A Picture Book Expert and the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava

Posted by Deborah Iwabuchi, Maebashi Japan

Today’s Daily Yomiuri newspaper ran an article entitled Picture Books Not Just for Children. The reporter discusses picture books with Yukiko Hiromatsu, a “picture book expert.” The online version of this article, unfortunately, does not include the photo of Hiromatsu standing in front on her own bookshelf, which is delightfully full of picture books of all languages. The article does, however,  include many of Hiromatsu’s favorite books, and gives their titles in both Japanese and English.

Intrigued about what exactly a picture book expert was, I made a quick search and found her website. In it she describes herself deprecatingly as kimagure ehonya, or  “whimsical picture-book specialist.” Searching a little more, this profile came up. Hiromatsu is a writer, critic, editor, and curator, working with picture books on a global scale, including as jury member for the Bologna Illustrators Exhibition 2010 and a selection committee member for the Bookstart Japan 2012–2013.

Of immediate interest to picture book lovers in Japan–and to translators who hope to work with picture books–is an exhibit of Biennial of Illustration Bratislava (BIB, BIBIANA), the world’s largest and most prestigious awards event for children’s book illustrators, which Hiromatsu is coordinating. Listed below is information on the Urawa  (Saitama prefecture) exhibit that begins on July 14 and runs through August 31. The exhibit will then go to Chiba and Ashikaga (Tochigi prefecture) in the fall.

Urawa Art Museum, (048) 834-4327, Urawa Central City 3F, 2-5-1 Naka-cho, Urawa-ku, Saitama; 7-min. walk from Urawa Station West Exit (JR Keihin Tohoku Line). 10 a.m.-5 p.m. ¥600. Closed Mon. www.uam.urawa.saitama.jp.

For more information, read this article from the Japan Times.


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