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English Home > Japanese Outstanding Authors and Illustrators of Childrenfs Books - The Nominees for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards from Japan
Japanese Outstanding Authors and Illustrators
of@Childrenfs Books - The Nominees
for the Hans Christian Andersen
Awards from Japan
Hans Christian Andersen Awards
Every other year IBBY presents the Hans Christian Andersen Awards to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children's literature.
The Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children's books. Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is the Patron of the Andersen Awards.
The nominations are made by the National Sections of IBBY and the recipients are selected by a distinguished international jury of children's literature specialists.
The Author's Award has been given since 1956 and the Illustrator's Award since 1966. The Award consists of a gold medal and a diploma, presented at a festive ceremony during the biennial IBBY Congress. A special Andersen Awards issue of IBBY's journal Bookbird presents all the nominees, and documents the selection process. The Andersen Awards programme is supported by Nissan Motor Co.


AKABA, Suekichi 1910-1990
Illustrator, Japan
1978 Nominee
1980 Awarded

Suekichi Akaba was born in Tokyo. In 1931 he emigrated to Manchuria, where he lived for fifteen years. While there, he worked in industry but also painted in his spare time. In 1939 he sent his pictures to the Manchurian National Art Exhibition where he subsequently won special recognition three times. After returning to Japan in 1947, he first freelanced and then worked for twenty years in the Public Relations Office of the American Embassy in Tokyo.
Akaba was self-thought, except for about one yearfs apprenticeship with a painter at the beginning of his career. He never had a teacher, having mastered the techniques of traditional painting by himself though it is considered to be a most difficult process without instruction.
Akaba was fifty when, in 1961, he created his first picture book, Kasa Jizo (Roku Jizo and the hats), based on an old folk tale, as are all his following picture books. Here he realized an old dream: to illustrate a picture book in Indian ink, a technique which had not previously been used in picture books, on the assumption that children prefer bright colors. The story is set in the snowy winter so typical of Japan, which made it especially popular among children in areas with a lot of snow.
As an illustrator, Akaba was strongly influenced by traditional Japanese painting his entire work represents a natural continuation of native traditions. The second strand traceable in his art reflects the influence of the Swiss illustrator Felix Hoffmann. Akabafs style reveals an intimate knowledge of traditional garments. He actually worked as a costume designer for the stage. This is no small significance, since in Japanese theatre costumes function as an important expressive device.
In his Illustrations Akaba used many different kinds of Japanese paper, each fulfilling a specific function, communicating specific moods or generally mediating expression. Akabafs unabating interest in Japanese paper, including manufacturing techniques, is not surprising considering that paper is the material he mostly used as his medium of expression. His collages using different kinds of paper in combination with drawing and painting bear his hallmark of technical perfection and elicit a powerful emotional response in the child.
The year 1972 marked a turning point in Akabafs work. He began to move away from soft brush drawings, preferring more definitive contours. The brighter colors he chose for composition give his pictures space and a certain lightness of movement.
Akabafs accurate depiction of his characters, whether they are people or animals, his division of the action into scenes, the way he tells story alternating between movement and stillness towards the climax, and his humor that is built on centuries-old Japanese tradition all of these represent a high point in the art of the modern Japanese picture book.

Selected Bibliography

Suho no Shiroi Uma
(Suho and the White Horse)
Mongolian legend retold by Otsuka, Yuzo
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1967

Hesotori Gorobe
(Gorobe the navel picker)
Text by the artist
Tokyo: Doshinsha, 1978

Ushiwaka-maru
(Ushiwaka with the flute)
Japanese legend retold by Imanishi, Sukeyuki
Tokyo: Kaisei-sha, 1979

Tsuru-nyobo
(The Crane Wife)
Japanese folk tale retold by Yagawa, Sumiko
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1979

Shita-kiri Suzume
(The Tongue-cut Sparrow)
Japanese folk tale retold by Ishii, Momoko
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1982

