The best in children’s literature earns devout adult fans too, and perhaps no other Japanese writer embodies such cross-generational popularity than Shuntaro Tanikawa.

Frequently touted for the Nobel Prize in literature, Tanikawa was born in 1931 to a philosopher father and began writing poetry and children’s stories while still a student. With over 300 picture books to his name, he was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Author’s Award in 2008 and his renown has led to collaborations with many famous illustrators, such as Sadamasa Motonaga and Shigeru Miwa. Tanikawa has also collaborated with other great writers in children’s literature, including Mitsumasa Anno and Makoto Ooka with their work, “Nihongo” (“Japanese Language”), still popular today as an introductory language text for first graders.

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