Shuntarō Tanikawa

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Shuntarō Tanikawa

Shuntarō Tanikawa 谷川俊太郎

Shuntarō Tanikawa (1931–)  is a poet and translator. Born in Tokyo, he is the son of the eminent philosopher Tetsuzō Tanikawa (1895–1989). He published his first collection of poetry in 1952 under the title Nijūoku kōnen no kodoku (Two Billion Light Years of Solitude), and was soon writing song lyrics, scripts, essays, and criticism in addition to poetry. He has produced numerous collections of poems for children, as well as translations of children’s books from English, including Daddy-Long-Legs and Songs from Mother Goose. In 1983 he was awarded the Yomiuri Prize for Literature for Hibi no chizu (tr. Map of Days). With his work translated into English, French, German, Slovakian, Danish, Chinese, and Mongolian, he has gained a readership around the world.

Books by Shuntarō Tanikawa
  • Book

    On Photography

    Following on Ehon (Picture Book) in 1965 and Solo in 1982, this is the third collection of photographs produced by Shuntaro Tanikawa, one of Japan’s best-known poets. In the two previous works, Tanikawa’s selection of meticulously composed photos …

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  • Book

    Woods Bear and Teddy Bear

    In a simple but moving poem, the author juxtaposes the story of a "woods bear" going through its life cycle in its natural habitat with that of a teddy bear in a human home. The woods bear roams the forest, forages for food, finds a mate, has a child, gro …

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  • Book

    Once Upon a Time

    Presenting an archetypal vision of life in words and pictures, the book opens with a naked boy standing against an expanse of earth and sky, saying, "Once upon a time there was me." The boy roves the vast, empty landscape, playing, thinking, laughing, cry …

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  • Book

    Is There a God or Not?

    Is there a God? Where is He? What is He doing, or does He no longer do anything? What should we humans, who inherited the world from Him, do today? This picture book poses questions about the existence of God and about our beliefs, making it unique among …

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  • Book

    Death

    Through the internal monologue of a precocious girl who has lost her grandfather, one of Japan's leading poets and children's book authors prompts the reader to think about what happens to a person when he or she dies. Shuntaro Tanikawa's inspired work is …

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  • Book

    Ken Is Unfazed

    A collaboration between poet, translator, and scriptwriter Shuntaro Tanikawa, and graphic designer, film director, and illustrator Makoto Wada, this is the first in a series of "new picture books" by the ever-innovative pair, portraying today's child in a …

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  • Book

    The Soba Monster

    Poet Shuntaro Tanikawa teams up with a different artist each time in this "Picture Books for Babies" series encouraging parents and babies to cuddle close and bond through reading. "I like playing with soba," a little boy says as he coaxes a single soba …

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  • Book

    The Ball

    Poet Shuntaro Tanikawa teams up with a different artist each time in this "Picture Books for Babies" series encouraging parents and babies to cuddle close and bond through reading. A little yellow ball "flops" to the ground and rolls "round and round" do …

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  • Book

    The Other Boy

    Some 215 million children around the world are deprived of the chance to go to school and forced instead to work, often at jobs that are quite dangerous. Written for young readers and their families, this book is designed to raise consciousness about the …

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  • Book

    Died for Me

    This is an adaptation in picture-book form of a single poem (with the same arresting title) from Shuntarō Tanikawa’s poetry collection Boku wa boku (I Am Me). “The cow / Died for me / And became chopped steak. / Thank you, cow,” begins the poem. T …

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