A picture book is not a picture gallery. Displaying good pictures one by one will not make a good picture book. What is important is the flow and the drama created by turning the pages.
-Suekichi Akaba


ANNO, Mitsumasa
Illustrator, Japan
1982 Nominee
1984 Awarded


Mitsumasa Anno is famous for highly detailed, skilful illustrations which display his love for mathematics and science as well as his appreciation of foreign cultures and travel. His drawings, which are often compared to those of the Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher, not only abound with visual trickery and illusions but also display a playful sense of humor. Many of his books contain hidden jokes and pranks which are intended to amuse and lead rleaders to imaginative thinking about numbers, counting, the alphabet, or complex concepts of time and space. Operating on different levels of understanding, Anno's books appeal to both children and adults.
Anno was born in 1926 in Tsuwano, a small isolated community located in a valley surrounded by mountains. While growing up, Anno had a strong desire to experience places beyond these mountains -a theme very much reflected in his books for children. During World War II Anno was drafted into the army. In 1948, he received a degree from Yamaguchi Teacher Training College. Before engaging in a career in art, he taught elementary school in Tokyo for ten years.
Anno's first two picture books reflect his love of playing with visual perception. Fushigina E (Topsy Turvies) in 1968 was followed by Sakasama (Upside Downers). The first plays with tricks with perspective and logic, while the second contains illustrations that convey different images depending on the angle or direction from which they are looked at. In presenting such illustrations, Anno hoped to stimulate the powers ABC no hon of young people's imaginations.
Anno's later, more complex picture books include (Anno's Alphabet) which features @"impossible" woodgrain letters of the Latin alphabet that are framed within decorative borders containing objects beginning with each letter. "As a Japanese I have never felt very close to the alphabet, and it is therefore possible for me to regard the letters of the alphabet quite objectively as materials with which to design freely. I think that Europeans have a deep cultural relationship with the alphabet, and as a result find it difficult to achieve the sense of detachment from it that is easy for me. The art of lettering carries on its shoulders the weight of a long and dense history of design, and that perhaps handicaps people's ideas in some way."@
In 1977 Anno published the first in a series of his acclaimed "journey" books, which recount in pictures his travels through Europe and the United States Tabi no ehon. (Anno's Journey) arose from travels Anno made to Scandinavia, Germany and England. It is a wordless book that is a mass of colourful detail, a picture narrative, and a poetic meditation in narrative form. Without a written text as a guide, readers are left to invent stories of their own. Trough these books Anno hopes to communicate universal messages to his readers.
In addition to his picture books, Anno is also an accomplished painter and graphic artist who has displayed his work in numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums.


Selected Bibliography

Fushigina E
(Topsy Turvies)
No text
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1968

ABC no Hon
(Annofs Alphabet)
No text
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1974

No no Hana to Kobitotachi
(Wild flowers and little people)
Text by the artist
Tokyo: Iwasaki Shoten, 1976

Tabi no ehon
(Annofs Journey)
No text
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1977

Tendo-setsu no ehon
(The Earth Is Round)
Text by the artist
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1979


