Among the coloring pictures of the world, there is a strikingly beautiful set of coloring pictures and sheets. These are the "Kiichi's nurie" drawn by Kiichi Tsutaya, Japan's premiere coloring picture artist. He produced detailed, creative, culturally distinctive works of art that are among the most beautiful in the world. Kiichi is noted for his young girls. They have foreshortened bodies?only three to?four heads high,?bright eyes in large faces, and chubby legs.
"Kiichi's nurie" enjoyed robust sales between 1945 and 1965. Until around 1960 they were sold primarily in packaged sets of single-sheet images, not as bound books. In the 1950s an average of 1 million sheets were sold every month, with a peak of 1.6 million. In his coloring pictures Kiichi depicted brides, beautiful fashions, and a stylish, joyful way of life, stimulating the dreams and yearnings of young girls, and opening their lives to the world of art.
The appeal of "Kiichi's nurie" goes beyond the time and place in which they were created. Kiichi's images for coloring are creative and unique art works that partake of exquisite traditional Japanese sensibilities and capture the hearts of those who view and color the images.
- He was born Kiichi Tsutaya in 1914, in Kyobashi Ward, Tokyo
- When he was 26, in 1940, he began drawing coloring sheets under the name of "Fujiwo".
- He used the name "Kiichi" beginning in 1946. His initial popularity lasted more than 20 years.
- In 1978, an exhibition entitled "A Show of Coloring pictures by Kiichi" was held at the Shiseido Gallery in the Ginza.
- After that he turned to painting, mainly in the Nihonga style (modern Japanese painting, strongly influenced by traditional Japanese art). His "Phases of a Young Girl Series" was his first Nihonga series. The paintings in this series depict young girls participating in Japanese cultural events and traditional holidays, such as the Girls' Day doll festival and battledore on New Year's Day.
- Kiichi passed away at the age of 91 in February 2005.