Discover the Minato Mirai

Minato Mirai, which has now become one of Yokohama's leading tourist spots, was originally planned to relocate the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Yokohama Shipyard and reclaim the site to create a new town. It was Yanagihara who drew the poster asking for suggestions for a nickname for the town. Through this connection, Yanagihara became a member of the selection committee along with lyricist Yoko Aki and others (1982).

Within a month, 2,292 entries were received. Among them, Yanagihara picked out "Minato Mirai 21." His son, Ryota Yanagihara, told us the story of that time.

"That name has now become established, but it has a unique, or should I say mysterious, feel to it. I'm amazed they managed to unearth something like that. It was something that hadn't been selected before."

Yes. Because a huge number of applications were received, the city's Planning and Coordination Bureau preliminarily narrowed it down to 96 entries. However, Yanagihara found "Minato Mirai 21" among the remaining candidates. In the end, it was a one-on-one battle between "Minato Mirai 21" and "Akai Kutsu City," and the result of the vote was that "Minato Mirai 21" won. Ryota says,

"Whenever my father was asked for his opinion in various places, he would answer easily. I think it was because he didn't hesitate. He has clear values. For example, when it comes to naming something, he might say, 'It's not good to use foreign letters.' I saw him make such decisive statements in everyday life as well. I thought he was very decisive."

Come see the sailing ship Nippon Maru in Yokohama!

The representative symbol of the Minato Mirai area is the "Sailing Ship Nippon Maru," whose elegant appearance delights tourists. The aforementioned "Yokohama Citizens and Port Association" was also the one that worked hard to attract this beautiful sailing ship, known as the "Lady of the Sea" or the "Swan of the Pacific," to Yokohama. They set up a table at Osanbashi Pier and started a signature campaign, eventually collecting more than 83 signatures.


The result of 83 people prompted then-Mayor Michikazu Hosogo, who was the chairman of the Nippon Maru Sailboat Preservation Promotion Association, the main body of the bid movement, to take action. The number of signatures far exceeded the 50 votes Hosogo received in the mayoral election. A mayor who takes office through an election (and the number of votes he received) understands better than anyone the weight of votes. In the battle to bid for the Nippon Maru sailboat, which saw 10 well-known cities put their names forward, Yokohama was victorious in 1983.

Yanagihara's works, next to the sailing ship Nippon Maru

Thanks to Yanagihara's efforts, the Yokohama Marine Science Museum was saved from closure and later moved to a location right next to the dock where the Nippon Maru floats, and closed in 1989, handing over its functions to the new Yokohama Maritime Museum (1988-). In 2009, the Maritime Museum was renamed Yokohama Port Museum. A permanent corner called the Yanagihara Ryohei Art Museum was set up on the first floor, where around 1 of Yanagihara's works are on display.


Yanagihara would have been pleased to have his work permanently exhibited next to the Nippon Maru sailing ship. But in fact, the lady next to it (the Nippon Maru sailing ship) would probably have been even happier to have Yanagihara's work next to her. After all, Yanagihara had been asked by many of her fans to draw many portraits of her.

By the way, the portrait of her below (or rather, the two-shot with Yanagihara) is adorning the packaging of the summer-only "Bashamichi Ice Cream Harbor." (Continued in the next issue)

uncle editor

People in Royalty Bank. After working for a publishing company, he became independent and wrote articles for magazines and the web. Fascinated by the splendor of Ryohei Yanagihara's works, he began writing this column.

Renewal successful!

*Editor's note
The expression ``Fune-Kichi'' expresses the nuance of ``an unusual ship enthusiast.'' This expression is often used by Ryohei Yanagihara in his books, mainly towards himself, but there is no sense of any discrimination or contempt in it. Therefore, in this column, I purposely use the word ``funekichi'' without replacing it with other words.   

Eight years after the revival, on the debut day of the new Harbor, designed with Yanagihara's painting, Horikoshi was savoring his joy while serving customers at the storefront.

