Draw your mum for Mother’s Day, a campaign, one would think, destined to inspire cuteness and creativity.
Not so at the 7-Eleven chain of convenience stores, or indeed many other department stores and shops around Japan. At least, not all so. Giving away sheets which simply say “Mother’s portrait” and expecting kids to want their mum’s special day to be marked by her image being shown to all-comers has produced some ‘interesting’ results.
It’s a popular choice for shops at this time of year with many people getting involved, decorating the shop with the face of their loved one, in some cases in competition for a prize. At some point in all of our lives we will have drawn our families and here in Japan, budding artists take it seriously; these images range from the bizarre to the oddly captivating.
Take a look at some of these pictures, which are big hits on many Japanese blogs this week, and you can see manga-influenced creativity has shown no bounds – these aren’t average crayon drawings with simple facial features, some of these ‘big-kids’ (some in their 60s!) have etched, painted and written masterpieces which will really make people stop and look next time they pop in to buy some snacks or pay some bills.
May 13 is Mother’s day in Japan, a day off for mum, perhaps, or just a chance for kids and grown-ups alike to show her they love her.
It was not until 1949 that the date of the second Sunday in May was adopted as official in Japan. In the Showa period the birthday, on March 6, of Empress Kojun (mother of Emperor Akihito) was the celebrated day and, in the 1930s and 40s, “Praise Mothers” day was May 8.
Carnation and chocolate sales will receive a boost, but the many cynics who claim the day has become overly commercial are missing out on a lot of fun – perhaps that’s why they were moved to enter the portrait gallery competitions which, however they look, are sure to be appreciated.
Happy Mother’s day, everyone, and remember, if you are thinking of drawing a picture for your mother, be sure to have some fun!