Click image for full-size. Browsing through this beautiful gallery of children's book illos from the '20s, I keep thinking about the fact that these were all created during a period just before Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and a period of dramatic cultural change. If the people who read these books as children were around my own age group — twenty or thirtysomething — when the bombs dropped, maybe a hundred years from now, some young person will stumble on an "Electric Company" episode and think, "Wow, that's what the 9/11 generation was watching in their diapers" — or whatever it is they'll call this current chunk of history. Some interesting analysis on this site. Snip:
"The children in Kodomo no kuni seem to be enjoying the pleasures of modern city life. There are Western-style houses, trains and cars running along busy streets, airplanes flying in the sky, and subways passing beneath a townscape bristling with skyscrapers. What is different from now is the energy and cheerfulness with which people seemed to be looking forward to the happy future that materialistic prosperity would surely bring."
Maybe those people 100 years ahead will look back on our enthusiasm for technology the same way. Someone in 2104 will take a break from watching Olympic nanorobotic doping scandal coverage on their ocular implants. They'll blink "pause," browse the BoingBoing archives, and think, "How quaint, how naive… If only those poor fin-de-siecle suckers had stopped at Perl."
Try opening two browser windows, side by side — one with these amazing images, the other with some contemporary manga graphics — and consider the strands of aesthetic DNA they share.
Link to Kodomo no kuni (via MeFi)