Anno Mitsumasa(born 20 March 1926) is a Japanese illustrator and writer of children's books, known best for picture books with few or no words. He received the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1984 for his "lasting contribution to children's literature.
Anno was born in 1926 in Tsuwano, a small town in Shimane Prefecture, Japan and grew up there. As a student at a regional high school, he studied art, drawing, and the writings of Hermann Hesse. During World War II, Anno was drafted into the Japanese army. After the war, Anno earned a degree from the Yamaguchi Teacher Training College in 1948. He taught mathematics for ten years in an elementary school in Tokyo before beginning a career illustrating children's books.
Anno is best known for wordless picture books featuring small, detailed figures. In the "Journey" books, a tiny character travels through a nation's landscape, densely populated with pictures referencing that country's art, literature, culture, and history. Anno's illustrations are often in pen and ink and watercolor, and occasionally incorporate collage and woodcuts. They are intricately detailed, showing a sense of humor as well as an interest in science, mathematics, and foreign cultures. They frequently incorporate subtle jokes and references. Anno's style has been compared to that of M. C. Escher. Although he is best known for his children's books, his paintings have earned recognition in his native Japan. In Tsuwano the Mitsumasa Anno Museum houses a collection of his works.
Anno Museum of Art - Art museum that specialises in Anno Mitsumasa, who was born in Tsuwano. There is also a planetarium, a reproduction of Anno's home studio space and an old 1930's style elementary school classroom.