CHO, Shinta@1927-2005
Illustrator, Japan
1998, 2000 Nominee


Shinta Cho (Suzuki, Shuji) was born in Tokyo in 1927. After graduation from Kamata Industrial High School in Tokyo, he began his career as a designer and cartoonist at the Tokyo Daily Press. However, his thirst for colors, unrestrained imagination, and love of nonsense made him turn to picture books in 1958.
The secret of Cho's popularity with children lies in the appeal of his characters, in the skill with which he tunes into children's imaginations. He is, above all, a flexible artist who experiments with new styles and illustrates texts from fantasy to nonsense to serious stories. His works are said to be produced between sanity and insanity, vigor and melancholy, or openness and reticence. Yet they never cease to be humorous. In Thomas no mokuba (Thomas's wooden horse; Fukuinkan Shoten, 1994), he illustrates naughty young Thomas and his transformation into a wooden horse in lovely transparent blends of water color. Yoshitomo Imae writes, "Uninhibited nonsense, splendid humor, brilliant colors, together with darling composition and development|these are the sources of Cho's appeal, transcending the boundaries of the world of adults or the world children and spreading beyond all national borders." (The Sources of Cho Shinta's Appeal@, Andersen dossier).
His first book, Shimbun ga dekiru made (How the newspaper is produced; Komine Shoten) was published in 1950, and since then he has illustrated over 400 titles. Among the many prestigious awards he has won are the 1977 Kodansha Publication Culture Award for Children's Picture Books, the 1981 Grand Prize of Ehon Nippon Taisho, the 1984 Shogakukan Award for Picture Books, the 1987 Iwaya Sazanami Award, and the 1994 Sankei Award for Children's Books and Publications.


Selected Bibliography

Oshaberi na tamagoyaki
(A king and his fried egg)
Text: Teramura, Teruo
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1972, ISBN 4834003787

Tsukiyo no kaiju
(The monster on the moonlit night)
Text by the artist
Tokyo: Kosei Shuppan, 1990, ISBN 4333014948

Dakuchiru Dakuchiru
(Daktil daktil: the first song in the world)
Text: sakata, Hiroo
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1993, ISBN 4834012204

Gomu-atama Pontaro
(The rubber-headed boy)
Text by the artist
Tokyo: Doshinsha, 1998, ISBN 4494008818

Nokogirizame no namida
(Tears of the sawfish)
Text by the artist
Tokyo: Froebel-kan, 1999, ISBN 457701985X


I look atc childrenfs pictures as my models or teachers, not only in the way to draw, but in their inspiration. I try to be as free, bold, and at ease as they are.
\Interview in Armadillo


ISHII, Momoko
Author, Japan
2002 Nominee


Momoko Ishii is now 100 years old. However, her dedication to children's literature, especially in Japan, has never stopped as an author, translator, critic, editor, and a pioneer for local children's libraries. The Japanese Board on Books for Young People declared "no doubt, [the] Japanese world of books for children could not have been as rich and well-developed as it is now without her" (Andersen dossier).
Ishii was born in Urawa, Japan, in 1907. She graduated from the Japanese Women's University with an English literature major. Later, "a blissful encounter with A. A. Milne's Pooh books led her into writing a translating children's literature" (Andersen dossier). Her first book as an author, Non-chan kumo ni noru (Non-chan rides on a cloud; Daiichi Shobo), was published in 1947. She has published nineteen books of her own and 120 translations for children including Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne in 1940 and Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos in 1982. Some of her books, such as Non-chan kumo ni noru and Kuishinbo no Hanako-san (Greedy Hanako; Fukuinkan Shoten, 1965), have been translated into German, Danish, Russian, English, Pakistani, and Indian languages.
Ishii explains that "everyday life" contains the most significant issues for her to deal with in her writing. Her clear description of details supported by her childhood memory and observation, sense of humor, and unique rhythm of language are important elements in her writing (Andersen dossier).
Her work and her great contribution to children's literature in Japan have been recognized by awards such as the Minister of Education Award for Promotion of Art for Non-chan kumo ni noru in 1951, the Kikuchi Kan Award for achievement and contribution to the postwar world of children's literature in 1953, the Itochu Memorial Foundation Award for Distinguished Service to Children's Bunko (library) in 1984, the Japanese Art Academy Award on long-time contribution and achievement in the world of children's books in 1993, and the Yomiuri Literature Award for the two volumes of her autobiographical novel Maboroshi No Akai Mi (Memoirs of a childhood; Iwanami Shoten, 1994) in 1995. In 1997, she was recommended and accepted as a member of the Japanese Art Academy, the first member from the field of children's literature. [Monobe, Gumiko]


