Miyoko Matsutani

« Back to list

Authors

Miyoko Matsutani

Miyoko Matsutani 松谷みよ子

Miyoko Matsutani  (1926–2015)   was born in Tokyo and began writing children's stories near the end of World War II. After the war she worked under the tutelage of author Joji Tsubota, whom she had met in Nagano when her family evacuated from Tokyo to escape the intensifying air raids, and for many years she helped edit the children's literary magazine Biwa no mi gakko (Loquat School), which he was instrumental in launching. She made her publication debut in 1951 with Kai ni natta kodomo (The Child Who Turned into a Shellfish), for which she won the JAWC New Talent Award. In 1960, her Taro the Dragon Boy (tr. 1967) received the Kodansha Award for New Writers of Children's Literature; the work also became the first by a Japanese author to make the Hans Christian Andersen Award honor list. Among her many other awards are the Noma Prize for Children's Literature in 1964 for Chiisai Momo-chan (Little Momo); the Akaitori Award for Children's Literature in 1975 for Momo-chan to Akane-chan (Momo and Akane); and the Shogakukan Children's Publication Culture Award in 1994 for Ano yo kara no hi (Fire from the World Beyond). A committed peace activist, she frequently addresses themes of war and peace, as in the picture book Machinto (A Little More). Her works include more than 300 titles across the full range of picture books and juvenile literature. As head of the Miyoko Matsutani Folklore Research Center she collects and retells folktales from throughout Japan, and her Gendai minwa ko (Thoughts on Modern Folklore; 12 volumes) has earned praise for its compilation of folklore from the Meiji period (1868?1912) on. She is one of the true giants of contemporary children's literature in Japan, and her complete works have been published twice.

Books by Miyoko Matsutani
  • Book

    A Little More

    On the morning of August 6, 1945, a young girl in Hiroshima is happily eating a tomato when the atomic bomb explodes. Injured, she longs for just another taste of the rare treat, crying machinto, machinto ?"a little more, a little more." As the neighborho …

    Details
  • Book

    Peek-A-Boo

    This picture book for the youngest of readers has maintained its high popularity throughout the 45 years since it was first published. In 2012 it became the first Japanese picture book to sell five million copies. The tale opens with a kitty holding its …

    Details