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HOME > Congratulatory Messages 2
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Congratulatory Messages

The following are congratulatory messages the ILCL has received from related organizations in Japan and abroad on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its opening.

Tayo Shima
President, Japanese Board on Books for Young People (JBBY)

Tayo Shima  President, Japanese Board on Books for Young People (JBBY) Congratulations on the 10th anniversary of the opening of the International Library of Children's Literature, a branch of the National Diet Library!
As a child, my grandfather's book storeroom was a library for me. I used to spend precious moments there calming my excitement from playing outside, embracing the cool air in the steel-walled room. After that, I would usually climb a high ladder to find an interesting book to read. On the very top shelf of the high bookshelves lined with books on law, there were masterpieces of world literature, such as The Count of Monte Cristo, The Lady of the Camelias, and Quo Vadis.
In the corner of the room, volumes of a children's picture magazine series, Akai tori (Red Bird), which my father used to read when he was a child, were piled up. Later, I learned that Miekichi Suzuki and Yoshio Shimizu were living in the neighborhood.
I savored the pleasure of spending time in a book room again as a junior high school student, when I got too sick to play outdoors and was designated as a library monitor. Since then, the library has been a place where I have always spent a lot of time in my life.
I believe that the role that the ILCL should play is to collect and preserve a wide variety of children's literature, transcending age groups and languages, to hand down the eternal human value that the words and pictures of children's books convey to future generations as part of their heritage. Now that there are many cross-cultural children in Japan. I think that it will also be an important task for the ILCL to enable such children to find their cultural identities through books.

Tayo Shima
President, Japanese Board on Books for Young People (JBBY)


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Tetsu Shirai
Representative and Director General, Bookstart Japan (NPO)

Tetsu Shirai  Representative and Director General, Bookstart Japan (NPO) Working together for the future of our children
The year 2000, when the ILCL opened to the public, was designated as the National Year of Reading for Children. In the same year, Bookstart, a program that gives a free pack of books to children, was introduced to Japan.
To mark the National Year of Reading for Children, various events were held throughout the nation to provide children with the opportunity to read more books. To raise public awareness of the Bookstart program, we also held international symposiums and implemented pilot programs, eventually leading to full-scale implementation of the program through local governments and its widespread introduction to the nation. To date, approximately 40% of municipal governments in Japan have participated in the program. Besides promoting reading among children, the Bookstart program has now been carried out by child-support and other various organizations to promote the happiness and well-being of babies.
The opening ceremony of the ILCL, held in Ueno Park on May 5, 2000, can be seen as the culmination of the enthusiasm and dedication of those engaged in the promotion of reading among children. Ten years have since passed, and I realize that enthusiasm and dedication for reading has been steadily expanding right across Japan. I wholeheartedly wish the ILCL further development and prosperity. I again realize the need and responsibility for making united efforts to creating a brighter future for children.

Tetsu Shirai
Representative and Director General, Bookstart Japan (NPO)


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Harunobu Takeshita
President, Japanese Association of Children's Book Publishers

President, Japanese Association of Children's Book Publishers In response to its request, we have provided the ILCL with data on Japanese children's books to be published and translated in foreign countries. I am very pleased to learn that our services to provide such data have contributed to the holding of the exhibition celebrating the ILCL's 10th anniversary.
Since its opening, the ILCL has been devoted to collecting and preserving books, as well as holding a variety of exhibitions under diverse themes, taking full advantage of its research study functions. I believe that most important roles played by libraries are to display books and provide book catalogs. As if I were being guided by a 16-page children's book catalog (containing 453 books) issued by Toronto Public Library, I visited the children's book room of the library and found rare books displayed in the next room with a glass door. Although children cannot enter the room, it is a wonderful book exhibition for children.
I hope that the ILCL will continue to play a leading role in the development of children's culture, by holding various exhibitions and events and issuing book catalogs, not only for Japanese children but also children in the rest of Asia and the world.

Harunobu Takeshita
President, Japanese Association of Children's Book Publishers


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Yutaro Tobata
Director General, Japan Council for the Promotion of Book Reading

Yutaro Tobata  Director General, Japan Council for the Promotion of Book Reading The ILCL opened on Children's Day, May 5, 2000. In 2010, the library celebrates the 10th anniversary of its opening. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude to all the staff members committed to improving its functions and services as a national center for children's books.
With children's books in particular, there is a problem that the more popular books become, the more easily they are worn out. I understand how hard it is for library staff to face the two mutually contradictory issues of preservation and access.
For children to be exposed to literature, it is important to provide an environment where children have easy access to books. To meet children's endless interest, moreover, libraries need to have a large collection of books. The ILCL boasts approximately 400,000 books. I have heard that its bookshelves will be filled up in about five years. I hope that the plan to expand its facility will be carried out as early as possible.
We, as a private organization engaged in the promotion of book reading, are determined to work with the ILCL to create an ideal library for children and turn our dream into a tangible reality.

