Atsuko Otuka – Author, writer/photographer –

Born in Wakayama City, Japan, 1960
Majored in English at Sophia University in Tokyo
Became a freelance photojournalist in 1986
Changed her focus onto non-fiction book writing since 1992
Has been working as a program consultant at Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Program Center since 2005, and has served on several committees for the Ministry of Justice

Places and Subjects Coverd.

1986 – 1987

Communist insurgency in the Philippines

1988 – 1990

Palestinian Uprising in West Bank and Gaza


Destruction of tropical rain forest in Malaysia
Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, China

1990 – 1991

Gulf War


Kurdish Refugees in Northern Iraq


Riots in Los Angeles


Hanshin Great Earthquake

1992 – 2001

Women with HIV/AIDS

1996 – 1998

Service Dog Training Program at the Washington Corrections Center for Women

1997 – 1998

Final year of an elderly woman

2000 – 2002

Dolphin assisted therapy for children
Organic farming program at the San Francisco County Jail

2000 – present

Healing gardens at medical facilities, Service dog training program at the juvenile facility in California, Art in health care


The work of child-life specialists in Miami Chidren’s Hospital
Green Chimneys, NY, a treatment facility that applies the power of nature into healing of emotionally injured children


Community Garden Project aiming at building peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Research on Community Gardens and City Farms in London, UK

2007 – 2008

Mine detection dog training in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Research on innovative US programs aimed at helping youth at risk
Animal Assisted Therapy/Activities at pediatric ward of a hospital in Japan

2009 – 2012

Demining effort in Cambodia with mine detection dogs, Service dog training program at a juvenile facility in California, Therapeutic farm for abused children in California

2013 – 2014

Community gardens for social inclusion and horticultural therapy at a jail in NY
Dog training program at a Japanese juvenile facility

2015 –

Sustainability in Prisons Project in Washington State.; a private-government initiative to bring science, environmental education and nature into prisons

Books Published

Photographic books

-Harp Seal Pups I & II, (NESCO, 1990 & 1992)

Photo essay

-Gift of Life, (Iwanami Shoten, 1997)
-Lessons in Saying Goodbye, (Kodansha,2003)

Children’s books

-Service Dog Tasha, (Shogakukan INC, 1999)
-Goodbye, Grandma Erma, (Shogakukan INC, 2000)
-Thank you, Fonzie, (Shogakukan INC, 2002)
-Planting Seeds of Peace, (Iwasaki Publishing Co.,Ltd., 2006)
-Let’s Play, Fendi (Shogakukan INC, 2007)
-Mine Detection Dogs (Kodansha Ltd., Publishers, 2009)
-Dogs Come to My Hospital (Iwasaki Publishing Co., Ltd., 2009)
-Mine Detection Dogs at Work (Kodansha Ltd., Publishers, 2011)
-Girls who Raise Service Dogs – Dog Program That Opens Hardened Heart
(Kodansha Ltd., Publishers, 2012)
-Kitty遯カ蜀ア Journey from Fukushima(Shogakukan INC, 2012)
-I want to be gentle – Stories of Children at Forget Me Not Farm(Iwasaki Publishing Co., Ltd., 2012)


-Dogs Gave Me the Strength to Live, (Iwanami Shoten, 1999)
-A Garden That Grows People, (Iwanami Shoten, 2002)
-This is the Happiest Time in my Life,(shogakukan INC, 2004)
-Letting Go and Simplifying Your Life, (Iwanami Shoten Publisiers, 2005)
-When Injured Birds Fly – Stories of Children at Green Chimneys,
(Iwasaki Publishing Co., Ltd., 2005)
-Raising Guide Dog Puppies in Prison (Iwanami Shoten Publishers, 2015)
-Dogs and Cats Gave Me the Strength to Live (Iwanami Shoten Publishers, 2016)
-Children with Cancer Who Taught Me about Life (Kadokawa Publishing Co,2016)


Taiyo Award for Photography, second place, for a photo essay on a woman living with HIV/AIDS, 1998

Kodansha Award for the Best Children’s Book of the Year, for Goodbye, Grandma Erma, 2001

Shogakukan Award for Best Children’s Book of the Year, for Goodbye, Grandma Erma, 2001

Kenbuchi Children’s Book Award, for Goodbye, Grandma Erma, 2001

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