"We had a shop in the Diamond Underground Mall (now Sotetsu Joinus), and many customers came. Fans of the teacher said, 'Oh, this is it.' Some customers looked at it with interest and said, 'Oh, so this is the new Harbor.' Others said, 'Oh, Mr. Yanagihara's picture is on Harbor. I'll buy more from now on.' Our reputation grew in this way, and the number of stores selling our products increased dramatically from 2009 onwards."

The power of Yanagihara's art proved fruitful in the form of increased sales for Harbor, just as when he drew Uncle Torys for Kotobukiya (now Suntory Holdings) and contributed greatly to sales of Torys Whisky.

For this reason, the number of customers coming to buy Shin Harbor products increased dramatically after the renovation, and Yanagihara was one of the frequent customers.

"The professor often came to the store with his wife to send haba to all kinds of people. Being the kind of person he was, he must have had a wide circle of friends. He would come by all the time and write out receipts while talking with his wife. He was a really big customer."

Connecting citizens with the port

Not only in the harbor incident, he was also active in activities to enliven his hometown of Yokohama. One of these was the "Association Connecting Yokohama Citizens with the Port" (1977-1989).

One day, a female curator from the Yokohama Marine Science Museum came to Yanagihara's house to ask for advice, saying that the museum was in the red and was about to close. Yanagihara immediately set up the "Association to Connect Yokohama Citizens with the Port." Yanagihara felt it would be embarrassing for Yokohama, Japan's proud port city, to close a museum that displayed a wide range of ships and port-related items.

Upon hearing the call for the launch of the association, powerful people from all over Yokohama gathered together. Among them were Yukio Fujiki (no relation to Hisazo Fujiki) of Fujiki Enterprises, which was in charge of all port cargo handling operations, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Yokohama City University, a university professor who was an authority on port studies, Yurindo Bookstore, Hotel New Grand, and the city's Board of Education. The city authorities then withdrew their plans for closure. Yanagihara saved the museum.

Discover the Minato Mirai

Minato Mirai, which has now become one of Yokohama's leading tourist spots, was originally planned to relocate the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Yokohama Shipyard and reclaim the site to create a new town. It was Yanagihara who drew the poster asking for suggestions for a nickname for the town. Through this connection, Yanagihara became a member of the selection committee along with lyricist Yoko Aki and others (1982).

Within a month, 2,292 entries were received. Among them, Yanagihara picked out "Minato Mirai 21." His son, Ryota Yanagihara, told us the story of that time.


"That name has now become established, but it has a unique, or should I say mysterious, feel to it. I'm amazed they managed to unearth something like that. It was something that hadn't been selected before."

Yes. Because a huge number of applications were received, the city's Planning and Coordination Bureau preliminarily narrowed it down to 96 entries. However, Yanagihara found "Minato Mirai 21" among the remaining candidates. In the end, it was a one-on-one battle between "Minato Mirai 21" and "Akai Kutsu City," and the result of the vote was that "Minato Mirai 21" won. Ryota says,


"Whenever my father was asked for his opinion in various places, he would answer easily. I think it was because he didn't hesitate. He has clear values. For example, when it comes to naming something, he might say, 'It's not good to use foreign letters.' I saw him make such decisive statements in everyday life as well. I thought he was very decisive."

Come see the sailing ship Nippon Maru in Yokohama!

The representative symbol of the Minato Mirai area is the "Sailing Ship Nippon Maru," whose elegant appearance delights tourists. The aforementioned "Yokohama Citizens and Port Association" was also the one that worked hard to attract this beautiful sailing ship, known as the "Lady of the Sea" or the "Swan of the Pacific," to Yokohama. They set up a table at Osanbashi Pier and started a signature campaign, eventually collecting more than 83 signatures.

The result of 83 people prompted then-Mayor Michikazu Hosogo, who was the chairman of the Nippon Maru Sailboat Preservation Promotion Association, the main body of the bid movement, to take action. The number of signatures far exceeded the 50 votes Hosogo received in the mayoral election. A mayor who takes office through an election (and the number of votes he received) understands better than anyone the weight of votes. In the battle to bid for the Nippon Maru sailboat, which saw 10 well-known cities put their names forward, Yokohama was victorious in 1983.

