Children's Picture Book Publisher is Sick of Controversy Around 'Moe' Art Style
posted on by Kim Morrissy
On October 30, an informational program called "Sukkiri" aired a debate around children's picture books and the "moe" art style.
"Moe" is a Japanese slang word that refers to characters that evoke a strong feeling of cuteness and desire to protect the character. The word is often associated with otaku media. Although the word is thought to have originated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it found prominence in the early-to-mid 2000s.
One of the books introduced on the program was the Sekai Mesaku Anime Ehon (lit. "World Masterpiece Anime Picture books") series published by Kawade Shobo. The books tell classic fairytales from both Europe and Japan with anime-inspired illustrations. One of the most prominent illustrators is Futago Kamitani, a pair of siblings that is best known for drawing the Precure manga adaptations.
One of the topics of the debate was whether the so-called "moe" art style, which is widely perceived to appeal to an adult audience, should be marketed towards children. A week after the program aired, Kawade Shobo's Twitter account shared what appears to be the company's stance on the issue.
"The debate around moe picture books has inspired much talk, but we never told the artists of the Sekai Mesaku Anime Ehon books to draw moe pictures. We told them, 'Draw things that will make the children themselves delighted.' Because of that, they were confused when they were questioned, 'Why do you draw moe picture books?' Even when the editors explained things multiple times, an understanding was not reached. We've been racking our brains about this."
The tweet picked up over 23,000 retweets within a day.
Kawade Shobo's Twitter account further elaborated in a follow-up tweet: "Even if it were true that our picture books were drawn to be 'moe,' that wouldn't stop them from being fantastic picture books that succeed in making children happy."