熊田千佳慕 R.I.P.

13 Aug

熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada) was an artist born in 横浜 (Yokohama, Japan) in 1911.

He was a graphic designer until the age of 26 when he changed careers to do something he was passionate about. He became a botanical artist.

He loved children and he loved nature…especially insects. So he wrote books for children about plants and insects.

kumada-book

He was often called the 「日本のファーブル」 (“Japanese Fabre“) or even 「プチファーブル」 (“Petit Fabre“).

He was called that because ジャン・アンリ・ファーブル (Jean Henri Fabre) was a French entomologist (insect scientist) who lived from the early nineteenth century until the early twentieth century.
He’s pretty famous in Japan.

Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915)

Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915)

My family and I are interested in insects. (Click here to see a couple photos of our latest “pet”.)
Last year we went to a ファーブル (Fabre) exhibit at a museum in Tokyo.

Flyer for "Jean Henri Fabre" exhibit in Tokyo

Flyer for "Jean Henri Fabre" exhibit in Tokyo

Like Fabre, 熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada) loved insects.
And he drew detailed illustrations of plants and insects for children’s book even when he was into his late 90s!

kumada-art02

This year, the 松屋 (“Matsuya“) Department Store in 銀座 (Ginza, Tokyo) is celebrating it’s 140th anniversary.
As part of it’s celebration, they’re having an exhibit of the artwork of 熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada) on the 8th floor from yesterday (2009 August 12) until August 24.

kumada-art01But what makes this exhibit especially significant is that it is now a memorial to the artist…since, one day after the opening of the exhibit, he died today at the age of 98.

Tragically, it wasn’t old age that took him. He may have very well lived past 100. He died today when he choked to death on food that he swallowed wrong.

My family and I plan to go to the exhibit of his artwork in the 松屋 (“Matsuya“) Department Store this month.

kumada-art03+++

熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada): 1911 July 21 – 2009 August 13 (age 98), R.I.P.

Chikabo Kumada, 1911/7/21 - 2009/8/13

Chikabo Kumada, 1911/7/21 - 2009/8/13

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17 Responses to “熊田千佳慕 R.I.P.”

  1. gigihawaii August 14, 2009 at 2:27 am #

    Would you want to see a painting of a grasshopper on your wall? I wouldn’t. I guess it depends on the insect. Butterflies would be okay, but not cockroaches!

    • tokyo5 August 14, 2009 at 2:39 am #

      I don’t think he’s ever painted a picture of a ゴキブリ (cockroach). ;)

      And his pictures were for the children’s books he wrote…not necessarily for wall hangings. (But they’re quality enough to be framed!)

  2. tokyo5 August 14, 2009 at 10:43 am #

    I forgot to mention in this post:

    熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada)’s real name was 熊田五郎 (Gorou Kumada). (Judging by that name, maybe he had four older brothers).

  3. Mom August 15, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    I love the art work, it’s really beautiful. He was a very talented artist. I find it hard to get passionate about insects. I don’t get it but maybe if I studied them more I would grow to appreciate them.
    Have you been to see the exhibit of his work? I would love to see one of his books. they sound wonderful and esp. for children to learn about insects. the only thing I learned about them as a child was to run from them. If I haven’t out grown that fear but now I doubt that I ever will.

    • tokyo5 August 15, 2009 at 11:34 am #

      >Have you been to see the exhibit of his work?

      Not yet. We plan to go before the 24th, if we can.

  4. seabreeze August 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    Came across this site while looking for info on Kumada-san. Daughter just returned from Ginza, went to the exhibition. Beautiful illustrations and some humorous ones too (a bee holding a flower, etc.). Didn’t know he had passed away. What a long and wonderful life! (BTW, great site! Bookmarking it!)

    • tokyo5 August 21, 2009 at 11:22 pm #

      At the exhibit, they had a sign in Japanese saying he died on August 13th.

      How did you find out about the exhibit?

