Anno Mitsumasa (1926-2020) was one of Japan’s most beloved and prolific artists, having illustrated over 300 books since the 1960s. His works have appeared in children’s books for over the last fifty years and generation after generation of readers in Japan has grown up intimately knowing his works as if they were a part of the family. Respecting different cultures and the learning of his readers, Anno was awarded in 1984 with the highest honour attainable in children's book illustration: the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration.
Anno was well travelled and his catalogue of works reflects the inspiration he took from those journeys. He had a particular interest in European history and culture, but also in his home country, Japan; one might think his work reminiscent of M. C. Escher, before being transported into the world of 'The Tale of Heike' from the Japanese Middle Ages.
Japan House London holds several of Anno's publications in the Library and The Shop, including those published in English such as 'Anno’s Journey' and 'Anno’s Animals'. Between 22 August and 27 October 2019, almost 100 pieces of work by Anno Mitsumasa were displayed in the Anno's Journey: The World of Anno Mitsumasa exhibition at Japan House London. It is still possible to experience the exhibition via an audiovisual, 3D exhibition tour.