Kids´ Footprints and Japanese Custom

November 2, 2011 Juju Kurihara 0 Comments

hadashiAt a nursery school in a suburb of Tokyo, a photo exhibition has started until the 2nd of December. All the photos are feet, 64 pairs of feet are what you´ll see, nothing more. Whose are they? They are the feet of pupils from 0 to 9 years old at Tokyo University Komaba Nursery School (東大駒場地区保育所).



In Japan, there was a custom to take a foot print of kids on the clay and bake it to be able to keep it as a memory of their childhood. And this custom is said to be started Jomon period (縄文時代, B.C. 145 – B.C.10).  And now in the 21 century, a Japanese photographer, Juunai Nakagawa (中川十内) took 64 kids´ back of the feet as a continuation of this old Japanese custom.

joumon footprintsThese are from Kakinoshima (垣ノ島) remain in Hakodate (函館), Hokkaido (北海道). They´ve been found out in the tombs and said that the parents made this for the memory of their children died young. But another say that as the most of the plates have a hole, they were hung down as a decoration while the baby was alive.



It´s commonly known that on the back of the feet there are a lot of nerves that is strongly connected to the five senses. Therefore, being barefoot and stimulating those nerves help healthy development of the children. If you´ve had a foot massage once, you know what I´m talking about. Your feet represent your entire body.



The kids in this nursery spend most of the time with barefoot, from 0 year old to 9 years old running around the school garden, rolling over the mud etc… Lucky ones, I must say.

Here are their feet. Are they similar to yours? They definitely look different from mine. Mine are quite flat and have less arch. The 5 year old ones are beautiful, don´t you think?

1.4 year olds

1 year and 4 months

5 years old

5 years

9 years old

9 years



Healthy feet makes healthy kids, this is the nursery of Toudai Komaba´s concept of bringing kids up. Toudai Komaba´s campus in situated in the suburb of Tokyo and has a lot of nature, and the nursery school is in a part of their property. The nursery opened in 1971 as a non-licensed nursery school and in May 2004, they were authorized as an official one. Their program is really interesting but that´s another story I suppose.


Exhibition at Komaba Museum 2nd floor.

10:00 – 18:00

Until the 2nd of December.



More Japanese custom

The myth of plastic bottle


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *