Accepted Paper:

Calendar Business in Japan: From Egoyomi to Art Calendar  

Author:

Hirochika Nakamaki (Suita City Museum)

Paper short abstract:

In Edo Era there was a genre called egoyomi (picture calendar, or daishoureki) which informed ‘big month’ (30 days) and ‘small month’ (29 days) of lunisolar calendar. In Meiji Era hikihuda goyomi (commercial calendar) and ryakureki (simple calendar) became popular. Calendars made and distributed by companies flourished during the so-called period of rapid economic growth. I would like to examine calendar art from the perspectives of business and daily life.

Paper long abstract:

Art calendar is a calendar with art decoration such as picture, photo, illustration and design. In Edo Era there was a genre called egoyomi (picture calendar, or daishoureki) which informed 'big month' (30 days) and 'small month' (29 days) of lunisolar calendar, represented in Chinese characters, but also designed in pictures. Egoyomi became very popular in 1765 and paved a way to nishikie (multi-coloured ukiyoe printing) of Suzuki Harunobu, which is not well known among non-specialists. In early Meiji Era lunisolar calendar was abolished and replaced by solar calendar and egoyomi disappeared accordingly. Instead, hikihuda goyomi (commercial calendar) and ryakureki (simple calendar) became popular, but they have been paid little attention as art. These calendars, however, were produced abundantly by shops and companies for publicity and distributed to customers in the end of the year.

Calendars made and distributed by companies flourished during the so-called period of rapid economic growth. It is said that Shiseido produced 2.5 million wall hanging calendars and 6 million table calendars at its peak. There are many companies which use paintings of famous painters for their calendars. And these calendars are hung on the walls as interior decoration. Nowadays, there is a distinctive shift from 'calendars given' to 'calendars purchased'. In the latter case, personal taste towards natural landscapes and pets as well as art and designs can be seen in the store. On the other hand, for art museums, its own art calendar opens a new business chance for visitors.

Panel PE17
Anthropology of arts business (IUAES Commission on Enterprise Anthropology)