A Japanese manga artist and a legendary kabuki actor worked together to produce this visually stunning new release.

If you’re looking for a way to make use of those coloured pencils sitting in your drawer, or wanting to add some zen-style relaxation to your busy life, an adult colouring book could be the perfect answer. And if you’d like to learn more about Japan’s traditional arts at the same time, this new release is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Called the Kabuki Picture Scroll Colouring Book, this paperback was illustrated by Japanese manga artist Junko Suzuki, under the guidance of Ichikawa Somegorō VIIan esteemed actor known for bringing some of the kabuki world’s most renowned characters to life on stage.

Ichikawa has played the role of handsome male leads, evil villains, and even female characters, and now the actor has drawn on his years of stage experience to ensure that the the wigs, poses, clothing and props that appear in the 105-page paperback are spot-on in terms of accuracy.


Scenes from some of Japan’s most famous kabuki plays appear in the book, including Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura, or Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees, which is one of the top three most famous and popular plays in the Kabuki repertoire.


There are also scenes from Chūshingura, which retells the story of the 47 Ronin, and Kanjinchō, otherwise known in English as The Subscription List, which is considered to be one of the masterpieces of kabuki theatre.


In amongst the 76 illustrations, drawn in the style of the Edo period (1603-1868), the book also contains information about how to draw different types of kumadori, the distinctive stage makeup worn by kabuki actors.

▼ Not many books will let you add makeup and colour to the “Shunkyo Kagami Jishi” lion dance.


To coincide with the book’s release, the publishers are conducting a special colouring-in contest, where readers can use the included application form to send in a completed artwork, which will be judged by Ichikawa himself. The winning entry will be published on the Discover Twenty One website after the competition closes on 30 June.

▼ The book is currently available to purchase for 1,400 yen (US$12.21) from bookstores and online retailers like Amazon Japan.

The publishers are also encouraging everyone to share their completed works on Instagram, with the hashtag #歌舞伎ぬりえ in Japanese or #kabuki_coloring in English, so everyone can enjoy the colourful world of kabuki. Time to purchase a pack of colour-blending chameleon pens to impress everyone with our colouring skills!

Sources: Discover Twenty One, PR Times
Images: PR Times

[ Read in Japanese ]