Empress to meet with Indian authors in New Delhi

Kyodo

Empress Michiko will meet with representatives of the Indian branch of the International Board on Books for Young People during the Imperial Couple’s official visit to India that starts Nov. 30, the Imperial Household Agency said.

The Empress, who maintains close ties with the literary world, has been contributing to the promotion of children’s literature. Her works include several self-written illustrated books and a translation of poems by Japanese authors into English.

Her upcoming meeting with the IBBY officials was announced Wednesday by the agency.

In September 1998, the Empress was scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the IBBY World Congress in New Delhi. However, the visit was canceled due to India’s nuclear tests earlier that year, and her recorded speech was delivered as a video message.

The speech, “Reminiscences of Childhood Readings,” in which the Empress expressed how readings as a child fulfilled her life, has since drawn positive responses in Japan and was later broadcast on TV.

It was also compiled into a book under the title “Building Bridges.” The text, which has been registered as supplementary reading in ethics for sixth-grade students, has also been translated into eight languages, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

During the couple’s visit to the India International Center in New Delhi on Dec. 3, the Empress will meet with Manorama Jafa, the founder of IBBY’s India office, and other IBBY officials, the agency said.

The Empress met with Jafa in 2004, when the Indian author visited Japan.

“I am eagerly waiting for the Empress’ visit,” Jafa said. “I would like to present her with a special edition of our in-house magazine.”

During their one-week stay in India, the Imperial Couple will also visit the Japanese School in New Delhi and interact with local citizens at a children’s park in Chennai, southern India.