Shogakukan’s studying children leap out of their logo and find an endless fantasy world waiting for them. Get reading, kids!

Shogakukan is one of Japan’s most well-known publishers – Westerners might know them as the one of the owners of Viz Media, one of the most ubiquitous publishers of manga in the United States. The publishing company is responsible for distributing more than just comics, however: they handle digital media, textbooks and dictionaries, as well as regular non-illustrated fiction and non-fiction.

The company has a very striking logo in Japan that most will recognize from their childhood: two children sat at a desk, the girl writing, the boy with his nose buried in a book.

▼ A photo-op recreation of the Shogakukan logo set up in Jimbocho, Tokyo

In a newspaper spread advertising the company, the ever-studious boy and girl from the logo get to take a break outside the logo. The beautiful illustration spreads across the page and comes with the title “Get reading, first-graders!”

In the spread, the usually sedentary children are setting out in opposite directions, tempted by the sights of sports and space and spirits, of dinosaurs and dungeons, robots and rebels, underwater castles and underground caverns. These gorgeous images are also picked out in the same silhouettes as the children, so it really feels like they’ve ventured into these worlds, aided only by the power of their imaginations.

The “first-years” from the title refers to first grade in elementary school. The text beneath the art reads:

“Once you become a first grader, you can read words. Once you become a first grader, you can read books. Books are amazing, you know. With every page you turn, BAM! Your world gets wider, just like that! Cheerful encounters and exciting sights are waiting there for you. You can do anything, go anywhere. You can meet anybody and become whatever you like. Ahhh, my heart can’t stop racing!

So here we are in 2018. Shogakukan has packed all sorts of fantastic things into studying materials, ready to pique the interests of curious children, and they’re just waiting for new students to get stuck in!”

What a beautiful bit of writing about the joys of reading! But hang on a second – 2018? We’re more than a month into 2019. What gives?

Well, actually this ad campaign was launched last year, accompanied by a super-cool promotional shadow animation video.

▼ Lotte Reiniger eat your heart out!

The reason it’s getting press again is because on January 30 of 2019 the spread won the silver medal prize for the Yomiuri Shimbun Published Advertisement Award. This has resulted in the ad being re-printed and sparking the creativity of a whole new year of students and ex-students alike!

▼ Shogakukan’s official Twitter posts its award

The nominating judge, Professor Kaoru Kitamura, praised the piece by saying “this piece says “books are amazing” with a power unlike anything else.”

What are you waiting for? Get out there and get reading! Why not take a trip down to your nearest book store (or library) and fall in love with a new world? There’s no rule that says you have to be a first-grader to enjoy a good book!

Source: Japaaan Magazine
Featured image: Twitter/@sho1hen