The First Book of Japan by Helen Mears and Kathleen Elgin, first 1954 Japan edition.


Written by Helen Mears. Illustrated by Kathleen Elgin. First Japan edition, 1954. Charles E. Tuttle Company. Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo Boy and Girl

"Ichiro and Toshiko are a boy and girl who life in Japan - in Tokyo, the third largest city in the world. Their family name is Matsumoto. Like all Japanese, they put their family name first when they write their names. Like this: Matsumoto Toshiko, Matsumoto Ichiro.

"Toshiko's friends call her Toshiko-chan. Chan is a pet name given to children. ..."

Front Flap

"Ichiro and Toshiko are like boys and girls all around the world - they love games and toys and fun...

"But Japan has differences - fascinating ones - and The First Book of Japan tells about them. It takes the reader to the little island country of rice paddies and cherry blossoms, where the Japanese have worked out their pattern of everyday living. Here the reader visits a Japanese home and learns how Japanese families live, how they furnish their houses, how they have made a beautiful ceremony of tea drinking and an art of flower arranging."

The book also explores the countryside; festivals, national holidays, people working, ancient traditions.

Helen Mears (1900 - 1989) was a writer and journalist whose extensive travels, particularly Asia, informed her involvement in anti-war and civil rights causes. Her articles appeared in The Nation, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and other publications. Books on Japan include Mirror for Americans, Year of the Wild Boar: An American Woman in Japan, and The First Book of Japan.

Kathleen "Jill" Elgin (1925 - 2005) was a cartoonist for Parents' Magazine and illustrated many books for adults, young adults, and children.
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Condition: Very Good. Lacks dust jacket, as issued. Illustrated cover boards with red cloth spine: Loose at the hinges; moderate shelf wear; moderately soiled, including light dampstains, front and back; on the front, small dark spot on cloth, paper paste-down illustration chipped along cloth binding; on the back, small chip to the paste-down, and one small scuff each on the paste-down and cloth; bumped at the corners and head and tail of the spine. Light edge darkening else pages are clean, undamaged, and complete.

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