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Mottainai Grandma: India Learns Parenting from Japan

  • Children

Japanese children are epitome of discipline and immaculate behaviour. The culture lays emphasis on the making sure the children have a strong foundation in humility and mindfulness. The Mottainai Grandma, illustration book brings the essence of the Japanese parenting culture to India. The illustrator and author, Mariko Shinju has created a parenting handbook, with a plethora of topics that help parents make sure their children learn ‘good habits’ at young age.

The children’s book is a delight for young parents living in cities and aiming to set good examples for their children. In India, Dadi ma ke Nuskhe (Grandma’s tips for healthy living) were always available for children owing to the joint family structure. With family set up changing, parents are left to their own devices to discipline children.

A book like Mottainai Grandma, reminds young parents of the fond memories of their childhood and how they learnt these habits in a family set up.

The book explains to children the good practices of hygiene and thoughtful waste management. Mottainai is a Japanese word that means ‘wasteful’, and the book illustrates that children be taught about mindfulness on environment-friendly ways of living.

Through this book Shinju puts across her idea of lessening wastage. The book simply explores, ‘Don’t waste & respect others’.

The book is not just for parents, the picture stories leave a lasting impression on young minds, they will be able to relate to the learnings in their everyday life. The children would eventually remind adults about ‘Mottainai’ when they spot them doing something like the character.

The concept of this book is aligned with the message of ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ contributing to the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi. The concept is based on the 4 R’s, which denotes Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Respect.

Shinju traces the importance of inculcating good habits like cleaning hands before having food, not to leave leftovers or how even a single grain is too precious to be wasted.
While Mottainai is an effort to instill good habits and sustain them, it’s definitely a starting point for the genesis of a Swachh Bharat, in every home.

The Japanese picture book ‘Mottainai Grandma’ was published in India with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).