  5. seabreeze August 22, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    Late last month I was at Matsuya (after a kabuki performance–a first for me!) and picked up the flyer. Yes, she saw the notice of his death at the exhibition, which is what made me look him up on the net and led me here.

    • tokyo5 August 22, 2009 at 9:54 am #

      I watched Kabuki once years ago. It was fun.

      BTW, how long have you been in Tokyo?

  6. seabreeze August 22, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    I lived in Tokyo for about a year (teaching, of course!), now going on 29 years in Yokohama (a few years in Nagoya). I expected a more kabuki-ish performance. One was a gendai play (written during Meiji) and the other was a fantasy 海神別荘 but both featured actors I had seen on tv. I would like to see the more traditional type even if it would probably be harder to understand. Didn’t really need the English translation earphones this time. I’m not used to commenting on blogs, sites, etc., so forgive me if I shouldn’t be starting a new thread or what-have-you, with each post.

    • tokyo5 August 22, 2009 at 11:58 am #

      You’ve been in Japan quite a while. I have seen alot change in 19 years…I can only imagine how different Japan was in the ’70s!

      It’s a good thing you went to the 歌舞伎座…it’s gonna be torn down and rebuilt. Good to visit it before they demolish it.

      Where are you originally from?

  7. seabreeze August 23, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    From Hawaii, husband a Japanese national. Don’t get to go back as often as I’d like to, but did a short visit in Feb. Play tourist for the most part and everyone greets me with “Irasshaimase.” (I am a Nikei, so…).

    • tokyo5 August 23, 2009 at 11:26 am #

      I’ve only been back to America to visit three times since I moved here.
      And I’ve never been to Hawaii. I’ve heard that there are alot of Japanese tourists…and theydon’t need to speak any English in Hawaii.

  8. seabreeze August 23, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    Absolutely! Some Japanese don’t feel like they are in a foreign country so they prefer other destinations, others find it a relief to not have to use English.
    Well, Mississippi/Florida, a bit of a haul. Hawaii is a skip across the ocean (yeah, right), but I’ve been to visit only 6 times in almost 30 years. Before coming to Japan I visited the “mainland” and went to DisneyWorld, it had just opened so no Epcot Center, etc. I’m glad I did visit then, cuz there’s not much chance of going there NOW!
    (Spelling correction: Nikkei. Sorry about that.)

    • tokyo5 August 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

      >Some Japanese don’t feel like they are in a foreign country so they prefer other destinations, others find it a relief to not have to use English.

      Yes, that’s true. Guam and Saipan (U.S. territories) are the same.

      >Well, Mississippi/Florida, a bit of a haul.

      I’ve only been back to Florida once since I moved here. Mississippi…not at all.
      The other two times were to see California and New York (once each).

      >Hawaii is a skip across the ocean (yeah, right)

      Compared to the U.S. East Coast.

      >but I’ve been to visit only 6 times in almost 30 years.

      So, I guess you like Japan (I do, too).

      >went to DisneyWorld

      So, you’ve been to Florida.

      >it had just opened so no Epcot Center

      I remember that Epcot opened in about 1980. I was in the fifth grade. My parents took me and my younger sisters there when it first opened. That was the only time I saw Epcot.

      >Nikkei

      Isn’t it 「二世」 (nisei)? (the first generation of Japanese born in a foreign country).

  9. seabreeze August 23, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    Nisei is a second (ni) generation Japanese, Nikkei is short for Nikkeijin 日系人. I’m a sansei since my father is a nisei. However, my mother is also a sansei, that makes me 3.5? lol In other words, my mother’s parents were also born in Hawaii. Gee, this sure has gotten off the topic of Kumada-san. Sorry! LOL

    • tokyo5 August 23, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

      Nisei is a second (ni) generation Japanese

      I know nisei is 2nd generation Japanese (hence the 「二」)…but I think “1st generation born overseas” is more clear.
      Just my opinion.

      >Nikkei is short for Nikkeijin 日系人

      I see. “Japanese emigrant”.

      >Gee, this sure has gotten off the topic of Kumada-san. Sorry! LOL

      OK. No problem.

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