During the immediate post-World War II years, publishers of magazines in Japan faced many challenges. Paper was rationed and difficult to obtain and so was obtaining the work of seasoned authors. In spite of these obstacles, the number of magazines published, particularly those for children, skyrocketed. Magazine publishing became a competitive market, and of highest priority for many publishers was to stay ahead of their rivals.
“‘Manga shōnen’ monogatari : henshūsha Katō Ken’ichi den/「漫画少年」物語: 編集者加藤謙一伝” (Katō, Takeo. 2002. Tōkyō: Toshi Shuppan.), written by Takeo Kato, is a fascinating look inside the magazine publishing world. Kenichi Kato (1896 – 1975) was an editor of “Shonen Kurabu” before the war and the founder of “Manga Shonen.” The Prange Collection has both of these publications (“Shonen Kurabu” [Prange Call No. S2192] and Manga Shonen [Call No. M91]).
One of the fortunate by-products of censorship was the amassing of publications that might otherwise have been lost. The Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) retained a file copy of all publications submitted for review. These publications make up the core of the Prange Collection. The Prange Collection not only has children’s magazines, but also the furoku — appendices or so-called “free craft projects” – that accompanied them. In “Manga shonen monogatari,” Kato explains how furoku were a significant feature of “Shonen kurabu” and ultimately led to the demise of “Manga shonen” because it could not keep up with the proliferation of attractive appendixes in other magazines. The generation who grew up during the Occupation are nostalgic about furoku. Notable writers’ memories of furoku are included in “Manga Shonen mongatari” (pp.140-142.).
Below is one of the furoku from “Shonen kurabu.” It was designed by Nakamura Seika, who became well-known for his creative furoku designs. Using a color photocopy of a pattern from Shonen Kurabu (11/1/1949 – Vol. 36, No. 11.), a Prange Collection staff member assembled the piece. See pages 138-140 of “Manga shonen monogatari” for detailed information about Nakamura’s craft design.