Yanagihara's works, next to the sailing ship Nippon Maru

Thanks to Yanagihara's efforts, the Yokohama Marine Science Museum was saved from closure and later moved to a location right next to the dock where the Nippon Maru floats, and closed in 1989, handing over its functions to the new Yokohama Maritime Museum (1988-). In 2009, the Maritime Museum was renamed Yokohama Port Museum. A permanent corner called the Yanagihara Ryohei Art Museum was set up on the first floor, where around 1 of Yanagihara's works are on display.

Yanagihara would have been pleased to have his work permanently exhibited next to the Nippon Maru sailing ship. But in fact, the lady next to it (the Nippon Maru sailing ship) would probably have been even happier to have Yanagihara's work next to her. After all, Yanagihara had been asked by many of her fans to draw many portraits of her.

By the way, the portrait of her below (or rather, the two-shot with Yanagihara) is adorning the packaging of the summer-only "Bashamichi Ice Cream Harbor." (Continued in the next issue)

Ryohei Yanagihara

Born in Tokyo in 1931. In 1954, he joined Kotobukiya (now Suntory Holdings). He produced many popular advertisements one after another and won many awards, including the Dentsu Award and the Mainichi Industrial Design Award, before retiring and going independent. He loved ships and ports and moved to Yokohama. In addition to being a painter, he is a graphic designer, book designer, picture book author, animator, and writer. Passed away on August 2015, 8 at the age of 17.

uncle editor

People in Royalty Bank. After working for a publishing company, he became independent and wrote articles for magazines and the web. Fascinated by the splendor of Ryohei Yanagihara's works, he began writing this column.

*Editor's note
The expression ``Fune-Kichi'' expresses the nuance of ``an unusual ship enthusiast.'' This expression is often used by Ryohei Yanagihara in his books, mainly towards himself, but there is no sense of any discrimination or contempt in it. Therefore, in this column, I purposely use the word ``funekichi'' without replacing it with other words.   

References
・"Picture Diary of a Boat Trip" (Tokuma Bunko)

People who cooperated

●Horikoshi Takahiro Born in Kawasaki in 1968. He spent his school days playing baseball. In 2001, he participated in the Harbor Revival Campaign as a member of the Executive Committee. After that, he was in charge of manufacturing and product planning, mainly focusing on Harbor sales activities, and met Yanagihara Ryohei. He has created a variety of hit products through collaboration projects and other means, pioneering new markets. He became president of the company in 2013. He lives in Yokohama.

Those who cooperated

●Horikoshi Takahiro Born in Kawasaki in 1968. He spent his school days playing baseball. In 2001, he participated in the Harbor Revival Campaign as a member of the Executive Committee. After that, he was in charge of manufacturing and product planning, mainly focusing on Harbor sales activities, and met Yanagihara Ryohei. He has created a variety of hit products through collaboration projects and other means, pioneering new markets. He became president of the company in 2013. He lives in Yokohama.                    

Ryohei Yanagihara principle ~RyoheIZM~

In my previous column, I wrote that the individuality shown in Ryohei Yanagihara's paintings is due to the design sense he has cultivated as a designer. However, in the art world, there seems to be a big gap between painters and designers.

For example, in the case of Cassandre, a famous French revolutionary designer who appeared in the previous issue, he only considered design work as a means to make a living until he could make a living as a painter.

