Okinawa Tourism Information:PicturebookartistSavaillustratesOkinawa

Picture book artist Sava illustrates Okinawa

post : 2015.04.22 19:00

“Pontonpun’s Star Collecting Stories – Edition of islands of Uruma City”

The picture books are illustrated in a colorful, powerful and gentle way.  Folk tales which has been told on islands of Uruma City is added with fantasy elements so that even children can understand easily. 

The picture books are created by a picture book artist Sava-san, who lives in Okinawa.

Sava-san is from Chiba Prefecture and moved to Okinawa to go to a university in Okinawa.  When she studied art at the university, she opened her eyes to the fun of drawing pictures.  Sava-san said, “When I illustrate a picture book for the first time, I thought “This is super fun!””  As I have lived in Okinawa, I have been getting along with people in the town and writing and illustrating stories hidden in their lives in picture books and illustrations. 

Picture-card show / From “Today is Yukka-nu-hii.” Adults cheering for the haarii dragon boat race

This illustration is one of the cards for picture-story show, telling about an Okinawan traditional event.  “Yukka-nu-hii” was held on May 4 of the lunar calendar.  On this day, adults held and cheered for haarii dragon boat race while children got a toy which their parents bought for them once a year.  Sava-san interviewed an elderly lady who experienced “Yukka-nu-hii” and wrote and illustrated haarii which had been held before the battle of Okinawa, Ryukyu toy fairs, kids in those days treasuring only one toy for playing, hoping that children nowadays understand the story clearly.  

Picture-card show / San-chan’s Hamauri                  The image is provided by Sava

Another story of picture-card show “San-chan’s Hamauri,” telling about a traditional event, teaches you about the traditional event called “Hamauri,” which is held on March 3 of the lunar calendar, in the conversation between a child in modern times and her grandmother.  Hamauri is held for mainly ladies to soak their hands and feet in water to cleanse their body and soul and pray.  After that, they enjoy digging clams.  

Stars falling on the house

Sava-san told me how to choose topics for stories.

“What is common to all the topics whether it is about Okinawa or not is “Something that is considered to be taken completely for granted because it is so near to us that it becomes quite invisible.  It may be a sense of “emotional attachment.”  For example, when I see a grandmother making miso, I would like to express the grandmother’s “love” of “thinking of people who eat her miso while making it.””

Since topics I choose is taken for granted, I am afraid that they will be “weathered” and be gone if we just leave them.  I use a topic to write it as if it were fiction, and illustrate it like a tale of a far fantasy land.  You might wonder why I do this.  I would like to let many people know about such fantastic things, people and region, so I make it into picture stories from my viewpoint.”

Eon (Illustration and Music)

“Eon (Illustration and Music),” which Sava-san put music to her picture books, is one of her expression methods.  When you read a picture book to music, it creates a stereoscopic effect to broaden the world of the picture book. 

BGM for Wonder Museum at “Okinawa Zoo & Museum” is created by Sava-san, so please check it when you visit the place.♪

“Pontonpun’s Star Collecting Stories – Koza Crossing Paint Wall 

The image is provided by Sava

Sava-san’s “Pontonpun’s Star Collecting Stories” is my strong recommendation.  The story starts with a delightful rhythm “Pon Poto Pon Pon Pon,” and two fairies look for and collect twinkling stars (charms) hidden in Okinawa.     

In addition, Sava-san provides a welcome board and illustration design in a semi-custom manner.  If you order a welcome board with design full of Okinawan atmosphere, you will attract lots of attention at a wedding ceremony, a party, etc. 

Okinawan Mobile / Life of Blue Cat

Sava-san’s style is to feel the possibility of picture books and not to be obsessed with the notion of picture books.  I felt “love” in every work produced by Sava-san, including stories using Okinawa-related topics and ones with other topics.  Just taking a look at her illustration makes you feel relaxed, and reading her words brings you into the world of picture books.

Picture book artist Sava

You can find her books at
Hotel Yugafuin Okinawa

Address: 453-1Miyazato, Nago City, Okinawa 
TEL: 0980-53-0031 

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer  Akari Matsumura