Selected Bibliography

Non-chan kumo ni noru
(Non-chan rides on a cloud)
Original work. Tokyo: Daiichi Shobo, 1947
Rpt. Collected works of Momoko Ishii. Vol.1. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1998

Yama no Tomu-san
(Tom, the cat of the mountain)
Illus. Fukazawa, Koko
Tokyo: Kobunsha, 1957

Sangatsu hina no tsuki
(Dollfs day for Yoshiko)
Illus. Asakura, Setsu
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1963

Kuishinbo no Hanako-san
(Greedy Hanako)
Illus. Nakatani, Chiyoko
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1965

Ariko no otsukai
(Ariko, the ant)
Illus. Nakagawa, Soya
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1968

Shitakiri suzume
(The tongue-cut sparrow)
Illus. Akaba, Suekichi
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1982 and 1998

I cannot write about ideologies and themes beyond daily life. I am of the kind who believes that everyday life is what matters most.
|Momoko Ishi


KANZAWA, Toshiko
Author, Japan
2000, 2006 Nominee


I feel like a wrinkled dried persimmon having a good tome in a pleasing breeze.
The above remark is a wry reflection by the 75-year-old Toshiko Kanzawa made in a book about her life based on interviews with two editors, Oba-asan ni naru nante (And to think I am an old woman now; Shobunsha, 1999). But this was not a remark signaling the end of her career as an author, for, at the age of 80, she published Shikayo, oreno kyodaiyo (Oh Deer, My Brother Deer!; Fukuinkan, 2004) to great acclaim, and was awarded Japanfs two major literary awards for writing.
Toshiko Kanzawa was born in Fukuoka prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu in 1924. As her father was a mining engineer, the family moved many times. She spent much of her childhood on the northern island of Hokkaido, and in Sakhalin which now belongs to Russia. When she went to school in Tokyo at the age of 13, it was a huge culture shock for a girl who had spent her life in remote rural areas, and she was ill for much of her teenage years. However, it was at this time that she began to write poetry. At the age of 20 she married and had two children, but she and her hasband both suffered from tuberculosis and life was extremely difficult for her.
Interested in what her children enjoyed reading, and motivated by a need to made money, she began to write for children during the 1950s. Her first book, Chibikko Kamu no boken (The Adventures of Little Kam) was published in 1961. This is a mythical adventure story, set in the north of Japan, telling of young Kamfs fight against a giant who embodies a volcano. The giant defeated by Kamfs threat to tilt the Big Dipper until it spills water from the Milky Way into the giantfs volcanic crater. This story represents two influences on Kanzawafs work: her fascination with the natural world, and an attachment to the north island of Japan. Both the landscape and the wildlife of this island are prevalent in much of her work. The animals that appear in her stories are often wolves, seals and reindeers, and they are surrounded by expanses of snow.
She has published many books for pre-school; children also, and is recognized as one of Japanfs outstanding authors. In 2005 her achievements were honoured by a special exhibition.


Selected Bibliography

Chibikko Kamu no boken
(The Adventures of Little Kam)
Illus. Yamada, Saburo
Tokyo: Rironsha, 1961

Kuma no ko Ufu
(Uuf, the Little Bear)
Illus. Inoue, Yosuke
Tokyo: Poplar, 1969

Poton poton wa nanno oto
(Ma, do you hear anything)
Illus. Hirayama, Eizo
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1985

Nagare no hotori
(Standing by the river)
Illus. Segawa, Yasuo
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1979

Gorira no Rira-chan
(Little Rilla, the Gorilla)
Illus. Abe, Hiroshi
Tokyo: Poplar, 2005

Shikayo oreno kyodaiyo
(Oh Deer, My Brother Deer!)
Illus. Pavlishin, Genadii
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 2004

I feel like a wrinkled dried persimmon having a good tome in a pleasing breeze.
-Toshiko Kanzawa


