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Anno’s Journey: The World of Anno Mitsumasa

27th August 2019 @ 9:00 am - 27th October 2019 @ 5:00 pm

Admission FREE

Open Monday to Saturday 10:00-20:00; Sundays & Bank Holidays: 12:00-18:00

The Exiling of the Ministers of State from ‘Tale of the Heike Picture Book’, 1996, © Anno Mitsumasa. Courtesy of Anno Art Museum

This family-friendly exhibition showcases the life’s work of prolific storyteller and award-winning illustrator, Anno Mitsumasa, who has been producing picture books and imaginative paintings for over 50 years. The exhibition includes almost 100 artworks by Anno in a variety of media from watercolours, Japanese-style paintings (Nihonga), powder pigment (ganryō) on silk, and papercuts. This exhibition marks the first ever display of Anno’s work in the UK.

Anno was born in 1926, the first year of the Shōwa era, in the small town of Tsuwano in Shimane Prefecture in western Japan. He trained as a primary school teacher in Yamaguchi and work for a number of years in Tokyo before becoming an illustrator, mostly of children’s book. Generations of readers in Japan have grown up reading his books as if they were a part of the family.

Credit © Anno Mitsumasa. Courtesy of Anno Art Museum

Working with ink and watercolour as well as papercuts, Anno’s stories cover a wide range of themes – from maths and science through to language and folklore. His picture books show a profound understanding of the way children’s minds work, presenting complex subjects in engaging, easily understandable ways. Young readers are often required to interact with his books beyond the simple act of reading, with tactile and mental puzzles requiring books to be turned around or studied intently to find specific objects within the detailed drawings. These playful forms are considered precursors to the puzzle-style books made popular by titles such as ‘Where’s Wally?’ In 1984 this sophisticated style, filled with humour and visual trickery, won him the prestigious Hans Christian Anderson award for his lasting contribution to children’s literature.

‘The Tale of the Old Man Who Made Trees Blossom’ © Anno Mitsumasa, Papercut 1974. Courtesy of Anno Art Museum, Tsuwano


27th August 2019 @ 9:00 am
27th October 2019 @ 5:00 pm


Japan House
101-111 Kensington High Street
London, W8 5SA
+44 20 3972 7100
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