Komako Sakai 酒井駒子
Komako Sakai (1966–) is a native of Hyogo Prefecture. After graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts, she worked for a time as a designer of kimono and other traditional textiles before becoming a picture-book author. Her drawings of children and animals are delicate and endearing, yet also carry a note of sadness that seems to draw out readers' sympathies. Since leaping into the limelight with Yoru kuma (Night Bear) in 1999 she has continued to produce hits, many of which have been picked up for overseas editions, including Emily's Balloon (tr. 2006) and The Snow Day (tr. 2009). Kitsune no kamisama (My Jump Rope and the Little Foxes), with a story by Kimiko Aman, won a Japan Picture Book Award in 2003. Her Kin'yobi no Sato-chan (Friday Sugar) was awarded a Plaque at the 2005 Biennial of Illustration Bratislava. In 2006, Mad at Mommy (tr. 2010) received the French Pitchou and Dutch Zilveren Griffel Prizes. Sakai also illustrates storybooks by other writers.