Minoji Caterpillar Ride
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Available Products by Miwako Koieyama:

Greeting Cards
Boxed Card Sets
T-Shirts (Women’s/Kid’s)
Framed Prints
Mini Cards


Creating the Minoji World – From Pencil to Computer Graphics

Minoji starts with a simple pencil drawing that she scans into her Mac. Using Adobe Illustrator, she adds color and depth to the design. Finally, she prints out the design herself and packages each piece individually.

Minoji's World

Minoji amidst her own characters, which play with the intrigue of the cute and strange

Although she started with postcards, her product line has grown to include magnets, stickers, buttons, t-shirts, and other media, all bearing the fruit of her unique vision. Kamibashi will be adding new Minoji items and illustrations regularly so make sure to bookmark her page and check back often.

In addition to her own products, Minoji has provided illustrations for a children's book, an English-language textbook, and even her husband's book on reptiles. Her latest business coup has been designing characters for Pure, a gummy candy popular with young women across Japan.

Minoji, Illustrator from Tokyo

Minoji's characters can be found as toys and on accessories

Turtle Ice Cream

Japanese Candy Logo

Yoga Shroom

Minoji is the brainchild of Miwako Koieyama, a young Tokyo designer. Minoji is a childhood nickname, with the Mi- taken from her first name, and the -noji derived from an Edo-period manner of addressing one's friends. The characters that dominate her illustrations reflect her lifelong interest in the dichotomy between kawaii (cute) and okashii (strange). The images she has created, therefore, appeal to a wide audience ranging from children to adults.

Minoji graduated from prestigious Hosei University in Tokyo with a degree in Management, but her lifelong interest in art and illustration drove her to take a job at a web design firm, where she learned the ropes of computer graphics and site design. Once bitten by the computer bug, Minoji began experimenting in 1995 with site design containing her own artwork – colorful, trippy scenes of turtles, mushrooms, tadpoles, and children, among a myriad of other characters reflecting both innocence and experience.

The turtle is an especially prevalent figure in Minoji's work, as she has always had a sort of thing for the little amphibians. She keeps ten of them as pets in her home, and even met her husband, a reptile veterinarian, because of them. Another obvious influence is the very famous Yoshitomo Nara, who also employs mixed-media and plays on the same sorts of outer appearance/inner truth dichotomies that run beneath a lot of creative art in Japan.

Minoji started, as many young artists in Japan do, by designing postcards. Postcards in the West are reserved almost exclusively for communicating with family or friends while on vacation. In Japan, hagaki (postcards) are used as often as possible, as they are artistic and inexpensive. During New Years, for example, people will send a "best wishes" postcard to every person they know, much as holiday cards are sent in the West. Many young artists use postcards as vehicles for their art because they are cheap, have a great range of utility, and have a good chance at being disseminated far beyond the artist's sphere of influence.