Taro Yashima is the pen name of Atsushi Iwamatsu, who was born in 1902 in southern Japan and studied art at the Imperial Art Academy in Tokyo. Iwamatsu began his career as a cartoonist before leaving Japan and becoming a refuge in the United States due to his imprisonment for opposition to Japan's militarization in the lead up and early years of World War II. His first book, The New Sun
, was a 310-page autobiographical picture book for adults about pre-war life in Japan. After the war ended, Yashima began writing and illustrating picture books for children: Seashore Story
, Crow Boy
would become Caldecott Honor Books.