Raised in the tumult of Japan’s industrial powerhouse, the 11 men and women profiled in A Different Kind of Luxury have all made the transition to sustainable, fulfilling lives. Based on Andy Couturier's popular articles in The Japan Times, this lushly designed volume has a wealth of stories about real people who have created an abundance of time for contemplation, connecting with the natural world, and contributing to their communities. In their success is a lesson for us all: live a life that matters. Read an excerpt of the book here or here. Read a review of the book here, here, or here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Art of Hideo Ito

One person I have known for years, and is a close friend of many of the people in the book, and who I have always admired is the children's book artist Hideo Ito.

Painting of Kogan and Sayaka  Murata 
He publishes two or more books every year, in a tremendous variety of styles, and has exhibited at the gallery in Nagoya at the Tokurinji Temple, (mentioned throughout the book) and was good friends with Akira Ito (no family relation) who I wrote about in Chapter Six.

The painting above is not from his children's book collection, but a single edition watercolor of Murata san (from Chapter 4) and his partner Sayaka.  I love this photo.  It was tricky to get a good shot of it since it is mounted in glass.  You can see Murata playing the flute and Sayaka, who is a novelist writing.  Yet another way of seeing their way of life.

Cover of Chikara Taro
Illustrations by Hideo Ito

This is one of Hideo's newest book.  It translates roughly as "Power Boy."  I think it would make a GREAT book in English.  It would need translation of course, and a publisher, but I think you can see from these quick snapshots the power of his work. (Interested parties can email him directly at 

The boy Chikara Taro confronts a magician
in Chikara Taro illustrated by Hideo Ito 
I just had dinner with Hideo and some other friends while visiting Tokurinji.  I will be posting a lot in the next few months with reports on my journey to Japan.  But for now, I hope you enjoy these photos.

From Chikara Taro illustrated by Hideo Ito 
Illustration by Hideo Ito

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