On Oct 21, Isetan Shinjuku department store launched the event “Roots of Kawaii- Rune Naitou’s Past, Present and Future”. The event covers the store’s second basement floor to sixth floor. The opening ceremony was attended by Japanese fashion designer Junko Koshino and actress Mirei Kiritani.

Illustrator Rune Naitou (1932-2007) set the scene for Japanese Kawaii culture and communicated messages of freedom and equality to young Japanese girls.

On the sixth floor, Naitou’s illustrations and sketches that total to nearly 200 are on display. The artist’s publications, photos and other items, along with artworks created by young artists as an homage are also being showcased. A temporary cafe space by the collaboration of fruit parlor Shinjuku Takano and Isetan Shinjuku serves special parfaits (2,400 yen each) with the late artist’s favorite fruit toppings such as strawberries, mangos, melons, apples and pears.

At the event space on the first floor, an imaginary space made to look like Naitou’s room is on display. The room was created by Kyoto-based illustrator Yuki Nakamura. Fashion items such as pouches, bags and headdresses made by Kyoto brands are sold in this space. The other floors of Isetan Shinjuku also present items imaged after Naitou’s illustrations.

“I found myself saying ‘kawaii’ many times while taking a look inside the event. Rune defined charming and cute styles of Japan in the fifties. At the time, both Rune and I dreamed of shopping at Isetan Shinjuku. If Rune were here with me today, he would’ve been so happy about his exhibit being held here”, revealed Koshino at the opening ceremony.

President and Representative Director Hiroshi Ohnishi of Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings added that, “We want to actively communicate the charms of what Japan is proud of. This event full of kawaii is something that tourists can enjoy with the five senses. We will continue to promote cool Japanese culture as part of our global strategy”.

【Event Details】
Roots of Kawaii- Rune Naitou’s Past, Present and Future
Venue: B2 to 6th floors of Isetan Shinjuku
Address: 3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Dates: Oct 21 to 27 (6th floor event closes at 6 pm on 10/26)
Hours: 10:30 am to 8 pm (final entry until 30 min prior to closing)
Fees to enter 6th floor exhibit: general 1,000 yen, students 800 yen