Hanoi (VNA) – A children's comic book entitled “Friends” featuring illustrations by a Vietnamese painter 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 highly popular Ehon and co-monologue books, and illustrated by Vietnamese painter Dom Dom. The book, the result of cooperation between the Hanoi-based Kim Dong Publishing House and the Sunny Side Publishing House, has been released in both Vietnamese and Japanese.

In a letter sent to readers, Hiroyuki wrote: “As a Japanese, I wish to become friends with Vietnamese readers, so that we can travel together to explore Vietnam’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.”

The comics tells a story about Brown Bear, a big but shy teddy bear, which got lost after a picnic with Mai’s family. Left alone in a completely unknown place, Brown Bear does not know how to get home. A new friend just happens to show up. Black Cat helps Brown Bear become braver and warms his heart. It is a simple yet touching story that helps children explore the world of emotions, better understand the value of friendship and know how to make friends with other people.

“Artist Dom Dom 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, the two of them gradually come to 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,” the author said.

After reading the Vietnamese version, the author expressed his wish to have the comics published in Japan by the Sunny Side Publishing House. He presented his book to the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan when the Japanese version was released.

Comics illustrated by Vietnamese painter published in Japan hinh anh 1The Vietnamese version of the book “Friends.” (Photo: Kim Dong Publishing House)
"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 to Japan Vu Hong Nam.

Previously, the copyrights of two other books, published by the Kim Dong Publishing House, “Chang Hoang Da – Gau” (Saving Sorya – Chang and the Sun Bear) and “Dung la Tet” (This is Tet), were 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.

Vu Thi Quynh Lien, Deputy Director and Editor-in-Chief of the Kim Dong 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.”

Dom Dom, whose real name is Vu Thuy Ngoc Ha, is an illustrator of children’s books and comics. Some of her illustrations have since been published, including “Hoang Tu Rom” (The Straw Prince), “Ban Tay Cua Bo” (Father’s Hand), “Cuoc Phieu Luu Cua Jenny O Vuong Quoc Ham Choi” (Jenny’s Adventures in the Gluttony Kingdom), and “Chuyen Nay Chuyen Kia” (This and That Story).

She was awarded the first prize at Scholastic Picture Book Award 2019 for her book “Co Be Tren Mai Nha va Cau Be Ben Bo Bien” (The Girl on the Roof and the Boy on the Beach). The book has been recently published by Scholastic Corporation, an American multinational publisher./.