Gaku Yakumaru

Gaku Yakumaru 薬丸岳

Gaku Yakumaru (1969–) was born in Hyōgo Prefecture. A movie buff from a young age, he began writing filmscripts when he was still in high school. He joined a major Tokyo theater company intending to become an actor but withdrew after four months and began taking classes to become a scriptwriter instead. He kept at his writing while hopping from one job to another to pay the bills, and ultimately refocused on writing mystery novels after reading Kazuaki Takano’s Jūsan kaidan (Thirteen Steps), which won the 2001 Edogawa Rampo Award. Yakumaru then made his literary debut when he won that same award in 2005 for his full-length manuscript Tenshi no naifu (Angel’s Knife). The novel takes up the subject of juvenile crime, and delves deeply into the circumstances and psychology of both perpetrators and victims. He received the 2016 Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers for another powerful novel in the same vein, A de wa nai kimi to (With You Who Are Not A). In 2017 he won the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Short Stories for Tasogare (Twilight). His other titles include Hādo rakku (Hard Luck), Yūzai (Friend Guilt), and Kami no ko (Child of God). Yakumaru’s stories are distinguished by their serious, deeply probing quality even as they take readers on a thrilling ride of repeated plot twists that are a legacy of his prior experience as a scriptwriter.

Books by Gaku Yakumaru
  • Book

    Friend Guilt

    In a 1997 incident that shocked the entire country, a 14-year-old boy in Kobe murdered two elementary school children, gruesomely decapitating the second and placing his head at the gate of the victim’s school, then claimed credit for the crimes in taun …