Tajima Shinji

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Tajima Shinji was born in August 1947 in Hiroshima, Japan. In 1973 he completed his studies in Educational Philosophy at the Waseda University in Tokyo. From 1974 to 1976 he continued his research in education in Munich, Germany and at the Tagore International University in India. From 1977 to 1997 he worked at the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU) on a number of literacy and book development programmes in the Asian region, and since 1997 to 2000 at the Prime Ministerís Literacy Comission in Islamabad as an advisor for establishing non-formal education in Pakistan. In 2001, he established in Tokyo the NGO International Center for Literacy and Culture (ICLC) for assisting disadvantaged children and adults in developing countries through literacy and culture.
Tajima has also attracted international attention as an author. His books have been translated into 28 languages and published in 18 countries in Asia. Tajimaís works combine educational value with reading pleasure. "Learning should be fun, reading should be entertaining. This stimulates the imagination and a good education is a function of a well-developed imagination."

One of the main themes in his stories is the careless way we treat our planet. Human characteristics such as greed for power and environmental irresponsibility are exposed by the animal protagonists. For example, the giant sea turtle in ´Gaudiís Ocean´ (1993), who manages to escape back to the ocean after spending 40 years imprisoned in an aquarium and realizes with horror that its habitat, once so beautiful, is now severely polluted and that its inhabitants have contracted diseases following an underwater nuclear experiment. The turtle and other animals work together to try to save the ocean.

Although Tajimaís books are mainly intended for young people, they remind readers of all ages that creative implementation of nature conservation and social responsibility with imagination are essential for the survival of humankind. The twelve stories in ´Cloud Tales´ (1999) take readers on a journey through several centuries and countries including India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Germany, Japan and Papua New Guinea. His short story ´The Lonely Fox´ (1988) has been adapted for the stage.
Tajima received the 20th Kodansha Prize for Publishing Culture for ´The Dinosaur of the Desert´ (1989).

The artist Kazuko Tajima, his wife, has illustrated many of his stories. Tajima now lives in Tokyo.
Author: International Festival of Literature Berlin (ilb)

Works

Lautan Gaudi: Kisah Seekor Penyu Gergasi

Published Written,
2000
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka: Kuala Lumpur

The Lonely Fox

Published Written,
1999
Oxford University Press: Oxford

Gaudiís Ocean

Published Written,
1999
Oxford University Press: Oxford

Cloud Tales

Published Written,
1999
Oxford University Press: Oxford

Where is Spring?

Published Written,
1998
Vikas: New Delhi

Sabishii Kitsune

Published Written,
1996
Tohdosha: Tokyo

Kumo no Musouroku

Published Written,
1996
Kagyuusha: Tokyo

Oogame Gaudi no Umi

Published Written,
1996
Tohdosha: Tokyo

The Legend of Planet Surprise

Published Written,
1988
Baobab Books: Tokyo

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International Festival of Literature Berlin