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A Plants Party with Seiko Ito!
A book brimming with passion and love for plants, “Our Tomitaro Makino!”

Tomitaro Makino is probably the most celebrated botanist in Japan. He was also the inspiration behind the main character of the NHK morning TV series for the spring of 2023. The book "Our Tomitaro Makino!" (Mainichi Shimbun Publishing Co., Ltd.) is bursting with his charms. The book was supervised by PAPERSKY stalwart Seiko Ito, with Lucas B.B as creative director. This is a book that allows you to get to know Makino Tomitaro and walk around his hometown of Kochi, together with him.


Staff of “PLANTED” magazine reunited after 16 years

Tomitaro Makino’s connection with Seiko Ito and Lucas B.B. dates back to the first issue of PLANTED magazine in 2006.  At Lucas’ suggestion, Vol. 2 was devoted to the Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden. This trip led Ito-san to become completely absorbed in the world of Tomitaro Makino, and be that as it may, this book, “Our Tomitaro Makino! ” is the culmination of a reunion of the editors and writers who worked on the book at that time.

Tomitaro Makino was a man who devoted his whole life to plants, and left behind many episodes, words, books and specimens. While he was born at the end of the Edo period, when one reads each of his works from the perspective of a person living today, it becomes clear that Tomitaro Makino was not merely a man of the past who compiled famous illustrated books.

Tomitaro in his youth and later years. At Seigenji Temple in Sakawa Town, Kochi Prefecture.

Proposing a new botanical club – a Plants Party.

“Our Tomitaro Makino!” includes pictures of a modern-day plant club, or “Plants Party,” held in tribute to Makino, who used to convene such botanical clubs all over the country. The location is Sagawa Town, Kochi Prefecture – hometown of Tomitaro Makino. Starting from “Makino Tomitaro Furusato Kan ” built on the site of his birthplace, we walked around the town gathering plants with Ito Seiko, who was dressed as Makino Tomitaro. We had an absolute blast.

A total of 20 members participated. Some enlightened us about plants, some taught us about the town of Sagawa, some played and sang songs written by Makino, some sketched, some made snacks, some interviewed, and some photographed…… each in their own way, drawing on their own respective strengths. Each one enjoyed the flora and fauna in his or her own way, aligned to their particular bent. No matter how times, places, or old faces change, as long as the spirit of Tomitaro Makino’s love of plants is present, everyone has a smile on their face. Lucas coined a new term for these botanical gatherings – “Plants Party”. 

Filmmaker Taiki Sugioka captured the proceedings on camera. Musician Keisuke Kikuchi and kalimba player SHO sang an original arrangement of “Plant Collecting March,” which was written by Tomitaro Makino and for which the score still exists. Please take a peek into the vibe of the Plants Party.

A compendium of personal “Makino Tomitaro” memories

There are other pages that you may want to refer to when walking around Kochi. They are: “Our Guide to the Makino Botanical Garden” and “A Journey of Plants with Tomitaro Makino in Kochi.” The former is an unconventional guide that focuses on the staff of the Makino Botanical Garden, while the latter is a compact compilation of places in Kochi Prefecture associated with Makino Tomitaro.

There are also pages where you can admire Makino Tomitaro’s beautiful botanical paintings and quotes, learn about his tumultuous life, take a peek at a small fraction of his library, and get a glimpse of his unparalleled sense of style.

Above all, many people have voiced their feelings for Tomitaro Makino, and these passionate feelings are the true essence of this book. Tomitaro Makino is not a man confined to the past and lives on in people’s hearts. Last year marked the 160th anniversary of his birth, and this is a book that could only have been produced today, about a man who continues to be adored even after decades have elapsed.

“Our Tomitaro Makino!” (Mainichi Shimbun Publishing Inc.)
On sale March 13, 2023 / 2,420 JPY

text | Namiko Hamano photography | Natsumi Kinugasa・Atsushi Kadono