Naturally, Ryohei Yanagihara's paintings have a unique originality that is different from others. I have written several times before about what makes them different, but I wanted to know why they are different. The first thing that comes to mind is that Yanagihara is not only a painter, but also an illustrator, manga artist, designer, and book designer. According to Mr. Shizawa, former director of the Yokohama Port Museum,
I saw the original pen drawing, simply titled "Sailing Passenger Ship." It was a monochrome, simple line drawing, but it was detailed with the mast, protruding bow, sails, and even the many ropes, including the tugs of war.
The other day, I had the chance to see another original painting by Yanagihara. It is a rare cut-out piece with the title "The Michelangelo in the Port of Naples" written inside the painting. The sight of the famous ship, the Michelangelo, floating in the calm port under the clear skies of Naples is truly elegant, and one can feel the leisurely flow of time.
Ryohei Yanagihara's ships are often friendly and cute, rather than majestic. Where does this friendliness come from? And how does he express it? Masakatsu Shizawa, former director of the Yokohama Port Museum, sums it up in one word: "They're deformed, aren't they? In other words, they're compressed."
I wanted to know when and how Yanagiwara Ryohei's love of ships was developed. However, I couldn't find anyone who knew about his childhood. Instead, I will introduce some passages from "Yanagiwara Ryohei's My Life" that gave me some clues. After the war (1945), Japan was under the control of the occupying forces and was not allowed to build ships, but in 1946 permission was granted to build small boats. The following year, in 1947, Yanagiwara Ryohei (15 years old), a junior high school student living in the Kansai region,
Ryohei Yanagihara loved Yokohama. He lived on the hillside of Yamate and created many works while looking at the harbor from his study/workroom (though a few years later, the harbor was no longer visible due to other buildings). There was a company president with an office in Yokohama who loved his work. He had an idea that the power of Ryohei Yanagihara's paintings could be the catalyst to boost the popularity of his company's existing products.
Now, finally, let's talk about ships. Yanagiwara's love (= knowledge) of ships is so vast and deep that I'm not sure where to begin. Anyone who reads "Senpai Enikki" (Tokuma Bunko) will understand the depth of his love for ships. Not only are specifications such as displacement (total tonnage), speed, number of passengers, ship registry, construction company, and owner company (even transitions), but there are also detailed descriptions of cabin rates from first to third class, as well as diagrams showing the location of each cabin. Of course, some may say that this can be found by researching or taking notes. However, at that time, it was impossible to casually search and find out. You had to find out how to research and who to contact on your own.
Line drawings are the starting point of Ryohei Yanagiwara's work. For him, sketching is part of daily life, and sketching starts with line drawings. He has left behind many tasteful works using line drawings. The illustrations in "Three Policemen" (Gakken) are one of the works where such illustrations can be seen. The three main characters, the policemen, are all, as usual, two-and-a-half-headed, and have almost the same faces except for the direction of their whiskers, but
Last time, I wrote about the creation of the immortal character "Uncle Tris," who has been active for over half a century since its creation in 1958. Even Ryohei Yanagihara himself probably never imagined that he would be so popular for so long. This is proof that the work contains a universality that even the author himself is not aware of. In other words, Ryohei Yanagihara's work contains "universality called charm."
The path, the ship and the port that you carve for yourself are themes that Ryohei Yanagihara has faced throughout his life, and anyone who looks at his paintings is captivated by Yanagihara's unique style, which is full of originality. I will write about his charm many times in the future, changing hands and objects, but before that, I would like to highlight another characteristic of his work: the interestingness of his portraits. .
It's frustrating not being able to say what's good about it The charm of ship paintings and the fun of portraits A painting of a ship by Ryohei Yanagihara. Sometimes it's a luxury cruise ship moored at a pier, and sometimes it's a powerful container ship being unloaded with a crane. Some of the works depict passengers waving from the deck of a passenger ship, or a captain gazing at the ship's course from the bridge of a cargo ship. Although the painting of the ship itself is far from realistic, it exudes a unique sense of detail and condensation, while the people are deformed to look like manga. .

Ryohei Yanagihara principle ~RyoheIZM~

In my previous column, I wrote that the individuality shown in Ryohei Yanagihara's paintings is due to the design sense he has cultivated as a designer. However, in the art world, there seems to be a big gap between painters and designers.

For example, in the case of Cassandre, a famous French revolutionary designer who appeared in the previous issue, he only considered design work as a means to make a living until he could make a living as a painter.

