Shūhei Fujisawa

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Shūhei Fujisawa

Shūhei Fujisawa 藤沢周平

Shūhei Fujisawa (1927-97) grew up in Yamagata Prefecture. He was an avid reader of magazines and fiction of every kind from the time he was in elementary school, and began writing his own stories when he was in the upper grades. In 1946 he entered Yamagata Normal School, where he honed his creative writing skills through his involvement in the school’s literary journal, Saihyōsen (Icebreaker). Upon graduation, he took a job at a local middle school, but three years later was diagnosed with tuberculosis and moved to Tokyo for treatment. He subsequently worked as a reporter for a number of trade papers in Tokyo while keeping his dreams of becoming a novelist alive by writing fiction on the side. It was to soothe the overwhelming feeling of emptiness he experienced after the sudden illness and death of his wife in 1963 that he turned to writing period novels. He finally made his literary debut in 1971 with the story Kurai umi (The Dark Sea), which received the All Yomimono Prize for New Writers and was short-listed for the Naoki Prize. When he went on to win the Naoki in 1973 for Ansatsu no nenrin (The Annals of Assassination), it enabled him to devote himself exclusively to writing. In 1986 he took home the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for Literature for Shiroki kame (White Vat), a biographical novel about the Meiji-period (1868–1912) writer Takashi Nagatsuka. He left behind a voluminous oeuvre of tales detailing the sorrows and joys of the weak and downtrodden—whether of the commoner or samurai class—during the Edo period (1603–1867), many of them set in the fictitious feudal domain of Unasaka. His major titles include the Yōjinbō jitsugetsu-shō (Days in the Life of a Bodyguard) and Kakushiken (The Hidden Blade, adapted to film under the same title) series, Semishigure (Chorus of Cicadas, adapted to film as The Samurai I Loved), and Tasogare Seibei (Twilight Seibei, adapted to film as The Twilight Samurai).

Books by Shūhei Fujisawa
  • Book

    Chorus of Cicadas

    Even 20 years after his death, Shūhei Fujisawa remains one of Japan’s most popular authors of fiction set in the Edo period (1603–1867), with many of his titles continuing to enjoy strong sales today. This novel, which was adapted to film in 2005 (En …