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Pulp Librarian @PulpLibrarian
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Today in pulp I'm looking fashion designer and Shōjo manga artist Jun'ichi Nakahara...
Jun'ichi Nakahara was born in Higashikagawa in 1913 and worked as both an illustrator, a fashion designer and a doll maker. His work is highly regarded in Japan and was a significant influence on modern #manga art.
In the 20s and 30s Nakahara often drew for Shōjo no Tomo ("Girl's Friend") magazine. The style at the time was for demure, dreamlike imagery, but Nakahara added to this large expressive eyes, often reflecting the light.
Shōjo images were aimed at the young female market and emphasised both friendships between girls. Pensive looks and an averted gaze suggeted that this was an intimate and private world wih its own rules and conventions.
After the war Nakahara developed a different Shōjo style from the demure pre-war imagery: a tall, thin figure in contemporary Westernized clothing, who would look towards the viewer, but still feel distant and private in her thoughts.
In 1946 Jun'ichi Nakahara worked on his own magazines: Soreiyu ("Soleil") and Himawari ("Sunflower"). After a study trip to Paris he also launched "Junior Soleil" in 1954.
Nakahara's style of willowy figures with exaggerated eyes and challenging expressions soon became popular, and influenced the modern Shōjo manga look that was emerging.
Another innovation Nakahara's work, used to great effect, was using elements of the background to reflect a character's mood or personality.
Nakahara's 1950s Shōjo work shows young women as modern, confrontational and self-aware. Compared to the demure and modest poses of his 1930s illustrations the difference is very striking.
Shōjo manga is slightly unrealistic: nationality is blurred and fashion is foregrounded. However the idea of a Shōjo image is to be "neither me, nor here - a person one differentiates from as well as wishing to identify with.
Jun'ichi Nakahara left us in 1983. His legacy is the way he helped change the aesthetic of Shōjo manga, developing a more confident and mature sense of being young in an ever-changing world.

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