Naturally, Ryohei Yanagihara's paintings have a unique originality that is different from others. I have written several times before about what makes them different, but I wanted to know why they are different. The first thing that comes to mind is that Yanagihara is not only a painter, but also an illustrator, manga artist, designer, and book designer. According to Mr. Shizawa, former director of the Yokohama Port Museum,
I saw the original pen drawing, simply titled "Sailing Passenger Ship." It was a monochrome, simple line drawing, but it was detailed with the mast, protruding bow, sails, and even the many ropes, including the tugs of war.
The other day, I had the chance to see another original painting by Yanagihara. It is a rare cut-out piece with the title "The Michelangelo in the Port of Naples" written inside the painting. The sight of the famous ship, the Michelangelo, floating in the calm port under the clear skies of Naples is truly elegant, and one can feel the leisurely flow of time.
Ryohei Yanagihara's ships are often friendly and cute, rather than majestic. Where does this friendliness come from? And how does he express it? Masakatsu Shizawa, former director of the Yokohama Port Museum, sums it up in one word: "They're deformed, aren't they? In other words, they're compressed."
I wanted to know when and how Yanagiwara Ryohei's love of ships was developed. However, I couldn't find anyone who knew about his childhood. Instead, I will introduce some passages from "Yanagiwara Ryohei's My Life" that gave me some clues. After the war (1945), Japan was under the control of the occupying forces and was not allowed to build ships, but in 1946 permission was granted to build small boats. The following year, in 1947, Yanagiwara Ryohei (15 years old), a junior high school student living in the Kansai region,
Ryohei Yanagihara loved Yokohama. He lived on the hillside of Yamate and created many works while looking at the harbor from his study/workroom (though a few years later, the harbor was no longer visible due to other buildings). There was a company president with an office in Yokohama who loved his work. He had an idea that the power of Ryohei Yanagihara's paintings could be the catalyst to boost the popularity of his company's existing products.
Now, finally, let's talk about ships. Yanagiwara's love (= knowledge) of ships is so vast and deep that I'm not sure where to begin. Anyone who reads "Senpai Enikki" (Tokuma Bunko) will understand the depth of his love for ships. Not only are specifications such as displacement (total tonnage), speed, number of passengers, ship registry, construction company, and owner company (even transitions), but there are also detailed descriptions of cabin rates from first to third class, as well as diagrams showing the location of each cabin. Of course, some may say that this can be found by researching or taking notes. However, at that time, it was impossible to casually search and find out. You had to find out how to research and who to contact on your own.
Line drawings are the starting point of Ryohei Yanagiwara's work. For him, sketching is part of daily life, and sketching starts with line drawings. He has left behind many tasteful works using line drawings. The illustrations in "Three Policemen" (Gakken) are one of the works where such illustrations can be seen. The three main characters, the policemen, are all, as usual, two-and-a-half-headed, and have almost the same faces except for the direction of their whiskers, but
Last time, I wrote about the creation of the immortal character "Uncle Tris," who has been active for over half a century since its creation in 1958. Even Ryohei Yanagihara himself probably never imagined that he would be so popular for so long. This is proof that the work contains a universality that even the author himself is not aware of. In other words, Ryohei Yanagihara's work contains "universality called charm."
The path, the ship and the port that you carve for yourself are themes that Ryohei Yanagihara has faced throughout his life, and anyone who looks at his paintings is captivated by Yanagihara's unique style, which is full of originality. I will write about his charm many times in the future, changing hands and objects, but before that, I would like to highlight another characteristic of his work: the interestingness of his portraits. .
It's frustrating not being able to say what's good about it The charm of ship paintings and the fun of portraits A painting of a ship by Ryohei Yanagihara. Sometimes it's a luxury cruise ship moored at a pier, and sometimes it's a powerful container ship being unloaded with a crane. Some of the works depict passengers waving from the deck of a passenger ship, or a captain gazing at the ship's course from the bridge of a cargo ship. Although the painting of the ship itself is far from realistic, it exudes a unique sense of detail and condensation, while the people are deformed to look like manga. .