An exhibition of original illustrations from Chihayafuru was held in Awara.


Chihayafuru is a well-known Japanese manga for young people written and illustrated by Suetsugu Yuki. The story is about Ayase Chihaya, the heroine, and her friends, who bet their youth on competitive karuta. Among her friends, there’s a boy named Wataya Arata who’s very good at competitive karuta. Chihaya calls him the god of karuta. (I wrote about the history of karuta and competitive karuta(I watched the competitive karuta tournament (The 51st National Women’s Competitive Karuta Tournament) in Awara, Fukui prefecture.) in previous posts.)

Since Arata’s birthplace is Awara City, Fukui Prefecture, it’s considered one of the holy places of Chihayafuru. There was an exhibition being held there, so I decided to go.

The exhibition was held at Artcore at Kanaz Forest of Creation. There were about 40 people there including children, adults, and elderly people, and 80 percent of them were women.

First, I saw the original illustrations. There were about 160 illustrations on display. An elderly man saw the illustrations and said, “These plain, light colors are nice.”

She is Ayase Chihaya.

He is Wataya Arata.

I felt the pure energy of young people in these paintings. I felt that people who passionately focus on one thing, like competitive karuta, are beautiful.

The author of Chihayafuru wrote some comments below the illustrations. She wrote about her feelings and thoughts when she created her works. I enjoyed seeing the paintings even more after I’d read her comments.

This is a name note.

Two real name notes, which are rough sketches drawn before drawing actual comics, were placed in the middle of the venue. It was the first time I’d ever seen real ones. A young woman saw one of them and said, “The illustrations on this draft are drawn perfectly!” There was an actual comic next to the drafts, and the people enjoyed comparing the comic with the drafts.

There was also a recreation of the artist’s studio. Actually, I’ve seen a recreation of the desk of the creator of One Piece, too. The Chihayafuru art studio also had several kinds of coloring materials. This creator’s desk was much simpler than I expected.

Some making-of videos were also shown in various parts of the venue. Suetsugu, the author, was drawing a picture of the main character in the videos. While watching the videos, I thought about how cartoonists have to make stories and draw illustrations at the same time. It seems very tough.

I was taken by her remarks in the videos:

“The pupil of the eye is the most important thing for girls, so I draw it carefully with the sharpest pencil possible.”

(White is useful in cartoons. Cartoonists draw white lines in their characters’ hair to make it look more lustrous.)

“I like these white parts the best among the drawings.”

About 20 real drafts were displayed in a line. The drafts weren’t covered by acrylic plates, so the people could see them directly. A small girl was looking at the drafts intensely.

When I read the author’s comments, I saw some interesting information.

Her personal motto is, “Why don’t I do my best?” It’s interesting that this is a question. Chihayafuru is a story of young people who do their best, and the author also does her best to make comics.

I like this one the best.

An illustration of Chihaya for the Boston Japan festival was placed at the end. Among all the illustrations, I liked this one the best. I liked the color and the atmosphere, and I felt the power and energy of karuta.

At the exit, some comments from the visitors, including actors and actresses in the Chihayafuru movies, and anime were placed on the wall. There were more than 500 of them, and I enjoyed reading them. I noticed that a lot of the comments said that the people loved Chihayafuru.

I thought the best comment was that it’s a great thing to make comics that have been loved by a lot of people for 10 years, and that the author must have worked really hard.

There was a concert by the Kanazu High School Brass Band being held at a hall next to the venue. There were about 120 people watching, and some of them were standing. They entertained us with music from Chihayafuru.

Chihayafuru is an imaginary story, but it’s had a great impact on the real world. A lot of people read Chihayafuru and come to the exhibition. Awara has also become a holy place of Chihayafuru, and a lot of fans go there.

I’m amazed by the power of comics.

Next, I’m going to write about the holy spots of Chihayafuru in Awara.

Author: Taru

Thank you for visiting my site. I was born in Fukui, and I now live in Fukui. I would like to know more about Fukui, and I also like to tell people around the world about Fukui. My hobby is reading books. I practice and learn English every day. This blog's articles are checked by native English speakers.

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