Tag, jump-rope, hide-and-seek, bob-the-ball, ohajiki marbles and menko card games were all the rage with children in Foujita’s heyday. His mural shows girls in samurai-esque topknots and straw-bound leather snow boots playing house inside a snow cave.

Known colloquially as “Kamakura,” these dome-shaped snow caves were originally part of a harvest festival held during Little New Year that was called “Kamakura.” It’s said that the festival included events where small huts were built to drive off crop-hungry birds then set on fire to drive off evil presences. It appears that in regions with heavy snowfall, snow caves were built instead of huts for that same purpose, and these gradually came to be known as “Kamakura.”
The kids are impervious to the snow as they have fun outdoors. From his early days as a painter to his final years, Foujita has included children as a motif in his work. You can feel Foujita’s affection and warmth towards Tohoku children in the charming way he rendered the kids in his mural.

※Nowadays, you can see Kamakura snow caverns similar to the ones in “Events in Akita” at Yokote city. This tradition also lives on in the “Hiburi-kamakura Festival” at Semboku City, which features dances around a ring of fire amidst the snow.

Next Contents

Select language