Yutaro Tobata
Director General, Japan Council for the Promotion of Book Reading


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Miyoko Hida
Managing Director of Characters Culture Promotion Organization, and Former House of Representatives member

Miyoko Hida  Managing Director of Characters Culture Promotion Organization, and Former House of Representatives member To open the International Library of Children's Literature (ILCL) was my dream. When I started to appeal for the need to establish a library for children, many other Diet members responded with statements like “it will take at least 10 years.” However, Mr. Masakuni Murakami, then member of the House of Councilors, took a different view. When I told him that the National Diet Library has a lot of children's books, but children under 18 years old are not allowed to access them, he immediately made a decision saying: “We should work together on this.” He also agreed to the launch of the non-partisan organization the “League of Diet Members for the Founding of the International Library of Children's Literature,” and readily accepted a request to serve as the League's president. At the time, I was designated as the director general. In 2000, five years after the establishment of the League, we finally managed to open the ILCL. The League members gradually developed enthusiasm in the establishment of the ILCL and came to play a leading role in coordinating other people of the parties they belonged to. I also appreciated the cooperation of the National Diet Library staff members as well as the private sector, which was a driving force behind our movement to create the library for children. There is a saying in China: “Drinking the water from a well, one should never forget who dug it.“ I shall never forget Mr. Murakami's help and kindness.

Miyoko Hida
Managing Director of Characters Culture Promotion Organization, and
Former House of Representatives member


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Tadashi Matsui
Former President, Japanese Board on Books for Young People (JBBY)

Tadashi Matsui  Former President, Japanese Board on Books for Young People (JBBY) Ten years have passed since the ILCL was established under a national project for the 21st century. Since then it has been making a significant contribution to the development and enrichment of children's culture in Japan, as well as providing a historic perspective for visitors. I wish to express my most profound esteem for the tireless work of the ILCL.
In December 1953, “Iwanami no kodomo no hon (Iwanami Children's Books)” was published, heralding the start of a full-scale publication of modern children's books. When I picked up a translated version of a western children's book from among the collected books of Iwanami, I was very impressed by its wonderful stories and expressive richness. My encounter with this book provoked me into deciding to launch a project to publish unique children's books. In April 1956, we released a monthly children's book titled “Kodomo no tomo (Children's Friend).”
Since then, I have gained a lot of experience in the translation and publication of excellent children's book in foreign countries, and have learned many different profound techniques for editing, printing and bookmaking. Based on the knowledge, I explored the possibilities of publishing original children's books in Japan, and finally realized the dream of displaying Japan's children's books at an international book exhibition.
Especially after 1962, when we sent our original children's books based on tales of old Japan to an international book exhibition held in Frankfurt, they grabbed the attention of editors from foreign countries, after which they were translated into various languages for publication. Since then, international exchanges through children's books have been steadily promoted, having a stimulating influence on publication activities in developing countries in Asia.
Since 1963, 803 picture story books and children's literature published by Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers have been translated into 48 languages in 37 countries.

Tadashi Matsui
Former President, Japanese Board on Books for Young People (JBBY)


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Kyoko Matsuoka
Director, Tokyo Children's Library

Kyoko Matsuoka Director, Tokyo Children's Library I want the ILCL to provide services possible only by a national library.
During the past half century, the importance of reading in the growth and development of children and the importance of the services provided by libraries to help children develop the habit of reading have come to be widely understood because of diligent efforts by those devoted to activities to promote reading among children throughout the nation. The opening of the ILCL here in Tokyo 10 years ago was highly welcomed as it signaled proof that Japan was deeply concerned about reading. At the same time, there were a great deal of expectations and demands. I understand that it is no easy task to meet them, but I hope that the ILCL will further reinforce its system and continue to play a role as a public organization in supporting those working in local libraries to promote book reading.

Kyoko Matsuoka
Director, Tokyo Children's Library


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Moriyuki Morita
Director, Japan School Library Association

Moriyuki Morita  Director, Japan School Library Association I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the ILCL on its 10th anniversary. I can remember the day of the ILCL's opening as if it were only a few years ago. As Japan's first national library for children, the ILCL started to offer services directly to children and schools, a novel idea that gave us high expectations for further development of the library. I participate in the annual ILCL liaison conference, and I am very happy to learn that as I expected, the library has achieved steady development.
Taking this opportunity, I want to thank the ILCL for its strong support for school libraries throughout the nation as well as its active cooperation in the Japan School Library Association's seminars. Since its opening, the ILCL has also kindly served as a national center of school libraries. With the assistance and cooperation of the ILCL, we will make continuous efforts to create a better reading environment for every child. I wish the ILCL continued outstanding success.

Moriyuki Morita
Director, Japan School Library Association


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Shinichi Yoshida
Former visiting researcher, National Diet Library
Emeritus Professor at Rikkyo University

Shinichi Yoshida   Former visiting researcher, National Diet Library   Emeritus Professor at Rikkyo University For the 10 years since its opening in 2000, the ILCL has provided useful services, such as the provision of opportunities for children to be exposed to books, and the provision of museum functions. Moreover, it has achieved substantial results in the collection and preservation of materials as well as research studies, which form the foundation of libraries' activities. While I was working as a visiting researcher for the National Diet Library for three years, I had a chance to learn the situation of children's books in Japan during the period from the Sino-Japanese War and World War II to the early postwar years, through related materials owned by the ILCL and a video film of the newly added Gordon W. Prange Collection. Because of a preconceived idea that during the period, free speech was controlled and supplies were insufficient, the period had been largely overlooked in considering Japan's history of children's books. However, books and materials owned by the ILCL made me realize that this was a very significant period to link the flourishing of picture story books in the Taisho and early Showa periods and the golden era of children's books after 1955. I hope that this will prove a good example of the usefulness of the ILCL.

Shinichi Yoshida
Former visiting researcher, National Diet Library
Emeritus Professor at Rikkyo University


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