• Introduction to “Children's Books Going Overseas from Japan”
  • Part 1: Tower of Publication
  • < Chapter 1> Characteristics Observed in Each Period and the Expansion of Countries/Regions of Destination
  • Characteristics by period: the 1960s to 1970s
  • Characteristics by period: the 1980s to the 1990s
  • Characteristics by period: the 2000s to the present
  • <Chapter 2> Countries and Regions with Many Translations of Japanese Children's Books
  • Ranks 1st South Korea
  • Column
  • Column
  • Column
  • Ranks 3rd China
  • Column
  • Ranks 4th United States
  • Ranks 5th France
  • <Chapter 3> Nonfiction
  • Natural science
  • Social science
  • Learning materials featuring popular characters
  • Part 2: Tower of Culture
  • <Chapter 1> Picture Books
  • <Chapter 2> Literature
  • <Chapter 3> Folktales and Chirimen Bon (Crepe-paper Books)
  • Part 3: Special Corners
  • Names are different; Calls are different
  • Names are different; Calls are different
  • Sadako: A story from real life has been introduced to overseas countries in the form of children's books
  • Kenji Miyazawa: His works spread transcending national boundaries
  • List of Books
  • Major References
  • Congratulatory Messages
  • About This Site
  • Sitemap
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Introduction to “Children's Books Going Overseas from Japan”


Children’s Books Going Overseas from Japan:Exhibition Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Opening of the International Library of Children’s Literature and the National Year of Reading

The International Library of Children’s Literature (ILCL), which opened in 2000, the National Year of Reading for Children, celebrates its 10th anniversary in this National Year of Reading.
Commemorating this 10th anniversary, the ILCL is holding an exhibition “Children’s Books Going Overseas from Japan,” which shows the international spreading of Japanese children’s books.

In the exhibition “A History of Japanese Translations of Children’s Books from Abroad,” which was held ten years ago to commemorate the opening of the ILCL, we looked into foreign children’s books translated into Japanese and their history. This time, in the other direction, we identified the whereabouts of Japanese children’s books which “went overseas.”

We introduce the countries and regions in which Japanese children’s books have been translated, what kind of changes have been made to illustrations and texts, etc., by displaying about 300 items, including translated Japanese children’s books in over thirty countries and regions, and also their Japanese originals.

Regardless of country and region, children can have a common reading experience through translation. If a Japanese book captures the heart of children, it leads to understanding and interest in Japan. We hope for the success of the children’s books that “went overseas.”

Many specialists in the translation and publication of children’s books gave us advice. Our special thanks go to Japanese Association of Children’s Book Publishers for their great help in preparing publishing information and collecting translated books.

There are few substantial studies on the translation and publishing of Japanese children’s books.
We do not yet have all the publication information either. I hope this exhibition will form the start of further studies and accumulation of information.

Yukiko SAITO
Director General, International Library of Children’s Literature, National Diet Library

Introduction to “Children’s Books Going Overseas from Japan”

The International Library of Children’s Literature (ILCL) has made Japanese children’s books translated into foreign languages one of its targets to collect intensively. It collects such materials through donation from Japanese publishers, through purchase from overseas booksellers, and other means. The books collected are available at the ILCL, and information about them is also open to the public on the ILCL website. We hope that this exhibition “Children’s Books Going Overseas from Japan” will introduce various aspects of such books, and form a start to the discussion on the international spread of Japanese children’s books. We also hope that the visitors will enjoy the diversity of culture through seeing the differences between originals and the translated books.

The Japanese Board on Books for Young People (JBBY) collected information on translated and published Japanese children’s books and compiled “Overseas edition of Japanese children’s books ” (Kaigai de honyaku shuppansareta nihon no kodomo no hon)(No.1) in 1988.
Ten years later, it published the revised edition (No.2).

After the opening of the ILCL in 2000, the ILCL took over the information and it compiles a database called “Gaikokugo ni honyaku kanko sareta nihon no jidosho joho” (Information on Japanese children’s books translated and published in foreign languages, hereafter referred to as Translation DB). In this exhibition, we will look into the “Japanese children’s books which went abroad,” based on the data in the Translation DB as of the end of August 2009.

The exhibition consists of “Part 1: Tower of Publication,” “Part 2: Tower of Culture,” and “Part 3: Special Corners.” In the “Tower of Publication,” we introduce state of translation from the 1960s to the present according to each period, the characteristics of the five countries and regions that translate and publish the most Japanese children’s books, and translations of nonfiction works. In the “Tower of Culture,” first we compare the original and the translated versions of internationally acclaimed works, or picture books and literature that have been long familiar to Japanese readers. Then, we refer to the acceptance of Japanese folktales in overseas countries, and display some chirimen bon (crepe-paper books) in the ILCL collection.
In addition, there are four “Special Corners” where each author and work is examined in a little more detail.

We hope you will enjoy the exhibition and think about how children overseas respond to Japanese children’s books.

*Please note that because the Translation DB includes many books that are not held in the ILCL and thus cannot be confirmed, there may be some incorrect or insufficient data in the database, and it is not claimed to be an exhaustive accumulation of information on translation and publication. We referred to the Translation DB because it appears to be the only source of information in Japan on the translation and publication of children’s books.

*For copyright reasons, images of some books are not available in this electronic exhibition.

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