For the first time Japanese picture book ‘Mottainai Grandma’ is being published in India with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The first bilingual edition of the book is in English-Hindi, which later will be published in 11 other regional languages. This book features the world-famous character ‘Mottainai Grandma’ who teaches children about environment-friendly lifestyle and the importance of lessening the wastage of various possessions, has been released at the New Delhi World Book Fair, 2018. Kodansha Co. Ltd., one of the largest publishing companies in Japan, has published the Mottainai Grandma series in 2004.
With JICA’s assistance ‘Mottainai Grandma’ series is also promoting the awareness of people across all the levels especially at the Bottom of Pyramid (BOP) and is assisting them in resolving the environment and hygiene issues. Kodansha has been conducting a preparatory survey on ‘Picture Book through Reading Aloud Activities’ since 2016 in Delhi under JICA’s BOP scheme.
‘Mottainai Grandma’ is a children’s book, which is both interesting and beneficial, especially in India, where picture books on subjects of environment and hygiene are not large in number.
The concept of this book ‘Mottainai’ is also very much in alignment 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.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Takyoshi Tange said, “JICA has been working in India for many years together with the Indian authorities to improve environment and sanitation infrastructure, skill and capacity development through ODA projects. This time, teaming up with Kodansha has brought a unique opportunity for JICA to reach out to a different audience. JICA would like to encourage the children to share the spirit of ‘Mottainai’ with their families and friends. This is a valuable and important Japanese concept, which teaches us that we should always be thankful to Mother Nature for everything. JICA strongly believes the children should be educated and made aware about the situation in which anything of value should not be wasted and should be used with careful consideration. This will help children understand the importance of their environment and they will contribute towards building a better world.”
In the Survey supported by JICA, Kodansha also conducted storytelling sessions focused on concept of ‘Mottainai’ in several schools of Delhi. Dr. Varsha Das an eminent writer narrated these stories to the children in the storytelling sessions. The book will be available at the children section of the leading book stores all over India or online from National Book Trust (NBT) website. NBT India is the largest publishing house under Government of India.
Apart from ‘Mottainai Grandma’, two more books ‘Mottainai Grandma Let’s Eat’ and ‘Mottainai Grandma goes to Magic Land’ are planned to be published this year by NBT under a license agreement with Kodansha Co. Ltd.