COVER TEXT ILLUSTRATION

@@Dendenmushi no Keiba is a collection of serial short stories by Andô Mikio (1930-90). It is his representative work, consisting of eight stories including gTejinashi no Niwah [Conjurerfs Garden]. It received many awards including the Japanese Association of Writers for Children Prize, the Noma Award for Juvenile Literature, the Akai Tori Literature Award, and the Sankei Award for Childrenfs Books and Publications.
@@According to Andô who was a scholar of Italian childrenfs literature, Italian fantasy fictions sprang from poverty. He was critical against the Japanese tendency to think much only of the British fantasy stories for children based on the middle class.
@@The story is set in the back-streets of wartime Kyoto where Andô lived when he was young. Main characters are children living in the back-streets, each nicknamed Choko, Hage, Kin, Debeso, and so on. Living in poverty and subject to prejudice, they live energetically while keeping a dream. In gTejinashi no Niwa,h Hage and Choko assist a thief believing that he will produce a rain of sweets. In gHoshi e Itta Kishah [Train Bound for the Star] Debeso and Kin believe that a train will take them to the first star of evening. In gHorafuki Rî-yanh [Rî-yan the Boaster], Rî-yanfs dream is to swim in a big river like the Milky Way. In gKaiko Torih [Capturing Silkworm] Hage wants to have a waste thread of silk to make a device for catching a dragonfly. He tries to find a silkworm believing that it is a kind of worm living in the grove with a spiderfs head and bagworm body.
@@Dendenmushi no Keiba was evaluated as a work describing ordinary childrenfs life as well as social problems. It was also pointed out that kindness and emotions of discriminated people are sincerely represented in the story. Emphasis on children and the lowest class became the tendency of 1970s literature.