OHTA, Daihachi
Illustrator, Japan
1970, 2002, 2004, 2006 Nominee


Born in the Nagasaki prefecture in 1918, Daihachi Ohta spent his early childhood in Vladivostok where his father had business interests. His later childhood was spent in Tokyo, and in 1941 he graduated from Tama Imperial Art School. While a student he had already begun to illustrate picture books, and in 1949 his first book was published. This was Usagi to kitsune no chiekurabe (Try and see which rabbit is the cleverest). In 1952 he became a freelance illustrator, and since then has published approximately 150 picture books and illustrated some 250 other books.
He works in media varying from oil paints to the black lines and shading of Kasa (Umbrella; Bunken, 1975) relieved only by the bright red umbrella belonging to a little girl. His style too varies to suit his subject matter, which ranges from traditional Japanese tales to modern European stories. His work is noted for its harmonization of traditional and modern elements, and for his meticulous attention to detail and to high standards in the printing process.
Ohta is hugely respected by other Japanese artists, including Mitsumasa Anno who writes, eWe are proud that there is such an illustrator in Japan, one who has steadily and silently kept drawing for all these many years.f He has constantly striven for better recognition for Japanese illustrators, and for improvements in the quality of Japanese picture books. He founded the Japanese Association of Illustrators of Childrenfs Books in 1963, and in 1990 he helped with the establishment pf the Picturebook Academy, which includes educators, reviewers and researchers as well as illustrators. He has been active in promoting international understanding and co-operation through picturebooks, and has been actively involved with IBBY in Japan. When the 20th world congress was held in Tokyo he has the vice-chairperson. His work has been translated into many languages, and has been recognized with awards in Japan and abroad.


Selected Bibliography

Kasa
(Umbrella)
Text by the artist
Osaka: Bunken, 1975

Yamanashi mogi
(Three brothers and mountain pears -An old Japanese tale)
Text: Hirano, Tadashi
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1977

Dai-chan to umi
(Dai-chan and the sea)
Text by the artist
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1979

Kinsei no kodomo saijiki
(Japanese childrenfs seasonal words in the modern age)
Text: Miyata, Noboru
Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1990

Ehon saiyuki
(Picture book: The Monkey)
Original text: En Wu, Cheng
Trans. Naka, Yumiko
Tokyo: Doshinsha, 1997

Nagaaski kunchi
(NAGASAKI KUNCHI Japanese festival in Nagasaki prefecture)
Text by the artist
Tokyo: Doshinsha, 1980

What the child nurtures inside from reading picture books is c aesthetics. Aesthetics is the philosophy of onefs sensitivity. Sensitivity is one of the human beingfs five sensesc these are the elements that expand the human being.
-Daihachi Ohta


SATO, Satoru
Author, Japan
2004 Nominee


Satoru Sato is a pioneer who opened the window of fantasy for children in Japan. Before Sato, most fantasies of children's literature were situated outside Japan, especially in European countries. Sato wrote many fantasies for Japanese children that came from a Japanese cultural background and childrenfs contemporary lives.
Sato was born in 1928, his father was in the navy, and his mother was a schoolteacher. Sato was a child who always loved to read books for children and juveniles; these childhood readings influenced his decision to become a writer for children. Even though Sato experienced careers as an editor and a teacher, he always aimed to be a writer for young children.
In his first book, Daremo Shiranai Chiisana Kuni (A little country no one knows; Kodansha, 1959. Reprint Illus. Tsutomu Murakami; Kodansha, 1980), Sato borrowed the idea of characters, Korobokkuru (a little people), from a legendary story of Ainu people, who are believed to be aborigines living in the northern part of Japan. Korobokkuru became one of the most popular types of characters in Satofs work. gThe little people are descendants of the little god, Sukunahiko-no-kami, a korobokkuru of the Japanese mythology who rides in a boat made from a sweet-potato skin and dresses in clothing made from feathers of the wrenh (Andersen dossier). The combination of Japanese authentic mythology and Satofs style of writing -ga reasoned imaginationh and ga logical compositionh -made his fantasy a real world for young readers in Japan (Andersen dossier). For more than fifty years, children and even adults in Japan have been delighted by Satofs fantasy world, where small people, Korobokkuru, are experiencing life just like us.
Satofs unique fantasy books and his great contribution to childrenfs literature in Japan were honored soon after he started to write for children in 1959. For example, Sato was awarded the Mainichi Publication Culture Awards in 1959, and both the Debutant Award of the Japanese Association of Writer for Children and the Domestic Prize of the Andersen Awards in 1960 for Daremo Shiranai Chiisana Kuni (A little country no one knows). Sato also received the Iwaya Sazanami Award for his complete works in 1988. Satofs works have been translated into English, French, German, and Spanish. [Gumiko Monobe]


