Author of famous children's book, Momo-chan, dies

Miyoko Matsutani, an author of children's stories best known for "Chiisai Momo-chan" (Little Momo-chan), died of old age on Feb. 28, it was learned Monday. She was 89.

Born in Tokyo, Matsutani studied children's literature under Joji Tsubota after World War II. In 1951, she received an award from the Japan association of children's authors for her debut work "Kai ni Natta Kodomo" (A child that turned into a shellfish).

Matsutani also collected folktales and created a story in 1960 based on these activities. Titled "Tatsunoko Taro" (Taro the Dragon-Boy), it was selected for the Hans Chrisian Andersen Honor List two years later.

In 1964, Matsutani released "Chiisai Momo-chan," a story focusing on the growth of a young girl and her daily life, for which she was given the annual Noma award for children's literature.

Her six-volume "Momo-chan and Akane-chan" series became a major hit, selling a total of 6.2 million copies.

Matsutani wrote stories in a wide range of genres, from "Inai Inai Baa" for babies (1967) to "Futari no Ida" (Two Little Girls Called Ida; 1969), a story about the atomic bomb.