I thought that somewhere in your text there must be a hope that the sun will rise. So I illustrated that hope.


Colour Flows Through His Hands Like Music

Ryôji Arai is an illustrator with a style all of his own: bold, mischievous and unpredictable. His picturebooks glow with warmth, playful good humour and an audacious spontaneity that appeals to children and adults alike. In adventure after adventure, colour flows through his hands in an almost musical way. As a medium for conveying stories to children, his art is at once genuine and truly poetic, encouraging children to paint and to tell their own stories.
The citation of the jury

Japanese illustrator, born in Yamagata in 1956.

Arai studied art at Nippon University. His production of picture books is both large and varied – from small books for toddlers, to picture books of nonsense, fairytales and poetry, both with his own texts and those of other writers. He has also worked with advertising, magazine illustration and theatre set design.

His illustrated books have won him a number of awards in his native Japan and around the world; the newcomer's prize Fourth Choice in Japan 1986, the Grand Award for new illustrators 1990, the publisher Shogakkan's 1997 award for children's literature for Uso tsuki no tsuki ("The Lying Moon"), the Special Award at the 1999 Bologna Book Fair for Nazo nazo no tabi ("A Journey of Riddles") together with Chihiro Ishizu, and the 31st picture book award from the publisher Kodansha for Mori no ehon ("A Forest Picture Book", 1999) together with the poet Hiroshi Osada.