Selected Bibliography

Kitsune Sankichi
(Sankichi the fox)
Illus. Murakami, Tsutomu
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1971

Korobokkuru Sora o Tobu
(Korobokkuru flies in the sky)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1971

Oshaberi Yuwakashi
(The chattering pot)
Illus. Murakami, Tsutomu
Tokyo: Akane Shobo, 1978

Oba-asan no Hikouki
(The grandmafs airplane)
Original work. Tokyo: Jitsugyo no Nihonsha, 1966
Reprint Illus. Murakami, Tsutomu, Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1999

The reason I wanted to write stories for children was that I was so completely captivated by the childrenfs literature of East and West, ancient and modernc Once I had finally read all the stories that could be read, I naturally thought I had no choice but to join the writersf side, and write the stories I myself wanted to readc
-Satoru Sato


SEGAWA, Yasuo
Illustrator, Japan
1976, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996 Nominee


Yasuo Segawafs strength as an illustrator of childrenfs books is his creation of tapestry-like pages with extremely simplified depictions and stylized characters interwoven with the textfs unique typography. He draws from the rich tradition of Japanese emakimono, or picture scrolls, dating back to the twelfth century. He is no mere imitator of inherited styles, however, but uses established methods freely to produce bold innovations at the forefront of contemporary Japanese childrenfs book illustration. These innovations have won him many awards, including the BIB Grand Prix in 1967, the 1987 Nippon Prize for Picture Books, and the 1992 Grand Prix of the Sankei Award.
Segawa was born in Okazaki in 1932, and as a boy he studied painting for a year with Keisen Yamamoto. Later, he undertook independent studies both of European masters and of traditional Japanese methods. In 1960 he illustrated his first book for children, Kitsune no Yomeiri (The fox Wedding; Fukuinhan Shoten, 1960), which has now gone through 34 printings. Fushigina takenoko (Taro and the Bamboo Shoot; Fukuinkan Shoten, 1963) and Yamamba no nishiki (The Witchfs Magic Cloth; Poplar, 1967) are good examples of Segawafs early style, with splendid colors, vivid facial expressions, and rich rhythm and dramatic effect.
Segawafs fame from the award-winning Taro, now in its 56th printing, led to a trip to Europe in 1969, during which he experimented with lithograph production in Zurich. On his return to Japan he studied the seventeenth-century tanroku-bon, woodblock-printed illustrations colored by hand, and the eighteenth-century akahon, woodblock-printed picture books in monochrome sumi ink. Combining these techniques with his knowledge of lithograph production, Segawa illustrated an eight-volume series of Japanese folktales in the 1970s, with strong lines and judicious coloring. Through the 1980s and 1990s, Segawafs work has progressed from this focus on telling stories mainly with strong lines to the more decorative work of the Emaki Heike-Monogatari (Tale of Heike) series. These illustrations for these books have their historical roots in the Heike nokyo, or the gorgeously decorated Buddhist sutras of the twelfth century. Because he has been able to use such traditional Japanese illustration methods as spring-boards to contemporary and original childrenfs book illustrations, Segawa is a widely recognized artist who will no doubt greatly influence future generations of illustrators.


