Akihito Shirakawa was an illustrator who supplied art for the Sesame Street pop-up book In and Out. As with many early Sesame pop-ups, Shirakawa didn't draw the established characters but did include fuzzy, Muppet-style characters interspersed with children and everyday people.

Shirakawa had been an art director with advertising agency Sapan Baer Plyer Lehman, Inc. He spent several years working at Random House, including design work for Andy Warhol's 1967 book Andy Warhol's Index. He worked on several pop-up titles including Bennett Cerf's Silliest Pop-Up Jokes and Riddles, both Who Popped Out? and The Pop-Up Book of Boats by Albert G. Miller, and Pop-Up Animal Alphabet Book by Christopher Cerf. Non–pop-up illustration work included Makato, the Smallest Boy: A Story of Japan and art for the Yes! English for Children and New Horizons in English textbook series.