Living in Tokyo, written by Katharine Sansom, wife of the famous Japanologist, Sir George Sansom, and published in London in 1936, was illustrated by Marjorie Nishiwaki. Her 41 illustrations depict admirably the daily life of the ordinary Japanese people of the early Showa Era. Little is known about her; therefore, this article is an attempt to recount her life in Japan through her activities and drawings.
She was born in London in 1901 and died in a small village in England in 1988. Her passion was to draw, and she continued to draw all her life. When she was studying art in London, she met Junzaburo Nishiwaki. They got married in 1924. She accompanied Nishiwaki when he returned to Japan in 1925. In 1932 they were divorced but she continued to live in Tokyo until the Second World War broke out.
In Japan, she presented her pictures at the Nikakai exhibition every fall. She illustrated several books and magazines, including 4 volumes of Modern Plays of the World. She taught English at Bunkagakuin school.
Different from her husband whose interest was totally directed toward European culture, she was eager to learn and appreciate things Japanese. She enjoyed traditional Japanese plays and music. Judging from her illustrations in Living in Tokyo, she seems to have been influenced by Japanese-style ink painting and Ukiyoe-prints. Her warm and compassionate drawings of the Japanese show her attraction to the simple and peaceful life of the ordinary Japanese people.