A collaboration between 8 manga artists such as “BEASTARS”'s Itagaki Paru, “Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!”'s Oowara Sumito, “Phantom Thief Jeanne”'s Tanemura Arina and selected literary works has been announced. Each manga artist will be in charge of the cover illustration of a literary work in the summer children's literature fair titled: “The Undiscovered Appeal of Literature”.
The pairings of “The Undiscovered Appeal of Literature” are as follows: “Solanin”'s Asano Inio paired with “Botchan” (Natsume Souseki), “Land of the Lustrous”'s Ichikawa Haruko with “Night on the Galactic Railroad” (Miyazawa Kenji), “Big Dog”'s Sukerakko with “The Restaurant of Many Orders” (Miyazawa Kenji), “BEASTARS”'s Itagaki Paru with “The Story of Doctor Dolittle”(Lofting), “Magic Circle Guru Guru”'s Etou Hiroyuki with “The Wizard of Oz”(Baum), “Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!”'s Oowara Sumito with “Two Years' Vacation”(Verne), “Otome Youkai Zakuro”'s Hoshino Lily with “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”(Stevenson) and “Phantom Thief Jeanne”'s Tanemura Arina with “St. Clare's”(Blyton). Each artist is in charge of the cover illustration for their chosen book.
“The Undiscovered Appeal of Literature” fair is scheduled to be held in nationwide bookstores from mid-Jun. 2020. In addition, original tote bags named “Famous everywhere tote bags” with illustrations printed on them will be given away as lucky draw presents. Further details can be found in the books' limited edition cover or Poplar Publishing Co.'s special page (live on 15 June).
<Here are comments from the artists>
Asano Inio (In charge of: “Botchan” (Natsume Souseki))
“Botchan” is a book that is honest and straightforward from start to the end. It starts off with strange occurrences happening consecutively in the main character's newly appointed middle school. His seemingly reckless sense of justice causes ripples of unrest amidst the other adults.
With the goodness of the main character's “Edokko” (a person born and raised in Tokyo) disposition and the overflowing humanity displayed by the adults that talk like “bloody fools”, the work is both a bitter criticism of, as well as a love letter towards humanity. It is a feel-good novel that makes the reader think about the vast skies of Matsuyama.
Itagaki Paru (In charge of: “The Story of Doctor Dolittle”(Lofting))
If you don't have your heart in it, you can't have a fun conversation. I think it's precisely because Dr. Dolittle has so much love, which is why he was able to acquire the language of animals.
Ichikawa Haruko (In charge of: “Night on the Galactic Railroad” (Miyazawa Kenji)
As Miyazawa Kenji is always creating stories that link our world to a faraway, different one. I recommend reading this novel whichever way readers like as there are elements that they might understand and some that won't make much sense.
In “Night on the Galactic Railroad”, there's fear, loneliness, beautiful things with slightly disgusting elements in their cores, many incomprehensible moments all mixed in – but it is what it is. After becoming an adult, re-reading this has surprised me as it all started making sense when it didn't before. This is one of the amazing points of Miyazawa Kenji's work – the ability to deliver long-lasting joy.
Eto Hiroyuki (In charge of: “The Wizard of Oz”(Baum))
Is the world made out of strength and rightfulness? – this was a question I've always had since high school and the novel that answered that was a fantasy children's literature novel.
A girl whose house was destroyed by a tornado teams up with a group of odd characters and a witch to stand up against the “Wizard of Oz” might be an old fantastical classic penned 120 years ago but, it tells us that “it's okay to be weird, to be with the misfits and most importantly, to laugh”. I think that this is the way to live. Bring weirdness and laughter into your life too!
Oowara Sumito (In charge of: “Two Years' Vacation”(Verne))
This is a novel packed with adolescent adventures by Jules Verne, also known as the “Father of SF”! Verne's deep knowledge of nature and science comes to play in this novel and shows itself in the climates and creatures that the boys come face to face with.
The boys are able to overcome these obstacles through their knowledge of science and nature. If you were a part of their crew, how would you face these obstacles?
Sukerakko (In charge of: “The Restaurant of Many Orders” (Miyazawa Kenji))
“The Restaurant of Many Orders” has been a personal favorite of mine since before. Don't you get excited just hearing the title? It conjures up thoughts like: “What kind of food will they come up with?” or “I want to go!”. However, this restaurant has many orders beyond the norm.
In Miyazawa Kenji's story, there are mentions of squirrels and forests as well as a bustling march of telephone poles. There are equally important relationships between humans, animals and nature depicted as well. I want everyone to experience the world within the story.
Tanemura Arina (In charge of: “St. Clare's”(Blyton))
A midnight party is such an enchanting event. Cute cakes and sweets, pajamas and gowns, friends that you can have fun with – all of these are a secret from the grown ups. Mix a playful heart with a big experience and it is sure to become an everlasting memory. Come and spend a wonderful time with the curious set of twins enrolled in St. Clare's.
Hoshino Lily (In charge of: “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”(Stevenson))
This is a very famous classic horror and mystery novel. I'm sure those of you who have not read this work are familiar with the title. The theme of the novel focuses on the conflict between the good and bad of human nature, as well as the desire to remain as an ideal version of yourself. It is a timeless piece of work that is highly enjoyable.