Kanai-kun is a picture book illustrated by Matsumoto Taiyo ( Tekkon Kinkreet, PingPong ) and words by Tanikawa Shuntaro. The story follows a conversation between an old man and his grand daughter as he recalls the memories of a childhood friend named Kanai, who died some 60 years ago. ( the suffix -Kun is an honorific address like -san, but less formal )
The central theme of the story touches on the sombre subject of mortality and death, but it is interesting to note that this is very much a children’s book. Quite unlike its Western counterparts, Japanese comics and animation tend not to shy away from these subjects and children are introduced and exposed to the concept of death and mortality at a much earlier age.
Matsumoto Taiyo’s illustrations aren’t as visually arresting as say, Otomo Katsuhiro, but in his drawings there is a quiet, affecting quality that I really like. This can be clearly seen and felt in the excellent anime series Ping Pong, which I highly recommend. Also be sure to check out his illustrations in this art book.
A short but thought provoking picture book, with charming illustrations by Matsumoto Taiyo. The text in the book is mostly Hiragana as it is a children’s book, and isn’t too hard to understand if you have some rudimentary Japanese knowledge. Recommended.
– Dimensions – 10.4 x 7.5 x 0.3 inches
– Hardcover, 48 pages
– Color, in Japanese
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