The Story Of Marukumori

From Another Dark Place…

Ever since I could draw and write, I wanted to be a children book writer. In secret, I’ve created many characters and short stories over the years. One of my favourite characters is Marukumori, which I eventually self-published in a little picture book in 2017.

The character Marukumori is copyrighted © by Sonja Kanno and protected under international copyright law. Any form of reproduction is strictly prohibited.

For the 2020 Artist Bookshelf Exhibition at Minnano Gallery in Tokyo Ueno, I’ve created a Marukumori Limited Edition Collector’s Box. You can read more about it below.


© Sonja Kanno. All rights reserved.


What is Marukumori?

Marukumori is a strange cloud that looks like a spider.
It came from another dark place, an ancient forest, where it emerged from the smoke of a marshmallow campfire.

Picture book page
Marukumori is emerging from the marshmallow campfire

When Marukumori was big and round enough, it floated away into the night sky. As it made its way above the treetops, strange legs began to grow that looked very much like spider legs. Everyone who has encountered Marukumori, has been wondering about those legs. Some say, they aren’t legs at all, but just an unusual form of rain.

Marukumori is very conscious about its appearance, but nevertheless, has been adventurously exploring the world from afar. The story is to be continued. 

Picture book page
Marukumori is growing
The Meaning Of Marukumori

In Japanese, Kumo can mean both cloud and spider.
I’ve created the name Marukumori by combining the following Japanese words:

  1. Maru 丸 (round)
  2. Kumo 雲, クモ (cloud, spider)
  3. Kumori 曇り (cloudy)
  4. Mori 森 (forest)

Round + Cloud Spider + Cloudy + Forest = Marukumori

The Picture Book & Merchandise

The origin story of Marukumori was captured in a series of illustrations and six short poems, that I self-published in a little book. Alongside, I created postcards, stickers and pins, as well as a limited edition handmade brooch (not included in the Limited Edition Collector’s Box).

Picture Book
Marukumori Picture Book
Marukumori Merchandise
Handmade Brooch
Marukumori Handmade Brooch
Debut at the illustration fair in 2017
Debut at the illustration fair in 2017
A Failed Debut

The book and merchandise were showcased at an illustration fair in Tokyo in 2017, but to my dismay, no one was interested in it.

I sold one single copy of the book, out of pity it seemed, to a friend of a friend. Disenchanted, I packed all the Marukumori things in a cardboard box, and tried to forget about it.

Marukumori Limited Edition Collector's Box, closed
Marukumori Limited Edition Collector’s Box, closed

In 2020, I was invited to participate in the Artist’s Bookshelf Exhibition at Minnano Gallery. It was the perfect moment to unearth Marukumori. The title of my bookshelf was Innenwald (Inner Forest). I thought that it would be a good place to share an honest look behind the scenes with everyone, by not only showing completed or succeeded artworks, but also works that have failed.

Marukumori Limited Edition Collector’s Box, opened
Marukumori Limited Edition Collector’s Box, opened

For the Artist Bookshelf exhibition, I made a Marukumori Limited Edition Collector’s Box. It includes the book, 3 postcards, 5 stickers and 5 pin buttons.

Only 5 boxes are available.

There Are Many Dark Places In This World…

Is there Another Dark Place in your bookshelf?
Marukumori would like to live there!

You can find the Marukumori Limited Edition Collector’s Box in my Online Store (launching in June 2020).

Update: The Marukumori Limited Edition Collector’s Box is sold out.

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