Our client, Soon is seeking agents for territories worldwide for the multi-varied graphic world of Shigemi Hijikata.
Shigemi Hijikata was born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1915. He worked as a graphic designer before, during, and after World War II.
After meeting playwright Tadashi Iizawa in 1949, he began working with children. Hijikata shared Iizawa's belief that "clean and neat things should be instilled in children's minds," and this famous duo created many charming characters, including the picture book version of "Yanbo Nimbo Tonbo" and the popular puppet show "Boo Hoo Woo" for NHK TV's "With Mommy".
Beginning in 1952, the series of doll picture books designed by Hijikata has crossed national borders, with 80 different versions published in 15 languages in 78 countries around the world, including the United States, France, and Germany.
Also, The Mouse and the King (1953), published by Iwanami Shoten in 1953, as a part of its children’s book series, is considered a seminal work of Hijikata's that helped establish a new trend in illustrated books during the post-WW2 period.
Hijikata also published many graphic works serialized in established Japanese magazines as Kinderbook, Mebae, Yōchien, and Yoiko. He was also the creator of much-loved children’s characters such as Boo Foo Woo and Pinkuma-chan.
A retrospectives of Hijikata's work was organized at a museum in Nishinomiya, near Kobe in October 2018. More recently another exhibition, Hijikata Shigemi's World was held at the Yokosuka Museum of Art, Kanagawa from February to May 2023.
Hijikata is also the creator of the much-loved Sato Pharmaceutical character "Sato-chan," and together with Tadashi Iizawa created animated puppet commercials for Asahi Beer and Mitsuwa Soap, leaving his mark on the field of corporate advertising.
An archive of some 1,000 pieces of original art, sketches, and character design drawings, etc. from Hijikata are currently being licensed for merchandising and promotions in the Japanese market by ZenWork's client, Soon Inc.
Soon is also separately licensing a variation of the "Sato-chan" elephant character Hijikata created for Sato Pharmaceutical. The cute elephant character is known as as Chibizo-kun "l'il elephant boy" and Soon is seeking licensing agents. Details here.
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© Shigemi Hijikata. Licensed by Soon Inc.