Ai Tatebayashi, the artist and author of A Good Life in Hell, first learned about Sumiteru Taniguchi from a Japanese TV show. She quickly realized that most people, especially younger Japanese adults like her, knew nothing of the everyday suffering of atomic bomb survivors.
Sumiteru’s words drove her to initiate this project:
“I am not afraid of death. But I am afraid of oblivion. Oblivion of the fear of the atomic bomb.”
Ai met with Sumiteru Taniguchi and his wife Eiko several times, both in New York and in Nagasaki. She recorded stories of their past and observed their daily life.
Creating striking original illustrations—some luminous and beautiful, others dark and bleak—Ai depicted scenes inspired by the couple’s long journey together with richness and depth. She enlisted Justin Neely as co-writer to collaborate on story development and research, as well as to capture her ideas and her voice in written English with nuance and precision.
A Good Life in Hell is currently available for purchase online at www.agoodlifeinhell.com, Lulu.com, and Amazon.com. A Japanese translation published in July 2016 as「生きてるかぎり語り続ける」by Shufunotomo Co. (www.shufunotomo.co.jp) is currently available only in Japan.
ABOUT AI TATEBAYASHI
I am from the city called Yokohama, Japan. Since Yokohama developed as a major seaport, Western style quickly spread and was embraced by Japanese culture. I grew up influenced by the modern western environment, enjoying looking at Norman Rockwell’s posters, illustrated American pin up girls, and so on, which stimulated my interests in American culture. After working at an advertising agency in Japan, I came to New York City for an intensive study of illustration. At the School of Visual Arts, I developed my linear drawing style and sense of color. People’s feelings or characters are important for my work. I love observing people and drawing them with my unique view and sense of humor. In Japan, my major was French literature in Rikkyo university. I still love to read. This reading leads me to continue to explore different cultures and worlds. In turn, this helps me to introduce the views of others through my illustration. â€_Ai