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Prominent Japanese painter Mitsumasa Anno, known for his unique picture books and landscape paintings, died of liver cirrhosis on Dec. 24, it was learned Saturday. He was 94.

Mitsumasa Anno | KYODO
Mitsumasa Anno | KYODO

Born in Shimane Prefecture, western Japan, the teacher-turned-artist started his career as a painter in 1961.

Anno made his debut as a children’s book author with wordless picture book “Fushigi na E” (“Mysterious Pictures”) in 1968.

His renowned works also include “ABC no Hon” (“Anno’s Alphabet”), featuring alphabets drawn in an illusionary style that is compared to that of Dutch artist M.C. Escher, as well as the “Tabi no Ehon” (“Anno’s Journey”) series, in which he depicted landscapes around the world with a soft and delicate touch.

Anno’s works attained international recognition, earning him the Hans Christian Andersen Award, which honors authors and illustrators who have made lasting contributions to children’s literature, in 1984.

Anno was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1988 and the Kikuchi Kan Prize in 2008, before being recognized as a Person of Cultural Merit in 2012.

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