Selected Bibliography

Zuizui Zukkorobashi
(Three Naughty Kappas-based on a nursery rhyme)
Text by the artist
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1995

Kiyomori - Vol.5 of Emaki Heikemonogatari
(Picture Scrolls. Vol.5 of Tale of Heike)
Text: Kinoshita, Junji
Tokyo: Holp Shuppan, 1987

Yamanba no nishiki
(The Witchfs Magic Cloth)
Text: Matsutani, Mitoko
Tokyo: Poplar, 1967
Transl. English: The Witchfs Magic Cloth (New York: Parents Magazine, 1969)

Fushigina takenoko
(Taro and Bamboo Shoot)
Text: Matsuno, Masako
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1963
Transl. English: Taro and the Bamboo Shoot (New York: Pantheon, 1964)

Kitsune no Yomeiri
(The Fox Wedding)
Text: Matsutani, Miyoko
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1960
Transl. English: The Fox Wedding (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1963)

MATSUTANI, Miyoko
Author, Japan
1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986 Nominee


Born in 1926, Kanda, Tokyo. Graduated from Toyo High School in 1942. Requisitioned by the Naval Hydrographic Department in 1944, when she started writing stories for children.

Evacuating to Nagano in May 1945 to escape the war, she met Joji Tsubota, a famous writer for the young readers who was also there under the war evacuation, and showed him her works, asking for his advice. After her return to Tokyo in 1948, Tsubota's recommendation enabled her Kaininatta Kodomo no Hanashi (A Story of a Child turned into a Shell) to appear in the magazine Dowa Kyoshitsu (A Classroom of Children's Stories). Later, the story was published by Akane Publishing Co. as collected short stories entitled Kaininatta Kodomo (A Child turned into a Shell, 1951). The work won the first Japan Juvenile Literature Association Award for New Writers.

Married to Takuo Segawa, a folktale historian, with whom she establishment Taro Za, a puppet theater company, which broadened her social perspectives in her writing
style. With her husband she energetically collected oral stories and folktales through the interviews with the rural people in the Shinshu region, which inspired her to create a story Tatsunoko Taro (Taro the Dragon Boy, 1960) in her unprecedented literary style. Matsutani describes the story as a "collaboration of ancestors and myself." Interspersed with classical children's rhymes, her narrative style flows with a beautiful rhythm exquisitely resonant with the inherent power of story-telling. With its highly appreciated originality both in contents and form of expression that opened a new way in children's books, the work received the first Kodansha Award for Newcomers, the Sankei Juvenile Literature Publishing Culture Award, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award-Honour List (current IBBY Honour List) in 1962.

Along with her enthusiasm in creating children's fictions based on folktales, the autobiographical narrative in her Chisai Momo-chan (Little Momo-chan, 1964) brought a fresh air to the genre. The lively tone in the depiction of a child's daily life with her working mother captured readers' hearts. The work won the Noma Prize for Juvenile Literature and the NHK Juvenile Literature Encouragement Prize. Subsequently, she worked on the series of Momo-stories following the girl's growth,
such as Momo-chan to Pooh (Momo-chan and Poo, 1970), Momo-chan to Akane-chan (Momo-chan and Akane-chan, 1974), Chisai Akane-chan (Little Akane-chan, 1978) and Akane-chan to Okyaku-san no Papa (Akane-chan and Daddy as Guest, 1983). Particularly, Chisai Akane-chan made a big challenge in dealing with a topic on a parent's divorce, a conventional taboo in the realm of children's literature, by putting the serious subject into focus in a touch of fairytale style.

