2.08.2010

Keisuke Serizawa Calendars


Years ago when I helped to clean out / move my late Grandmother from her condo to an assisted living community, one of the things I grabbed for keeps was a series of Japanese prints. I wasn't sure what they were at the time, but I noticed how delicate the sheets of paper were and how each was printed with a different design.

Turns out, the sheets were part of a calendar — each sheet was printed with a different month of the year. Other than that, I didn't have any more info. I figured they were pretty old and I stashed them away in a box somewhere. A few years later, I framed two "April" prints (my birth month) and gave a "February" print as a gift to a friend.

Today, I visited the Tortoise General Store online and came across a new, smaller version of the calendar along with a description that includes a history of the calendars!

Copied from the Tortoise General Store listing:

"Just after the end of WWII, Keisuke Serizawa's first calendar for 1946 appeared. It was stencil dyed in 12 sheets of a hand-made-Japanese paper. Under the occupation by the United States, this calendar became popular among high-class officer's wives in U.S. Forces and was devised as a Christmas gift for people in the U.S. Since then, he had kept producing new calendar for 40 years until he passed away, and still even now, this calendar has been produced with existing patterns. It is popular not only in Japan but also all around the world still now.


This is printed version and the size is smaller than the original one to fit on a desk. This technique of dyeing a pattern with a stencil is original of Keisuke Serizawa, and in 1956 he was specified as a Living National Treasure according to his achievements of "stencil-dyeing"."

I will try to get around to taking some photos of the calendars I have as I'm pretty sure they're some of the oldest editions.

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