Shin's Tricycle

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Shin's Tricycle
Shins Tricycle.jpg
Shin's Tricycle by Tatsuharu Kodama
AuthorTatsuharu Kodama
TranslatorKazuko Hokumen-Jones
IllustratorNoriyuki Ando
CountryUnited States (Japan)
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherWalker & Company
Publication date
August 1995
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pages32 pp

Shin's Tricycle is a children's book by Tatsuharu Kodama (児玉辰春, Kodama Tatsuharu), first published in Japanese in 1992 as Shin-chan no-san rin sha (伸ちゃんのさんりんしゃ) and in its English translation in 1995. It relates the true story of Shinichi Tetsutani (鉄谷伸一, Tetsutani Shinichi) (Shin), a three-year-old boy who was killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945.


Kodama, himself a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima, narrates the story from the point of view of Shin's father, Nobuo Tetsutani (鉄谷信男, Tetsutani Nobuo). Shinichi is playing on his tricycle when the bomb is detonated. Nobuo finds the barely alive Shin still holding onto the tricycle's handlebars and trapped under the rubble of their destroyed home. Nobuo's efforts to save his son are in vain and Shin dies that evening. Nobuo buries Shin with his tricycle.

Forty years later, Nobuo exhumes Shin and his two sisters, who also died in the bombing, in order to give them a proper burial at a cemetery. While digging everything up, a pipe was found, believed to be a part of the tricycle Shinichi had owned. Not long after, they found skeletal remains of two human hands; the remains were identified as Shinichi and his local friend, Kimiko, who had died together with him, holding his hand. Nobuo donated the tricycle to the Hiroshima Peace Museum, where it is currently on display.


On publication, the author's refusal to cushion the horror of the story of Shin's Tricycle was noted by several reviewers, some stating that the book's graphic content was inappropriate for its intended readers (aged 7 to 10).[1][2] The book has subsequently been praised for its powerful treatment of the subject matter.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Shin's Tricycle (review)", Publishers Weekly, July 31, 1995, retrieved April 23, 2012
  2. ^ "Shin's Tricycle (review)", The New Yorker, November 27, 1995
  3. ^ Bainbridge, Joyce; Pantaleo, Sylvia (1999), Learning with Literature in the Canadian Elementary Classroom, Edmonton: University of Alberta Press
  4. ^ Lehman, Barbara (2010), Reading Globally, K-8; Connecting Students to the World Through Literature., Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin

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