Matsutani has also been intent upon writing such fictions termed as so-called protest literature, including Futari-no Ida (Another Little Girl Called Ida, 1969), Shinokunikara-no Baton (From the Past World, 1976), and Watashino Anne Frank (Letters to Anne Frank, 1979). Her war-stories for younger children such as Machinto (A Little more, 1978) and Oide-Oide (Come here, 1984), for example, are written for those children in the next generation who do not have any experience of real war. The scope of her activities has been extended to record and compile the modern folktales in a series such as Gendaiminwako (Collection of Folktales in Modern times, 5 volumes, 1985).

MADO, Michio
Author, Japan
1990 Nominee
1994 Awarded


Michio Mado was born in Tokuyama in1909. When still a young child, his family went to Taiwan, leaving him with his grandfather for five years. He rejoined his family at the age of ten, ultimately becoming a civil engineer for the Taiwan government.

Mado began writing poetry at the age of nineteen. In 1934, two of his poems were selected by Kitahara Hakushu, the most respected poet of his time, for publication in the children's magazine Kodomono Kuni. This marked the beginning of his career as a creator of nursery rhymes, songs and poems for children.

His long career as a poet seems in retrospect to have moved slowly and quietly. His most famous poet, Zo-san (Little elephant), was published in 1952. Sixteen years later came his first collection of verse Tempura piripiri (Tempra frying). Since then, several books of his poetry have been published. By the time the complete collection of his 1200 poems was compiled by Eiji Ito in 1993, Mado was known to several generations of Japanese children who had grown up with his verse and songs. But he was still virtually unknown outside his native country until a collection of his poems, The Animals, was co-published in the USA and Japan as bi-lingual book - translated by Empress Michiko of Japan. Here Mado's poems give voice to creatures and objects which seem to have no speech: animals, raindrops, mountains. For the first time readers outside Japan could experience the aesthetic refinement and spiritual depth of his master of the short form.
Watching an ant
I often feel
Like voicing an apology
Toward this little being
Life is life to any creature
Big or small
The difference is only
In the size of its container,
And mine happens to be so ridiculously
Enormously big


Mado's works were innovative from the very beginning. They are free from sentimentality or forced intelligibility. They show the poet's gentle sense of humour, and his capacity for enjoying nonsense. He reaches out of children as easily as he deals with little creatures and everyday objects in his poems. His rhythm develops spontaneously. With his skillful play on words, and striking use of alliteration, he makes children laugh. Another feature of Mado's poetry is its simplicity of expression - even when the poems imply deep philosophical meanings, the words remain as short, simple and clear as they can be. With his gift of moving from one dimension to another, Mado moves from the world of everyday life and commonplace objects to that of abstract and philosophical thinking.
It's raining
Raining
Raining
The sky washes its gigantic face It's gone
Gone
Gone
The sky shows its clean face


"It is true that poetry suffers from translation. But we are confident that Mado's works can transcend language and cultural barriers, for they are written in a simple and unaffected language and are imbued with a philosophy both original and yet relevant to the present age. At a time of such great misery and suffering on this planet, much caused by our "human-centredness", Mado's poems have a potent message, though presented in a quiet and humble way, to be shared with other peoples in other parts of the world." (The Andersen award Nominating Committee of JBBY)

Selected Bibliography

Tempura piri-piri
(Tempra frying)
Illus. Yutaka Sugita
Tokyo: Dainippon Tosho, 1968

Zo-san
(Little elephant)
Illus. Soya Nakagawa
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1979

Kuma-san
(Mr. Bear)
Tokyo: Dowa-ya, 1989

Dobutsutachi
(The Animals)
Illus. Mitsumasa Anno
Tokyo: Suemori / NY: Margaret K. McEldery Books, 1992

Mado Michio Zen-shishu
(Complete collection of Mishio Madofs Poems)
Illus. Shinta Cho
Tokyo: Rironsha, 1993

gLittle elephant
Little elephant,
What a long norse you have.h
gSure itfs long
So is my mommyfsh

gLittle elephant
Little elephant
Tell me who you likeh
gI like mommy
I like her the mosth
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