I’ve now been organizing the Celebrate People’s History poster series for over 15 years, and have printed almost 80 different posters. In order to add another layer of depth to the project, I have been asking the poster artists and designers to send me texts about what inspired them, sketches, and source photos. I hope to post these insights into specific posters of a semi-regular basis.
This first post is about the recently printed Seki Ran Kai poster, designed and written by Keisuke Narita and illustrated by Red Eye. Keisuke, one of the driving forces behind Tokyo’s Irregular Rhythm Asylum, sent me the following text about the poster:
This piece is dedicated to our dear comrade Chinami Kondo, who passed away on June 20, 2010.
Born in Tokyo in 1941, Chinami was a courageous activist and organizer who fought for women’s rights and democracy. As the daughter of Magara Kondo and Kenji Kondo, she was also the caretaker of important documents from the anarchist movement’s earliest days at the dawn of the twentieth century. These documents have been preserved and safeguarded until today thanks to her. Magara Kondo, the daughter of the socialist Toshihiko Sakai, was a member of the Sekirankai (Red Wave Society) and trailblazing feminist activist. Kenji had been a comrade of Sakae Osugi and Noe Ito, and he continued to organize as an anarchist after the war.
In 2003 around the time the war on Iraq began, young anarchists who took inspiration from the Sekirankai’s courageous protests made replicas of this Sekirankai flag and carried them in the streets at antiwar demos. Chinami was there with them, and she continued to carry the flag at antiwar, May Day, and countless other demos. Although she was effervescent and keen to dance when sharing drinks with friends, she walked quietly at demos. With each step, she must have thought not only of her comrades but also of her parents and their friends. Her quietly marching figure was beautiful to behold.