Contemporary Japanese Writers

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Contemporary Japanese Writers

Contemporary Japanese Writers is a three-volume series that was compiled and published by the Japanese Literature Publishing and Promotion Center (J-Lit Center) between 2007 and 2009. Intended to help bring new Japanese writers and their works to the attention of overseas audiences, each volume introduces 50 authors with brief biographical profiles and synopses of three of their most important works. The 150 featured authors—all but a few still living and actively writing—were selected from the far greater pool of available candidates based on the literary awards they had received and their extensive backlists of titles as yet unknown outside Japan. Authors already familiar to readers abroad—the Nobel laureates Yasunari Kawabata and Kenzaburo Oe, and the much-translated Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto, for example—were intentionally excluded. The resulting lineup represents the brightest stars of contemporary Japanese literature who, though not yet widely recognized beyond our borders, appear regularly on bestseller lists and garner the greatest attention from reviewers in Japan. The volumes have been well received at book fairs around the world.

70 results for Category: Contemporary Japanese Writers
  • Kazushige Abe*

    Kazushige Abe* 阿部和重

    Kazushige Abe (1968–) became fascinated with movies from a young age. This passion led him to drop out of high school and head for Tokyo, where he enrolled in the Japan Academy of … Details

  • Jirō Akagawa*

    Jirō Akagawa* 赤川次郎

    Jirō Akagawa (1948–) is a master of the humorous mystery. He first won recognition in 1976 when his Yūrei ressha (Ghost Train) was awarded the All Yomimono Mystery Prize for New Writers. Since … Details

  • Takashi Atoda*

    Takashi Atoda* 阿刀田高

    Takashi Atōda (1935–) fell in love with science as a child, sparking a lifelong interest that has influenced the novels he has written.Atōda majored in French literature at Waseda University and aspired to … Details

  • Yukito Ayatsuji*

    Yukito Ayatsuji* 綾辻行人

    Yukito Ayatsuji (1960–) is a popular mystery writer whose works are considered orthodox for their tricky and logically airtight solutions. He polished his technique as a member of Kyoto University’s Mystery Fiction Study … Details

  • Masako Bandō*

    Masako Bandō* 坂東眞砂子

    Masako Bandō (1958–2014) is the author most prominently associated with Japanesque horror—colloquially referred to as “J-horror”—which draws from the grotesque and ghostly in Japanese folklore. Bandō recasts old customs, traditions, and folklore into … Details

  • Shizuo Fujieda*

    Shizuo Fujieda* 藤枝静男

    Shizuo Fujieda (1908–1993) was an ophthalmologist by day who wrote in his spare time. His debut as an author came at the relatively late age of 39, when he published a short story … Details

  • Chiya Fujino*

    Chiya Fujino* 藤野千夜

    Chiya Fujino (1962–) writes with precision and delicacy about the subtle, wavering emotions of the human heart. After graduating from college, she worked at a publishing house as editor of a comic magazine before … Details

  • Shu Fujisawa*

    Shu Fujisawa* 藤沢周

    Shū Fujisawa ( (1959–) ), winner of the 1998 Akutagawa Prize for Buenosu Airesu gozen reiji (Midnight in Buenos Aires), has perhaps the most acute sensual perception of any Japanese author of his generation. The … Details

  • Shuhei Fujisawa*

    Shuhei Fujisawa* 藤沢周平

    Shūhei Fujisawa (1927–1997) grew up in the Shonai region of Yamagata in northeastern Japan, a locale that has had a great influence on his writing. An avid reader of novels since he was … Details

  • Hosei Hahakigi*

    Hosei Hahakigi* 帚木蓬生

    Hosei Hahakigi, whose surname is taken from the title of a chapter ("The Broom-Tree") in The Tale of Genji, is a renowned psychiatrist. Although he necessarily does his writing on the side, he is prolific … Details

  • Mangetsu Hanamura*

    Mangetsu Hanamura (1955–) portrays sex, violence, and religion with fierce intensity. After graduating from middle school, he rode around the country on a motorcycle, supporting himself with various jobs until 1989 when he … Details

  • Seishu Hase*

    Seishu Hase* 馳星周

    Seishū Hase ( (1965–) ) is one of Japan's leading crime novelists. He insists he puts his life on the line for noir, and is never without praise for James Elroy, the American pioneer of … Details

  • Mariko Hayashi*

    Mariko Hayashi* 林真理子

    Mariko Hayashi ( (1954–) ) graduated from the Fine Arts Department of the College of Art at Nihon University and worked as a copywriter before beginning her literary activities. Her essay collection Runrun o katte … Details

  • Keizo Hino*

    Keizo Hino* 日野啓三

    Keizō Hino (1929–2002) often turned a reflective eye on his own life through both his novels and his essays. Two experiences had a particularly formative influence on his development as a writer. The … Details

  • Yumie Hiraiwa*

    Yumie Hiraiwa* 平岩弓枝

    Yumie Hiraiwa (1932–) was born in Tokyo as the only child of the high priest of Yoyogi Hachiman Shrine and studied Japanese literature at Japan Women’s University. At the suggestion of her mentor … Details

  • Kazushi Hosaka*

    Kazushi Hosaka* 保坂和志

    Kazushi Hosaka (1956–) is the standard-bearer of a group of writers in the generation after postwar baby boomers like Haruki Murakami. This unstructured group might be called the "nothing much happens" school and … Details

  • Shin'ichi Hoshi*

    Shin'ichi Hoshi (1926–97) was born in Tokyo. His grandfather was an anatomist, and his father founded Hoshi Pharmacological University and the pharmaceutical company Hoshi Seiyaku. Hoshi graduated from the University of Tokyo with a degree … Details

  • Shotaro Ikenami*

    Shotaro Ikenami* 池波正太郎

    Shōtarō Ikenami ( (1923–1990) ) was a seventh-generation Edokko, or child of Edo (present-day Tokyo). This background greatly influenced his writing style. Edokko refers to those who were born in the shitamachi, or the old, originally … Details

  • Natsuki Ikezawa*

    Natsuki Ikezawa* 池澤夏樹

    Natsuki Ikezawa (1945–) is the son of novelist Takehiko Fukunaga and poet Akiko Harajo, who were members of the same literary coterie. He studied physics in college before dropping out to travel around the … Details

  • Hisashi Inoue*

    Hisashi Inoue* 井上ひさし

    Hisashi Inoue (1934–2010) began his writing career while working in the production department of a strip club, creating skits for its interlude performances. While attending Sophia University, he wrote plays and radio scripts, and … Details