Detailed information about the meanings and stories of the patterns is available in the book.
With woodblocks, shaded beauty of the karakami, landscape photographs, and essays, the book gives readers a sense of the world of patterns. We hope you will enjoy it.

Nihon no Monyo Monogatari
The Tales of Japanese Patterns

Written by Karakamishi: Toto Akihiko

Enjoy karakami with the likes of Sotatsu and Koetsu, Korin, Tohaku, Tanyu, and Hokusai. Everything from the works of Picasso, Chagall, Klimt and even the art of the Celts and the prehistoric dogu figurines of Jomon Japan are depicted with karakami. As an attempt at unprecedented expression, a book such as this has never been seen before. We sincerely hope that this volume, which we are offering to the world, will contribute to the evolution of karakami culture and bring joy to the people of the world.

These patterns are not mere designs. They are the embodiment of the prayers of the Japanese people. The book is a 200-page exposition on the theme of “beauty with presence,” with photographs taken by the artist himself exploring woodblocks, the shaded beauty of karakami, landscapes, and works of art related to essays. Through this volume, the reader can enter the world of karakami artist Toto Akihiko.

Jinsei wo Irodoru Monyo
The Patterns That Color Life

Written by Toto Akihiko and Senda Aiko

This book takes the reader on a journey, starting at the crossroads of contemporary society. We believe that patterns have the power to protect people and bring them happiness. It is a work for the future, imbued with a prayer to lead anxiety to hope.

“Just as each person has his or her own faith and beliefs, I believe that there are patterns that not only suit each individual, but that they need in their lives. To find a pattern that is compatible with oneself becomes a sign that turns life in a positive direction. It may signify the beginning of a better life.” — Karakami artist Toto Akihiko

This book tells the story of the brand Kira Karacho, which carries on the traditions of Karacho, founded in 1624 and the only karakami shop in continuous existence since the Edo Period (1603-1867). Karakami artist Toto Akihiko and Senda Aiko present spaces enveloped in patterns and a life lived with art.
In addition to showcasing traditional karakami and examples of karakami works in situ, the book communicates the esthetic sense and worldview of Kira Karacho with beautiful photographs. It shows how karakami was elevated to an art form, giving examples of works made in collaboration with Japanese and foreign brands, presenting ancestral patterns that have been handed down through generations, and introducing a selection of auspicious patterns from Kira Karacho’s new project, Heisei Reiwa no Hyakumonyo (The 100 Patterns of Heisei and Reiwa). It also includes 21 new “Monyo Monogatari” [Tales of Patterns], complete with essays and photographs by Toto Akihiko, as a sequel to the book Nihon no Monyo Monogatari [The Tales of Japanese Patterns] (published by Kodansha).

Karakami pattern letter book
Kira Karacho

Written by Toto Akihiko and Senda Aiko

Kira Karacho carries the traditions of the karakami shop Karacho, which was founded in 1624 and has remained in continuous existence for around 400 years. Carefully passed down from generation to generation, Karacho’s patterns are imbued with stories and hopes for peace and good fortune. Thirty patterns have been carefully selected from the roughly 600 existing Karacho patterns to make 96 sheets of writing paper. With her exceptional sensitivity for color, Senda Aiko selected the color schemes to be used, based on karakami patterns that were hand-printed by karakami artist Toto Akihiko. Filled with beautiful patterns and colors, this book of patterned stationery is gentle on the eyes and makes a wonderful gift.

Time in Kyoto
The Fun that Colors Life

Written by Senda Aiko

A guide to Kyoto written by Senda Aiko, the eldest daughter of Senda Kenkichi, who was the 11th Studio Master of Karacho, the karakami shop with a proud history dating back four hundred years.
In addition to showcasing ways to incorporate the karakami from Kira Karacho—which she produces—into modern lifestyles, the author also introduces the reader to a variety of ways to enjoy one’s time in Kyoto, showing the appeal of the Gion Festival and other Kyoto events, the places to visit across the four seasons, and the best of the city’s unique locations, shops, and flavors.