Posts Tagged ‘Japan Foreign Rights Centre’

Japanese Children’s Publishers’ Foreign Rights Catalogs for Spring 2020

By Deborah Iwabuchi, Maebashi, Japan

Along with much else in the world, the 2020 Bologna Children’s Book Fair was recently cancelled. (An online fair will be held May 4–7.) We in the SCBWI Japan Translation Group know that the BCBF provides a valuable venue for Japanese publishers to showcase their works and market foreign rights, including to visitors who happen by their physical booths.

We would like to use this post to give interested parties access to the beautiful foreign rights catalogs prepared for BCBF 2020 by Japanese children’s book publishers, some of which Translation Group members had a hand in putting together.

Here are links to catalogs from major children’s publishers in Japan.

Also, the Japanese Board on Books for Young People has its curated Japanese Children’s Books 2020 list available to download. Recommendations from this year and prior years are also searchable online at Japanese Children’s Books—JBBY’s recommendations.

If you know of other catalogs we can add, please comment below or email the SCBWI Japan Translator Coordinator: japan-tc (at)

Fortunately, reading is one of the few activities not limited by social distancing, and we invite all agents and publishers to take the time to go through these offerings. As Tokyo finally gets the hang of teleworking, you may have trouble making phone calls to foreign rights departments, but emails are sure to be welcomed!

Stay safe!

A Glimpse of the Possible at the Bangkok International Book Fair

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

I visited the Bangkok International Book Fair last week with a writers’ group. We wandered among publishers’ and booksellers’ booths at Queen Sirikit Convention Center much as wordsmiths do at Tokyo International Book Fair in Odaiba. My steps slowed, as usual, at the children’s titles.


Thai picture book The Elephant Parade by Tul Suwannakit (Amarin, 2013)

I enjoyed thumbing through the Thai picture books, which included a hilarious take on a revered animal, the elephant. I looked at “wisdom stories” about a boy who helps his neighbors during a flood; brings in laundry unasked during a squall; and extends old pencil stubs by rolling the non-point ends in scrap paper and securing with rubber bands.

Extending a pencil stub

Extending a pencil stub

I also checked out the books in translation. Young adult novels from the US—such as Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron series, Veronica Roth’s Divergent books, and Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance cycle—were available in Thai-language editions.

I also saw picture books from Japan, including Akiko Hayashi’s Hajimete no otsukai (available in English as Miki’s First Errand), Taro Gomi’s ubiquitous Minna unchi (in English, Everyone Poops), and many titles that sell in Asia but not yet in the English-reading world. These include the Hyakkai date no ie (A House of 100 Stories) series mentioned by Publishers Weekly last year and the charming Nontan series for toddlers.

Japanese picture books in Thai translation. Author-illustrators, from left: Komako Sakai, Toshio Iwai, Sachiko Kiyono

Japanese picture books in Thai translation. Original titles are, from left, Korya mate mate (Wait, Wait!) by Hatsue Nakawaki, illustrated by Komako Sakai (Fukuinkan Shoten, 2002); Hyakkai date no ie (The House of 100 Stories) by Toshio Iwai (Kaisei-sha, 2008); and Nontan (Little Non) series books by Sachiko Kiyono (Kaisei-sha, 1988 and 1989)

When I viewed the displays of Japanese books in Thai translation, I recalled some remarks by Yurika Yoshida of Japan Foreign Rights Centre to SCBWI (see pages 12-14 of this PDF), about how Japanese titles for children and teens often make it into other Asian languages, but not English.

Nonetheless, as I stood at a row of Japanese picture books available in Thai, I could imagine them dotting displays of favorite bookstores in my native US. I could see them taking their place there, entrancing readers with stories of a country they may not have visited, which in heart miles is not all that far from home.

2014_04_01 Thailand Bangkok Book Fair IMG_8007

A row of booths at Bangkok International Book Fair 2014 (photo by MG Edwards)

I left the fair inspired to bring more children’s literature from my second language into my first. The event helped me see how someday, the titles I saw here might greet me when I travel elsewhere overseas. Thank you, Writers Rock (especially author MG Edwards) and Bangkok International Book Fair, for a glimpse of the possible.