About Misuzu Uta
“We’re all different, and that’s just fine.”
Misuzu Kaneko wrote these words in an era when the value of diversity was not recognized.
A sense of compassion towards things that are small, inanimate, or unseen is a theme that can be observed in many of her works. Her poems continue to strike a chord with us after all these years, and are perhaps more relevant now than ever.
Misuzu Uta was born from a mission to give color to Misuzu Kaneko’s beautiful poetry so that it can be appreciated by people today.
The designs were each inspired by a specific piece that she wrote, and will captivate you with their warmth.
The Misuzu Uta project has obtained the consent of the Preservation Association of Misuzu Kaneko’s Work, an organization that manages the copyrights to Misuzu Kaneko’s works.
About Misuzu Kaneko
Misuzu Kaneko was born Teru Kaneko in the village of Senzaki in Otsu County (now part of the city of Nagato), Yamaguchi in 1903.
She began writing poetry around 1923 at the age of twenty, submitting her pieces to literary magazines under the nom de plume of Misuzu Kaneko.
She published a number of successful poems during the late Taisho era, earning the admiration of Yaso Saijo, who lauded her as “the brightest star among all the young writers of poetry for children.”
But her career did not last long, as she passed away at the young age of 26.
Misuzu Kaneko’s works were lost to the winds of time following her death, and all that remained was her near-mythical status as a poet, until Setsuo Yazaki, a fellow children’s poet who had spent years trying to unearth her manuscripts after being entranced by one of her few published poems, finally tracked down the diaries in which she wrote her manuscripts in 1982, Their publication brought about a renewed appreciation of her writing.
Her verses, infused with compassion, continue to inspire modern readers.
Creating the designs
In creating these designs, we draw inspiration from the ordinary and the mundane. The things that make up our daily landscapes – the trees, the weeds, the sky, the water, the air, the creatures – all inform the work that we do. We draw or write down what we think, what we see every day, and study the poems so that we can expand our mental image of Misuzu’s words.
Every design has a corresponding poem, creating an interplay of words and colors. This interplay gives birth to an exchange of ideas, forming memories and constructing a world that brings warmth and compassion.
Misuzu Uta’s print fabrics are made in a workshop on the banks of the Kinokawa River in Wakayama Prefecture. Prior to printing, the original, freely-drawn illustration goes through a number of processes, including resizing, color adjustment, digitization, engraving the printing plate, and blending dyes. A range of different technologies are brought together to produce Misuzu Uta fabrics.