Vale Marianne Yamaguchi 1936 – 2015


Margaret Hamilton remembers Marianne Yamaguchi…

Marianne Illenberger Yamaguchi was born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio in 1936. She received a B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design and later worked as a high school art teacher in Australia where she came to live in 1973 with her family. Since her husband Tohr’s death she has lived in Tokyo, Japan.

Marianne worked on the illustrations of several books for Angus & Robertson, particularly those written by Eric Rolls. She then illustrated a number of significant Australian children’s books, which include:

SADAKO AND THE THOUSAND PAPER CRANES, written by Eleanor Coerr (Hodder & Stoughton Australia, 1981)

6-miracle treeTHE MIRACLE TREE, written by Christobel Mattingley (Hodder & Stoughton Australia, 1985)

THE PLUM-RAIN SCROLL, PEONY LANTERN and DRAGON STONE, written by Ruth Manley (Hodder & Stoughton Australia, 1979 – 1987)

NANANGKA, written by Yvonne Winer (Margaret Hamilton Books, 1998).

I had the pleasure of working on all of these books with Marianne. She was a highly professional and talented illustrator. She was also very generous, supporting other illustrators. In 2010 she purchased an original illustration by John Winch from his book FLY KITE FLY and donated it to the Eric Carle Museum. I am honoured that I have original artwork by Marianne in my collection at Pinerolo, these from SADAKO & THE THOUSAND PAPER CRANES, THE MIRACLE TREE and NANANGKA.nananka

Marianne died, on 30 May, with a copy of THE MIRACLE TREE on her bedside table in hospital.

Margaret Hamilton AM


  1. Dear Margaret:

    I was wondering where Marianne might be – googled her name – and found your own warm tribute to her illustrative genius and person. I have several letters received from her during the 1996-1997 period – I think the introduction was via Mary Rose LIVERANI (The Winter Sparrows/essays). Though I once met Ruth MANLEY’s widower Bill in south-east Brisbane via writer/editor friend Barbara Ker Wilson. I lived most of the period the 1990s and 2000s teaching in western Japan. Christabel MATTINGLEY once sat in on a presentation I gave at the AATE Conference in Adelaide – 1984. I was speaking about using literature reflective of our society’s cultural diversity in our classrooms – mirrors for us all. And of course Eleanor COERR’s re-telling of the story of Sadako was important – both here in Australia as I was teaching Japanese – but also because I lived in far western Japan – just an hour-and-a-half further west from Hiroshima-city – lots of people I knew whose families had suffered when that bomb was dropped – and in fact I once spoke by ‘phone with Sayako’s brother – who lived/lives in Fukuoka-city. Again, thank-you…

  2. Hi friends of Marianne Yamaguchi , I am Robert Tay and I live in Singapore . In 1978 to 1980 I was studying for my MBA at the University of New South Wales and was a student of Prof John Tohr Yamaguchi ( Marianne’s Husband) who was my revered mentor in the MBA program with Dr Stan Glaser. Prof Yamaguchi and Marianne were staying at Cremone Point in Sydney and I was invited to their home on an occasion for a tea ceremony . I do not have any photos of Prof John Tohr Yamaguchi and Marianne and would appreciate if any of you have some old photos of them and make me a copy and send to my email at
    I would appreciate that very much.
    I also discovered that Prof Yamaguchi wrote a children’s book titled Golden Crane and Marianne did the illustrations .
    Thank you all
    Robert Tay

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