The 200th Anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen's birth - Upsurge in Japan


It is about 120 years ago that Hans Christian Andersen's tales were first translated in Japan. Many of his tales have been translated by various people since then and they have enjoyed wide popularity in both libraries and homes. The International Library of Children's Literature (ILCL) holds about 800 versions of his books which were translated and published in Japan.

In 2005, many events associated with the 200th anniversary of Andersen's birth were held in many countries. In Denmark where he was born, a project called HCA2005 (Hans Christian Andersen) was set up, asking the world to play an active part in getting as many people as possible both in Denmark and abroad to broaden their knowledge of Andersen.

In response to the project, in Japan, traveling exhibitions of HCA2005 were carried out in Nagano, Okayama, Hiroshima, Shiga, Hokkaido, and Hyogo. Memorabilia from the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Denmark, including the fairy tale manuscripts, personal effects, sketches, and paper cutouts made by himself, were exhibited. The original illustrations of his picture-books published in Japan were also exhibited. There were many visitors. This exhibition also went to China and South Korea. In addition, in Japan, various projects including small events were held in museums and libraries throughout the year. People enjoyed the storytelling of his fairy tales at one of the libraries. Some bookstores held book fairs featuring Andersen.

In 2005 over 40 titles of books by and about Andersen were published in Japan, including new publications and republications, and some magazines carried feature articles about him. Some of his tales were animated for a television program and performed at theaters for children. At the autumn Flower Festival in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, his fairy tales were used as the motifs of the flower carpets.


(2006.2.28 update)