A girl dressed up in her finest clothes sits primly, looking straight ahead with her hands in her lap. This illustration is well known in Japan as the cover of the book Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window, the memoir of Japanese television personality and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, which highlights her school life while attending Tomoe Gakuen, a unique elementary school in Tokyo.
Totto-chan was originally published as a series of magazine articles over a two-year period beginning in 1979. During that time, Kuroyanagi visited the Chihiro Art Museum every month to choose from among Chihiro’s illustrations those that matched the episodes she wrote about. Selling more than 7.6 million copies, it became Japan’s best-selling book after World War II. Today, available in translation in some 35 countries, it is loved by people from all over the world.