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Organizers of exhibit elated by huge popularity of Bruna’s creation

Japanese under the spell of Miffy

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

OSAKA, Japan - An exhibit of designs by graphic artist and author Dick Bruna already has drawn one hundred thousand visitors to the Suntory Museum in Osaka, where it opened this past summer. Organizers had not even expected half that number. The exhibit will travel to seven other cities in Japan afterwards, and runs through September 2004.

Focal point of the exhibit is Utrecht-born Bruna’s creation ‘Nijntje,’ or ‘Miffy,’ as the rabbit in children’s tales and educational material internationally is known. Miffy especially is popular in Japan, where cartoon characters - such as Hello Kitty and Pokemon - draw a huge following.

The book covers, posters and other designs and ob-jects in the Osaka exhibit belong to the collection of the Central Museum in Bruna’s hometown of Utrecht. Only a small part of the collection remains at home at the moment. The Dutch museum is in the process of setting up a dedicated Bruna Museum. Proceeds from the Japan tour will help fund this new venue.

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Bruna (76) is the scion of an Utrecht publisher, known in the Netherlands for its extensive Black Bear paperback series begun in the early 1960s. Dick designed the logo of the series and many hundreds of the covers, in very stylized and simple lines, such as the famed detective series of The Shadow, written by Dutch author Havank.

Adding designs, posters for publishing houses, and children’s stories he wrote to his resume, Dick Bruna in the 1970s expanded into the educational field. He pioneered a new reading method which met with high acclaim worldwide.

The Osaka exhibit is the first-ever major retrospective of Bruna’s art abroad.