ICBA was founded over 30 years ago by Opal Dunn to support bilingual Japanese children through Bunko (mini-library). Find out more about us and our history.


History of ICBA History of ICBA

Dan Dan Bunko, the first voluntary English International Children’s Bunko, (mini-library) opened in 1977 in Tokyo for Japanese young bilingual children returning from a stay in English speaking countries with their family. The idea of International language Bunko was soon copied in French and German. This led in 1979 to the formation of International Children’s Bunko Association HQ in Tokyo. Today ICBA organises ICBunko world-wide.

Double children Double children

ICBunko reflect the changing needs of successor generations of young Japanese children growing up bilingual or as ‘double children’ with two identities and two languages. Through sharing and borrowing Japanese picture books and kamishibai (paper theatres) and enjoying related activities with other Japanese children and their parents, children unconsciously increase their own language ability. Through dialogues Bunko staff help bilingual children naturally acquire more of their weaker language and find out about Japanese culture.


ICBA (UK) organised by a Manager and Committee now runs around 30 Japanese Bunko for approximately 500 children, mainly aged 2- 9 years from about 350 families, throughout the UK. ICBunko (UK) focus on Japanese oral literacy and culture informally preparing children to enter more formal Japanese education at Saturday School.
ICBunko are organised by mothers with elected Bunko Leaders supported by Bunko children’s parents. Bunko staff are kept informed through regular Leaders’ Meetings, ICBA (HQ) Newsletters, Group Mail, and professional training lectures.

ICBunko world-wide ICBunko world-wide

ICBA is a nonprofit organization which supports Bunko activities to maintain a child’s second language and culture, through reading and enjoying, together with the children, high quality children’s books in a foreign language (or Japanese).
In 2012, there are 10 various Bunko in Japan (English, French, and Spanish), and world-wide over 50 Japanese Bunko in the UK, Australia, China, Germany, France, USA, Brazil, and Indonesia.
The first Japanese Bunko, Korisu Bunko, was established in London in 1983 after Mrs Dunn (the founder of the first Bunko in Tokyo and Honorary President of ICBA) returned to the UK after having lived in Japan for many years.