Shinta Cho wins award

by Tai Kawabata

Children’s book writer and illustrator Shinta Cho won the 2002 ExxonMobil Children’s Culture Award on Tuesday.

At the award ceremony, Cho reminisced about creating his first children’s book 50 years ago — a picture book that showed how news is gathered and a newspaper is produced.

Known for his nonsensical humor, Cho became popular with such works as “Boku no Kureyon (My Crayon)” (1974), “Haru-desuyo, Fukuro Obasan (Spring Has Come, Aunt Owl)” (1977) and “Sakasama Raion (Reversed Lion)” (1986).

Teruo Jingu, a professor of English literature and award-selection committee member, praised Cho’s works for expressing the joy of living, and exposing beauty and wonder in ordinary things. He added, though, that Cho’s works, however celebratory, were not lacking in irony and satire.

After the ceremony, two of Cho’s picture books, “Dakuchiru, Dakuchiru” and “Watashi no Umibe (My Beach)” were projected onto a screen.

“Dakuchiru, Dakuchiru” is an endearing tale of friendship between a dinosaur and a small flying reptile. “Watashi no Umibe” is a story about the most unlikely things being washed up on a beach — including an umbrella, a monster, an empty house and the narrator’s father.

The ExxonMobil Music Award for traditional Japanese music went to Hakushu Kawase for revitalizing the performance tradition of the kokyu, a bow instrument.

Pianist Akiko Ebi won the award in the Western classical music division, and conductor Hikotaro Yazaki in the Western classical music promotion division.