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Once Upon a Time in Japan


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About the Author

NHK World is the international service of Japanese public broadcaster NHK. The stories published in this book were part of a special series produced by Radio Japan, NHK World's radio service in 18 languages. Illustrators
After working as a graphic designer, Manami Yamada became an author of children's books and an artist. Her books include Grandma Nosehair, whose illustrations were selected for the Bologna Illustrators Exhibition in 2008, and Kaeru to Okan ("The Frog and the Crown"). She is the recipient of several awards. Tomonori Taniguchi was born in Osaka in 1978 and studied Nihon-ga Japanese painting at Kanazawa College of Art. His children's books have been published in Japan, France and Italy. They include Sarukun to Banana no Yuenchi ("Monkey and Banana's Amusement Park") and Pinocchio, la marionnette de fer ("Pinocchio the Iron Puppet"). Born in Gifu prefecture in 1978, Nao Takabatake is an author of children's books and an illustrator. He received the Japan Picture Book Award in 2013 for Kaeru no Odekake ("The Frog Goes Out"). His other works include Chiita Dai Se-ru ("Cheetah's Big Sale") and Banana Jiken ("The Banana Incident"). Takumi Nishio was born in Tokyo in 1968. He worked as a graphic and set designer for public broadcaster NHK from 1994 to 1999, and later produced animations, illustrations and opening titles for TV programs. He currently teaches at the Yokohama College of Art and Design.


"I really like the layout of this book. It is really a beautiful book. The fact that there are different illustrators for each story is awesome, as they make each story even more unique. I like the variety of the tales selected. It makes it an enjoyable read. While the book is a bit long for reading at one time, you can just read one of the folktales. The organization of this book is done very well. It is really cool that there is a free audio CD with the book. That makes it perfect for car rides. I give this book five out of five bookworms." This Kid Reviews Books blog
"The illustrations in this book are very pretty and nice, and some are like Japanese paintings. The stories are like fables and like fairy tales. Some of them are a lot like other stories that you may already know, like there is one that is about a magic mill that explains why the sea is salty. [...] If you are interested in fairy tales and fables, you will like reading these stories from a different land." --San Diego Book Review
"The moral lessons in these tales are universal and should transcend the reader's age...reading this book leads to a discovery about the nature of old folktales: A sprinkling of cruelty and weirdness help engrave moral lessons deeper on the minds of readers." --The Japan News
"This collection has a very nice variety to the stories and are going to surprise readers if they are unaccustomed to Japanese myths and tales ... Readers will be fascinated by different takes on some familiar ideas as they are introduced to ancient stories from a culture with which they may not be familiar. A CD of the stories being read is included." --Manhattan Book Review
"Once Upon a Time in Japan is an ideal introduction to Japanese folktales...the publication's beautiful layout showcases a variety of award-winning Japanese illustrators." --The Japan Times
"Each double-page spread is a marvelous blend of simply resonating text and dynamic wondrous art." --Smithsonian Book Dragon
"The overall quality of production matches the care taken in narrative choices and imagery. The stories and artwork work very well together and will likely delight young readers, particularly when read aloud." --Booklist
"The traditional beliefs of long ago come alive through the work of several artists." --Skipping Stones

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