Okinawa Tourism Information:IriomoteIsland:"APICTUREBOOK–IriomoteIslandPictureBookT-Shirts&PictureBookTour–"

Iriomote Island: "A PICTURE BOOK – Iriomote Island Picture Book T-Shirts & Picture Book Tour –"

post : 2020.11.27 07:00

Iriomote Island is the second largest island in Okinawa Prefecture, with a population of about 2,400. In this subtropical natural environment that emits overwhelming energy, plants and animals continue to inherit and pass on the baton of life to the next generations. 

At "A PICTURE BOOK Iriomote Island Zukan T-Shirts & Zukan Tour", a shop run by Shinpei and Nobuko Sakata in Uehara, at the western district on Iriomote Island, you can meet various plants and animals unique to Iriomote Island through illustrations by Shinpei-san.

Originally from Kyoto Prefecture, Shinpei-san moved to Iriomote Island in 2003, and worked as a caregiver at that time. He was enchanted with the nature and charm of the island and when an acquaintance invited him to try out as a guide, he dove right into the world of nature guiding. In 2006, Shinpei-san, who originally liked drawing, began to want to introduce to the world the existence of plants and animals that he encountered every day. With those intentions, he opened his shop, "A PICTURE BOOK Iriomote Island Zukan T-Shirts", with the concept of "wearing a Zukan (illustrated picture book or encyclopedia)". He proposed a unique nature tour of Iriomote Island, and since 2015, he’s been holding Zukan Tours with the concept of "viewing wonders".

Nobuko-san hails from Kanagawa Prefecture, and is helping Shinpei-san's work while developing her original line of accessories called "Tida Pana", which she uses shells, coral, fish scales, and others that washes ashore along the island’s coast. (Her accessories are available at the Iriomote Island Zukan T-Shirts shop.) There was a series of accessories made by Nobuko-san that took me by surprise. These are titled "Sand Ribbons", and she uses microplastic, which is currently regarded as a problem in marine debris, and has transformed them into lovely creations that are inspired from her unique perceptions of the world.

The plants and animals drawn by Shinpei-san are not copies of photographs, but are slightly different from those illustrations that tend to reflect the individuality of the author. What I found was a world view that showed the exquisite sense of distance or closeness between the artist and the creatures.

"I try to draw carefully so that the designs are awe-inspiring and are respectful to the creatures I draw. I think about illiminating the unnecessary or extra features while keeping the original charm of the creatures. My work is based on subtracting and not adding. "(Shinpei-san)

Shinpei-san says straightforwardly that he would be happy if he could continue to convey the charm of Iriomote Island, the solid connection of life between animals and plants, and the wonders and fun of this world that he feels through his experience on the island.

Photo Courtesy of: A PICTURE BOOK Iriomote Island Zukan T-Shirts & Zukan Tour

The Zukan T-shirts are all original, from the selection of fabric to sewing, dyeing, tags, and designs. The fabric is made of 100% heavy weight cotton, and is finished with pigment dyeing, which he uses a special kettle, and is dyed by rubbing the pigment. The printing is done carefully one by one with silk screen printing that goes well with pigment-dyed fabrics (Shinpei-san).

Shinpei-san, in collaboration with Associate Professor Mitsuhiro Maegata of the Faculty of Agriculture, Kinki University, makes and sells button badges using photographs of the island’s creatures, and donates all the proceeds to the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund.

"There are conservation funds for tigers and elephants as well as for the Iriomote wild cats, so our donation goes to the Iriomote wild cats fund." (Shinpei-san)

Shinpei-san's "A PICTURE BOOK Zukan" carefully depicts the love and respect for the creatures that coexist on Iriomote Island.

Why don't you open the A PICTURE BOOK Iriomote Island Zukan and meet the unique creatures of Iriomote Island?


A PICTURE BOOK Iriomote Island Zukan T-Shirts & Zukan Tour
Address: 341-2 Uehara, Taketomi Town, Yaeyama, Okinawa
Telephone: (0980)84-8065
Hours: 10:00 to 18:30 (May to September)
   10:00 to 18:00 (October to April)
Closed: Thursdays (Other irregular days)
Tida Pana:    

Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Akiko Mizuno