People travel far to chose from his reliable selection
Text: Keiko Kimura / Photo: Akari Kuramoto
This is THE famous children's book shop well known in Kyoto. Being at the center of the city, it yet has the shop in nostalgic quiet Kotobuki Building's 5th floor. All the books are selected by the owner, Jun Suzuki.
According to Suzuki, 'I only sale books that I actually want to sale since I do this business in a small scale alone by myself'. His collections varies from picture books to novels. He made it clear that 'books I wants to sale' means 'books that is not trying to suck up to the children'. He does not prefer books that tries to simplify the texts just to make it easy for children to read and understand. Rather, he chooses books that values the originality of the story so that if 100 people reads it, there could be 100 different ways of interpretation.
They had an event 'small parade', the second of its kind, here at MERRY-GO-ROUND Kyoto, the day before I visited. He invited authors of a book and families to enjoy various workshops. One of the participants, a mother with 2 children, came for shopping when I was there. They seriously started searching for books until finally they found their favorite.
MERRY-GO-ROUND Kyoto has a small gallery space. The artists do not need to make it childish, they can exhibit what they want to. This time was Kaori Kogashiwa exhibition titled Mitsukenaide (Don't find it). She had drawn charming fairies that hides between the trees and leaves.
Suzuki has published an essay to guide readers about picture books, 'Ehon to issho ni massugu massugu (Straight forward with picture books)', Anonima Studio. I asked him for a recommendation for mature women, and he picked 'Kuuki (Air)', Rironsha. It is a picture book of Michio Mado who has wrote many lyrics for children's songs. Lyrics on 'air' has a somewhat universal sense, but it being matched with picture gives some different looks, explains Suzuki. Abstract drawings with unique perception of air was a relaxing piece to read through.
Children often gets fascinated in choosing picture books, and gets overwhelmed with joy when they come across a great one. This shall be the same with adults, too. We can easily buy things now by clicking online, but an experience to go into an actual shop, have some chat with Suzuki and take time to look for interesting book shall be a valuable one. 'I want to do this business at least for 30 years, when a child that came with their parents becomes an adult and brings their children to this place' says Suzuki. Merry-go-round Kyoto hopes to support this wonderful picture book tradition carried down in each family.
ADDRESS: Kotobuki Building 5th floor, 251-2 Ichino-cho, Kawaramachi-dori Shijo Sagaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto