Betty Jean Lifton discovered a passion for Japanese culture and folklore while living in Japan with her husband, the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, in the early 1960s. Out of that interest came many children’s books, including Kap the Kappa, Joji and the Dragon, The Rice-cake Rabbit, and The Dwarf Pine Tree. After the publication of Taka-chan and I, Lifton and Eikoh Hosoe collaborated on three more books: A Dog’s Guide to Tokyo, A Place Called Hiroshima, and Return to Hiroshima. In 1975 she published Twice Born: Memoirs of an Adopted Daughter, which marked the start of her second career as an adoption writer, counselor, and adoptee-rights advocate. She died in 2010, after many years living in New York City, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Wellfleet, Cape Cod.
Runcible the Weimeraner digs a hole from Cape Cod to Japan, where he discovers Taka-chan, a little girl imprisoned by a sea dragon. Runcible will do anything to free his new friend the two head to Toyko, there to answer the dragon’s challenge to find the most loyal creature in all the land.