本月News
  "Guji Guji" Hits Japanese Bookshelves (PartⅠ)
by Dan Bloom

Most children's picture books published in Taiwan never find a big audience outside local book clubs and libraries, but "Guji Guji", written and illustrated by 30-year-old Chen Chih-Yuan, has recently been translated into Japanese and published in Tokyo. Last year, the children’s book became a runaway bestseller in the USA.

Chen hit the New York Times bestseller list in 2004 with "Guji Guji" and added a new perspective to Taiwan’s global reach, where Japan also figures strongly into his international reputation. While many Japanese children's books get translated into Chinese for the Taiwan market, few books from Taiwan reach the Japanese market. But Chen is helping to change that one-way translation process.

His Taipei publisher, Hsin Yi Publications, couldn't be happier.

"It's not something that happens very often, a children's book from Taiwan making a splash overseas, in Japan or in America or France, but this book did it," says Eric Chen, a public relations officer at the publishing firm. "The American publisher of "Guji Guji" sold 60,000 copies, and we now have editions in Japan, France, South Korea and Israel. These books are travelling far, and making a name for the author, and for Taiwan, too."

Hsin Yi published "Guji Guji" in Chinese in 2004 and brought the book to showcase for foreign rights at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy. It was there that an astute California publisher with a flair for imported books first saw the covers of Chen Chih-yuan's picture books (he has produced three for Hsin Yi so far) and knew there was something with a global appeal in them.

Translated into English, French, Japanese, Korean and now Hebrew, "Guji Guji" has been well received in Japan, according to his publisher. For the first time in Taiwan's publishing history, a locally produced children’s book has made it in the insular Japanese book market.

(2005/6/14)

 
 
 
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