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2018.01.30 Crowdfunding Towards Translation of Picture Book on History of Black Music
A crowdfunding project is under way to publish a Japanese translation of "i see the rhythm," a picture book which tells the history of black music in the United States. If the project goes ahead, Mizuhito Kanehara will be the translator and Peter Barakan, a music critic, will oversee the process.

The original picture book was published in the United States about 20 years ago. In an introduction of the roots of black music in the United States, it depicts songs about hard labor sung by the people who were brought to the country on slave ships. The subsequent historical shift from blues, ragtime, and jazz, to contemporary hip hop as well as rap music is brought to life through the words and pictures. It is a book that adults and children can enjoy together, with commentaries on each page in small print for adults in addition to the main text for co-reading.  

Toyomi Igus, who wrote the words for the book, has written other children’s books, notably "Two Mrs. Gibsons" which portrays her Japanese mother and her African-American grandmother. Igus, along with Michele Wood who drew the powerful images of "i see the rhythm," also previously co-created another picture book, "Going Back Home," which garnered the American Book Award and Skipping Stones Honor Award. This book is about Wood looking back on the past based on the experiences of her grandmother and other relatives. 

On January 16, 2018, Peter Barakan and Mizuhito Kanehara will be hosting an event at the Aoyama Book Center in Tokyo, where they are expected to talk about the translation project and black music.

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