The Vietnamese version (left) and the Japanese version of the comic book Friends. Photo courtesy of Kim Đồng Publishing House
HÀ NỘI A children's comic book called Friends featuring illustrations by a Vietnamese artist, has been published by Japan’s Sunny Side Publishing House.
The picture book, or Ehon in Japanese, was written by Aihara Hiroyuki, a Japanese writer who has published more than 100 Ehon books, and illustrated by Vietnamese painter Đôm Đốm. The book, a project by Hà Nội-based Kim Đồng Publishing House, was released in both Vietnamese and Japanese in 2020.
In the letter to readers Hiroyuki wrote: “As a Japanese, I wish to become friends with Vietnamese readers, and that we could travel together to explore Việt Nam’s nature like the two main characters Brown Bear and Black Cat in this story. It would be so much fun if that wish could come true, and that's why I'm writing this story.
“Artist Đôm Đốm has illustrated my feelings with wonderful paintings. I really like her paintings and hope you do too. Have you seen the images of the Japanese through the calm Brown Bear and of the Vietnamese through brave Black Cat? Beginning with an accidental meeting then embarking on a journey together, two of them gradually understand and support each other, and finally win each other’s trust. I would be very happy if children of the two countries would also share such a strong bond of friendship in the future.”
After reading the Vietnamese version, the author expressed his wish to have the comic published in Japan by Sunny Side Publishing House. He presented his book to the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan when the Japanese version was released.
"I hope this wonderful book will be read by many Japanese children and therefore more Japanese and Vietnamese kids could be friends,” said Vietnamese ambassador in Japan Vũ Hồng Nam.
Previously, the copyrights of two other books published by Kim Đồng Publishing House, Chang Hoang Dã – Gấu (Saving Sorya – Chang and the Sun Bear) and Đúng là Tết (This is Tết), have been purchased by two publishing houses in the UK and Germany respectively. The latter is also in the process of being negotiated for publication in France.
Vũ Thị Quỳnh Liên, Deputy Director and Editor-in-Chief of Kim Đồng Publishing House, said: “More Vietnamese books have been copyrighted and published abroad, which show the increasing interest of international readers in Vietnamese authors’ topics and expressions. This is a great joy for people working in the field of creativity in the country.”
Artist Đốm Đốm, real name is Vũ Thủy Ngọc Hà. Photo thethaovanhoa.vn
Đốm Đốm, whose real name is Vũ Thủy Ngọc Hà, is an illustrator of children’s books and comics. Some of her illustrations have since been published, including Hoàng Tử Rơm (The Straw Prince), Bàn Tay Của Bố (Father’s Hand, Cuộc Phiêu Lưu Của Jenny Ở Vương Quốc Ham Chơi (Jenny’s Adventures in the Gluttony Kingdom), and Chuyện Này Chuyện Kia (This and That Story).
She was awarded the first prize at Scholastic Picture Book Award 2019 for her book The Girl on the Roof and the Boy on the Beach. The book has been recently published by Scholastic Corporation, an American multinational publisher. VNS