E-tegami Artist, Shima-chan

Visiting Shima-chan on a recent afternoon, she greeted me in your usual effervescent manner, laughing and talking with an Osaka inflection. Surrounded by her flowers, her artwork and her beloved dog, Hanna, she always makes visitors welcome.


I asked her to show me some of her e-tegami, drawings and calligraphy on postcards or rice paper. Unfortunately, much of her work was still in crates from a recent remodeling, but she showed me a few. She becomes quite animated when she talks,  gesturing with her hands, not common among Japanese people.


Every morning she is out walking in the hills nearby. Perhaps she’ll find wildflowers growing by the side of the path or a little stream and grassy knoll. All of these are subjects for her art. Her medium is what we call gansai, a kind of water-based tempera paint.


Originally a native of Osaka, she has lived in Hiroshima for about 40 years. Her interests are dogs, nature  and art. We love to see movies together too. Her passion for life amazes me. Wherever we go, she makes friends. She has a way of talking to people as if she has known them all her life. The warmth she generates shows that she loves people!

Hina Dolls for Doll Festival in March

Hina Dolls for Doll Festival in March

E-tegami is an art form that anyone can do. As Shima-chan explains, “Heta ga ii!” (Poorly-drawn is best!) when it comes to e-tegami. That encourages even someone like me to try it!


An oddly-shaped vegetable, a shiny, fresh mackerel or a rusty old mailbox are all objects that she would notice and paint. Something I pass by without seeing.


After I visit Shima-chan, I always come away feeling energized and encouraged. When she asks me a question, she gets so excited by my news or thoughts, you’d think  she herself were personally involved in the story! That makes her the best  possible listener!

Hanna, 12 yrs-old

Hanna, 12 yrs-old

When I was ready to leave, Hanna saw me off! I’ll visit again soon! I enjoyed the coffee and snack served in an antique cup. I enjoyed the time together today. Let’s stay well and active and enjoy many such days! You inspire me!!


Crab (Crayon drawing)

Crab (Crayon drawing)

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vividhunter
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 13:42:33

    I love that style of art ^^ You should definitely give it a go!


  2. beckynielsen
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 14:28:43

    Thank you for introducing Shima – chan; she is someone I’d love to spend time with! I love her art and her clear energy.


  3. todaysillustrationtomorrow
    Mar 20, 2013 @ 14:46:35

    Shima chan is the best!! I love her and her art.
    She always really encouraged me to keep on with my art.


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