ART CORNER: Makoto Komori’s children’s book illustrations

Makoto Kimori Datsun Roadster Honda S800 N360 Sports 800 01

Makoto Komori is a Japanese children’s book illustrator, and one of his favorite subjects happens to be 1960s nostalgic cars. He often incorporates them into his whimsical stories in which the vehicles, with eyes for headlights, find themselves on brilliantly drawn adventures. 

Makoto Kimori Datsun Roadster Honda S800 N360 0 Sports 800
Makoto Kimori Datsun Roadster Honda S800 N360 01

One of his most popular titles is the Datto-san series, which centers around a bright red SR311 Datsun Sports roadster and his companions, a pair of Hondas, a yellow Honda S800 named Esuhachi and a green Honda N360 named Enukoro.

Makoto Komori Datto-san children's book

The characters’ names are Japanese nicknames for the real-life cars and “Mr Datto” in Japanese happens to be a close pronunciation of “Datsun.” In the first book the trio rescues a red Toyota Sports 800 named Yotahachi that’s been kidnapped by car thieves.

The book was so popular that Komori then wrote a sequel, in which the cars are retrofitted with turbines that let them travel across the sea.

Makoto Kimori 05
Makoto Kimori 04
Makoto Kimori 06
Makoto Komori ダットさん うみをはしる

Other nostalgics also play bit parts, including a Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser, daruma Celica, hakosuka Skyline and more.

Komori is a fan of European cars too, so you’ll see BMC Minis and VWs dotting his fictional landscapes as well. In fact, another of his popular books centers around a beatific Austin Healey “bugeye” Sprite named Barun.

Makoto Kimori hakosuka Skyline GT-RMakoto Kimori Datsun Fairlady Roadster SR311

Komori also creates more realistic illustrations as well, of all manner of cars ranging from Triumphs to hakosuka Skyline GT-Rs to, inexplicably, a 90s Mitsubishi Galant.

Makoto Kimori Mitsubishi GalantMakoto Komori children's book

Unfortunately, we’ll just have to imagine the stories and enjoy the gorgeous illustrations on their own, as Komori’s book are not available in English.

Images courtesy Tokyo Illustrator’s Society and Makoto Komori.

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14 Responses to ART CORNER: Makoto Komori’s children’s book illustrations

  1. antoine said:

    lol no mention of the 73 trans am firebird? lol it has the 455 shaker n an american lookin guy in it

  2. Dave said:

    These are excellent!

  3. Jim said:

    Not only the america with the greaser look, but the Brit in the Sprite with the shirt and tie! Priceless!

  4. invinciblejets said:

    My kids learning Japanese and reading this.. no muscle car books for him…..

    They should make a show.

  5. Alan said:

    Super creative, incredibly cute–I’m smiling so hard my wife asked me what I’m up to. I wish I had kids and I wish they read Japanese.

  6. j3wman said:

    Why is this not a TV show!?!??!?!?

  7. NW Classic Honda said:

    Where can I buy these?!

  8. Nigel said:

    Once again we have nothing here in North America that even comes close, to
    how great this is.

  9. Liam said:

    Jeez- at least tell us where we can buy them all. Where’s the link??

  10. Censport said:

    If you’re wanting to learn Japanese, starting off with children’s books are a good way to go. These car books are a natural for us gearheads. I’ll have to pick some up on my next trip.

  11. Lukas said:

    I love the Suzuzi LJ80 in the background in on of the pictures. He can´t swim and is a bit sad I think… Cute!

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