Joh's Picture Book Project

The Circus Fire

Joh Sasaki, winner of the 2009 Naoki Award, releases an unpublished poem as an e-book for the

Sasaki received the 142nd Naoki Award in January 2010, for his novel Silent Devastation (Haikyo-ni-kou). He is well-known for his police stories and historical novels. He has been creating these in Hokkaido, where he was born. The Circus Fire is his only poem for children. Written a few years ago, it had remained unpublished. Miho Sasaki, an illustrator who is active in Hokkaido, has illustrated this poem, and La Zone, a Hokkaido-based bal-musette band has provided original music. The poem was convented to iPad/iPhone format and released from Hokkaido to the world.

Message from the author

The Circus Fire was inspired by a personal experience. I'm sure that many people from Sapporo who are older than I am remember the fire. It happened in June 1959. The circus caught fire during the Sapporo Festival. I was right outside the burning tent, and I saw it all. After writing the poem, I thought it might be more for adults than for kids. I'm delighted it's become an attractive picture book for the iPad/iPhone. It's far beyond what I could've expected. I'm looking forward to responses from the every corner of the world.

For iPad The Circus Fire - Hokkaido Arbeit Johosha Co.,Ltd. Now free at the App Store! New versions have been released in Korean, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese.

For iPhone サーカスが燃えた for iPhone - Hokkaido Arbeit Johosha Co.,Ltd. Now free at the App Store! Japanese and English versions -- Now free

[About the author]

Written by Joh Sasaki

Sasaki spent his youth in Sapporo. Raised in Sapporo, he is a popular novelist in Japan and the winner of the 142nd Naoki Award (the highest honor for an author of popular fiction in Japan). After working as a copy writer at an ad agency in Sapporo, he changed careers to do in-house sales and promotions at an auto manufacturer. His debut novel earned him the new novelist award from the All Yomimono literary magazine published by Bungeishunju Ltd., one of the largest publishers in Japan. Although many of his early works were categorized as mysteries, he later expanded into historical fiction, non-fiction and other genres. He has published more than 50 novels and articles, some of which have been awarded literary prizes. For example: the Yamamoto Shugoro Award, the Nitta Jiro Literary Award and the Mystery Writers of Japan Award. Many of his works have been adapted to TV, the cinema and the theater, including Iron Warriors in Flight, An Urgent Telegram from Etorofu (Yamamoto Shugoro Award), The Laughing Policeman, The Policeman’s Lineage and Tales of the Goryokaku Fort Survivors. The winner of the 142nd Naoki Award (2009).
He is a member of the Japanese Center of International PEN and the Mystery Writers of Japan.
He is a visiting professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture.

Illustrated by Miho Sasaki

Miho Sasaki was born in Kitami, a city in eastern Hokkaido. She lives in Sapporo. After working at a design firm for several years, she became a freelance illustrator in 1997. She illustrates for many media in Hokkaido, creating art for newspaper ads, magazines, posters, leaflets and TV commercials.
Her major works include the character that represents Geo Communications, posters and leaflets of the My Rail Club of Japan Railway Hokkaido, and the poster for the 54th Sapporo Snow Festival.
She is a member of the Hokkaido Illustrators' Club α, Sapporo ADC and JAGDA.

Special thanks


  • Joh's Picture Book Project

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