Sunny Seki

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Sunny Seki (born 1947) is a Japanese American professional author and international award-winning photographer based in Los Angeles, California. He was raised in Tokyo, Japan, before moving to the United States at age 24. He received his bachelor's degree in Photography from the Nihon University and also attended Kuwasawa Academy of Design, and Pasadena's Art Center College of Design. He holds a Black Belt in the Japanese Martial Art of Aikido.[1]

Seki is a teacher and writer of Japanese poetry called Senryu, and his poems are often featured in the Japanese newspaper called The Rafu Shimpo.[2] In 2007 he wrote Gardeners' Pioneer Story, a compilation of gardeners' poems and historical commentary,[3] and this work was recognized and honored by the Southern California Gardeners Association [4] From 1979 to 2006 he owned his own photography studio in Rosemead, California. Called "Sunny Seki Photography," it specialized in portraits, weddings, and restoring old photographs. Seki is a former member of the Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry, where he learned to retell Japanese folktales in the form of shadow puppetry.[5] His shadow puppetry has been featured on the Disney Channel show called "What a Life!"[6] Sunny has also been introduced on Japanese television programs.

Seki is also an author and illustrator of cross-cultural bilingual children's books, with a focus on Japanese Folktales. In 2007 his first book, The Tale of the Lucky Cat, was published by East West Discovery Press. This book received two distinct awards: The "NAPPA Honors" National Parenting Publications Honor Award Award in 2007,[7] and in 2009 the Creative Child Magazine "Preferred Choice" Award. This book is published in 8 bilingual editions: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hmong, Tagalog, Spanish and Vietnamese.[8] In 2010, his second book, The Last Kappa of Old Japan, A Magical Journey of Two Friends was published by Tuttle Publishing.[9] In 2016 a second edition of this book was released with a new cover and bilingual format. This book is part of the environmental children's collection in the Huntington Library in San Marino.[10] Sunny's books are also included in the collections of Japan National Diet Library and the Japanese American National Library.

Seki's third book, Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll" was released in February 2012, and it is a story about The Adventures of a Blind Japanese Girl Who Saves Her Village. This book is bilingual, printed with both Japanese and English text. Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll has been the recipient of two major awards. The first is the "2012 Book of the Year" award for storybooks on learning foreign cultures, sponsored by Creative Child Magazine,[11] a national bi-monthly publication that provides parents with the latest information on how to nurture their children’s creativity. The second honor came from PaperTigers, a website specializing in multicultural books for young readers. Seki’s book was chosen for the "2012 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set", which sends a set of four books to schools and libraries around the world. In 2016 Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll was presented in a choreographed production by Valley Dance Ensemble in Logan, Utah. Also in 2016, this book was chosen by Early Childhood Education Degrees[12] as one of the 50 Best Books on Special Education. It was also named by Perkins School for the Blind as one of the 25+ Children's Books Featuring Visually Impaired Characters.[13]

Sunny's fourth children's book is titled The Little Kokeshi Doll from Fukushima. This book was self-published and released in July 2015. It features Kana-chan, a brave, clever girl who works at a hot springs in Fukushima. One day her village is struck by a huge earthquake, and because of the heroism of Kana-chan, the kokeshi doll is born. Written in bilingual English and Japanese, it is a beautiful story of the harmony of people nature, traditional craftsmanship, and survival.[14]

Seki has appeared at many events to sign his books throughout California, Arizona, Utah, and also in New York City, at such locations as The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Kinokuniya Bookstore, the Arizona Matsuri Festival, and the Japanese-American Museum in Los Angeles.[15]


  1. ^ "Sunny Seki's Website Biography". 
  2. ^ The Rafu Shimpo Retrieved 2016-09-13.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Sunny Seki Retrieved 2016-09-13.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Southern California Gardeners Federation Retrieved 2016-09-13.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Sunny Seki's Biography". 
  6. ^ "YouTube Disney show called "What a Life" featuring Sunny Seki". 
  7. ^ "NAPPA Honors Award". 
  8. ^ "East West Discovery Press". 
  9. ^ "Tuttle Publishing: The Last Kappa of Old Japan". 
  10. ^ The Huntington Retrieved 2016-09-13.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Creative Child Magazine Honors noted in Rafu Shimpo". 
  12. ^ Early Childhood Education Degrees Retrieved 2016-09-13.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Perkins School for the Blind Retrieved 2016-09-13.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Sunny Seki's Book Signings". 

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