Issun Bôshi The One-Inch Boy by Icinori

Issun Bôshi is the retelling of a folk legend from Japan. Issun is a unit of measure equal roughly to 3 cm’s. It is the story of a old couple who desperately wanted a child. They visited a shrine and prayed for one, no matter how small. There wish was granted, and a small boy they received, very small indeed. He was no bigger than the tip of a finger.

His parents raised him with tender loving care but he never grew any taller. One day, Issun Bôshi decided he wanted to set off on his own and find his way in the world. His parents reluctantly agreed and gave a sewing needle as a sword, a rice bowl to use as a boat and a chopstick for the rudder. Issun Bôshi set off down the river towards a town. On his journey he met a mean-spirited troll and a beautiful princess who changed his life forever.

The artwork by Icinori is simply breathtaking. I feel very fortunate to have met Raphaël Urwiller at ELCAF this year and he signed my book and added a sketch.

Icinori are Mayumi Otero and Raphaël Urwiller. Mayumi Otero is a French illustrator of children’s books whose drawings and etchings are often playfully ironic. Her colleague Raphaël Urwiller is a graphic designer and illustrator who works for news­papers and magazines in addition to creating children’s books. Together, Otero and Urwiller designed Issun Bôshi in a style reminiscent of Asia.

Published by Little Gestalten.

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