| Aoi Hane no Omoide is a story made up with fantastic elements such as wings, a rainbow, flowers, and stars.|
An old man loses his daughter in an accident, but he says that she has married with a man with wings. Nobody but "I," who had heard the story told by a girl, Minami, believes his words. Minami is in a seaside village to cure her asthma. On a day with a south wind, Aoba family moves to a house next to Minami's. They make their living by making magic with birds or flying in the air. Aoba Ichirô, the youngest son, comes into the class of Higashi, Minami's elder brother. Ichirô is bullied and becomes mentally ill, whom Minami cures. When Minami becomes ill, Higashi and Ichirô go to get sweets in the sky (sora no okashi), and save her life. Minami and Higashi have many unbelievable experiences with Ichirô. One year later, when Ichirô becomes ten years old, he gets wings on his back. The Aoba family leaves the village on the wind, as they came there. Higashi cries, but Minami believes that she will see them again. When Minami grows up, she marries a man with blue wings, and leaves for somewhere.
Mimani is young and light, so she can be on the stage of the Aoba family's performance. She is "closer to Aoba family" than Higashi and "has soft and loose mind" so that she can believe extraordinary experiences without doubt. In this story, a small body and infancy are the keys to be with supernatural things. Minami with an "innocent" mind can stay with Ichirô, while Higashi, an outsider, should part with him. As the idea of childlike mind as a condition to live in another world, there can be seen many influences from other works of both Japanese and foreign fantasy. When Aoi Hane no Omoide appeared, the main stream of Japanese children's literature was realistic stories. Therefore, this book was criticized that it did not reflect the problems that children have in the real world, while another pointed out its uniqueness. This book should be reread in the context of fantasy or literary fairy tales, not as a realistic story.
Aoi Hane no Omoide belongs to Bookshelf of Märchen series by Rironsha. At that time, Rironsha did not publish books for young children. Authors suggested this series and offered original stories. Illustrations are by Watanabe Tôichi, husband of Tachihara Erika (1935 -). Illustrations with a soft line and clear colors go well with the story. It was published as one of the Kadokawa Pocket Book series in 1975.