A meeting

I had a meeting with an editor and a writer, in Kichijoji, Tokyo.
The editor, Kikue, who is the same age as me.
The writer, Areno, who is a little older than us, is going to make a picture book with us.
Areno is a writer of novels, and a translator of foreign picture books into Japanese, too. She wrote the text of "Mizutama no chihuahua (After polka dot chihuahua)" , which was my first professional picture book and it had been published 7 years ago. Her original picture books hadn't been published since then, although she's been interested in.
3 years ago she gave me some stories for picture books and I promised to find someone who want to edit it and publish it. Fortunately, Kikue, who is a freelance editor of children's books, offered editing my new picture book, while she and I was working together on stories for a magazine. She liked one of Areno's stories, and she wondered how come it hadn't been published for such a long time.
At the meeting, I was a little nervous because I hadn't seen Areno since she gave me the text. She is now one of the most popular writers of young generation. She looked happy and relax. Kikue leaded our subjects well, and we discussed about the schedule.
I got an energy by talking to the positive, interesting people, and now I am sure that the book will be a good one.


Korean picture books

I watched a TV program about the success of Korean cultural policy. It said that Korean government encouraged their "contents" industries such as movie, music, game, and animation. The policy worked successfully, and they (Korean creators) have created a lot of attractive works which are popular not only in Japan, but also most Asian countries.

When I visited an exhibition of Korean picture books in 2000 (The title was "The Wold Of Original Illustrations for Children's Picture Books from Korea" ), I was attracted by the beautiful illustrations.
Since I was wondering what is my originality as a Japanese illustrator, the exhibited illustrations gave me many hints to think.
I really liked Korean traditional techniques. I was surprised that some of the illustrators were as young as me. They were good, just like well trained, experienced painters.
After the exhibition held, some of the Korean picture books published in Japan. I bought them of course! I wish more Korean picture books had been published in Japan. Maybe I would find by myself in Korea some day.
Any way, I myself got an energy by Korean culture, and got a confidence to be an Asian illustrator. ( By the way, my most favorite restaurant in my neighborhood is a Korean place. Whenever I want energy, I eat hot Korean food.)



These days, picture books are popular among not only mothers and children, but young people in Japan. Some magazines about picture books have started and acclaimed by young women from the majority who want to enjoy handicrafts to serious artists. Some singers and actors say "I wanted to become a picture books writer or illustrator" in their interviews.
Maybe you think that this movement as usual things. I think, at least in Japan, it is a change.

I've been interested in cultural exchanges from my childhood, so I'd like to write something about picture books and our culture in Japan and far-east Asia.