Friday, August 11, 2017

Japanese stamps featuring Mitsumasa Anno artwork

Nifty Things Received in the Mail This Week, Part I...

An envelope from Japan came to my Dover mailbox this week. Inside was a Postcrossing postcard from a woman named Midori who loves mystery novels and TV shows such as Criminal Minds. Midori's envelope was especially cool, because most of the front was covered with a large stamp featuring artwork by Mitsumasa Anno. Here is how Wikipedia describes Anno's work:
"Anno is best known for wordless picture books featuring small, detailed figures. In the 'Journey' books, a tiny character travels through a nation's landscape, densely populated with pictures referencing that country's art, literature, culture, and history. Anno's illustrations are often in pen and ink and watercolor, and occasionally incorporate collage and woodcuts. They are intricately detailed, showing a sense of humor as well as an interest in science, mathematics, and foreign cultures. They frequently incorporate subtle jokes and references. Anno's style has been compared to that of M.C. Escher."
At first, though, I had no idea who created the detailed illustration on these stamps. (You really should click on it and view it at a higher magnification.) To figure out that out, I had to do a fair amount of trial-and-error digging and apply some Google-brand elbow grease. I finally determined that they came from a sheet of stamps titled "Nostalgia of Pictures for Children Series 4," which was released in November 2016. The full 10-stamp sheet, as issued, looks like this:

According to a website that archives Japan's stamps, "the theme of this series is the 'Pictures for Children,' which remind us of childhood memories. Nostalgic townscape and scenery from the works by Mitsumasa Anno, a picture book writer, are depicted for the fourth of the series."

Other artists featured in the series included Chihiro Iwasaki and Akiko Hayashi

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