junichi nakahara

Almost every Japanese girl had a piano lesson when they were little.
I'm one of them. But I used to hate piano lessons with passion, because I was sort of forced to do it.
Lessons were so strict and boring, and it was just painful.
I used to be super ADD when I was little so I assume that also caused pain.

I had two different piano teachers in my life.
Since I moved, I switched my teacher and she used to make me sit down with her after the lesson to have a cup of tea with her.
Her intention was to make me a better girl (I believe).

Once time she told me that I look like a girl in Junichi Nakahara's illustrations and I am beautiful.
When people say things about you, if you are smart enough, you should be able to tell if that person really means what he/she said.
Usually people don't meant it. They are just saying stuff for sake of saying stuff.
But, this was one of the only time someone really meant to say I was beautiful.
At least it meant something for me and other times I don't even remember.
I was really happy and curious to discover who Junichi Nakahara is.

Junichi Nakahara is a Japanese illustrator, designer, and puppet maker from 1940s - 1970s.
Right after world war II ended, he founded several magazines for women and girls promoting beautiful way of living life (teaching mannerism and interior design, providing clothes patterns and cooking recipe etc...).

Girls he drew are so delicate, stylish and dreamy.
I was even happier when I learned more about him. Even though I'm probably opposite of delicate, stylish and dreamy and I don't really look like the girls in the illustrations, I am still very happy that my teacher said I look like I just came out from Juichi Nakahara's illustration.

Now I think of it, my style preference is heavily influenced by his style.
When I'm searching for a good vintage piece, I'm dreaming to look like his illustration.

When I left Japan to do one year study abroad I quite my piano lesson.
Once I quite I started to love playing piano.
I only love it when I can play all alone whatever I wanted to play.


  1. Naoko this is so interesting!
    I'm so glad you shared this!
    I really liked your story too.
    I wish I had been forced to play piano though, I've always wanted to learn to play but I never could because my mom said we didn't have room for a piano and to play you needed a piano for practicing.

    This guys illustrations really are beautiful.

  2. Thanks Julie! I'm actually glad I was forced to do it. I really hated it though. I hated the lesson, the teacher, and my mom for making me do it. But now I'm thankful for all of them. It's funny how it pays off later for your private joy...

  3. I wanted to learn to play the piano too, and we even had a piano, but my mother wouldn't let me get lessons either. She said we couldn't afford it.

    I used to sit at the piano when I was five for hours and just play shit I made up. I've since resented how almost every one in the entire world has had piano lessons when they were children... it's just not fair!