Authors

Hideo Okuda

Hideo Okuda 奥田英朗

Hideo Okuda (1959–)  appeared on the Japanese literary scene like a bolt out of the blue. Unlike most contemporary writers in Japan, he made his way into print without first winning a new writer's contest, and quickly established his popularity across a broad spectrum of genres, from crime novels to comedy, fantasy, and workplace fiction. After completing high school, he worked variously as a planner, copywriter, and production writer before bringing out his first work of fiction in 1997, the fantasy novel Uranbāna no mori (Ullambana Forest). A pair of highly realistic crime novels in 2002?Jama (Interference), which won the Haruhiko Ōyabu Award, and Saiaku (Worst Case), short-listed for the Naoki Prize?cemented his reputation, and in 2004 he garnered the Naoki for the story collection Kūchū buranko (The Flying Trapeze). He went on to win the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for Literature in 2009 for the novel Orinpikku no minoshirokin (Olympic Ransom). Among his other titles are the novels Sausubaundo (Southbound), Uwasa no onna (The Woman on Everybody’s Lips), and Naomi to Kanoko (Naomi and Kanoko); and the story collections Iebiyori (Perfect Day at Home; 2007 Shibata Renzaburō Award) and Wagaya no himitsu (Family Secrets). Translations of his works have especially struck a chord with Korean and Chinese readers.

Books by Hideo Okuda
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    Olympic Ransom

    A work of suspense depicting a terrorist attack targeting the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics in October 1964, this book brilliantly recreates the elevated national mood of the time. Two explosions rock the metropolis at the end of August with litt …

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    The Flying Trapeze

    This second in a series of short-story compilations centering on Ichiro Irabu, a doctor of psychiatric medicine, follows Irabu at age 36. As the son of a doctor he is slated to take over the family hospital one day; for the time being he operates a psychi …

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    Perfect Day at Home

    The author directs a warmhearted gaze over the lives of husbands and wives in six ordinary families in contemporary Japan, with a remarkable knack for putting his finger on telling ripples in people's everyday experiences. The central character of Sani de …

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    Think Again, Junpei

    Junpei Sakamoto, 21, is a good-natured, bottom-rung foot soldier in a yakuza syndicate that claims the Kabukicho entertainment district near Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station as its territory. He can be quick to pick a fight, but he’s good-looking, has a soft …

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    Naomi and Kanako

    A tale of suspense in which two women who have been best friends since college plot and carry out the murder of an abusive husband. The partners in crime are Naomi Oda, 28, who works at the venerable Aoi Department Store in Tokyo, and Kanako Hattori, 29, …

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    The Woman on Everybody's Lips

    In a depressed regional city where there are few decent jobs and old customs die hard, an enchantress wraps wealthy men around her little finger and ultimately rakes in their money. Although she is not especially beautiful, Miyuki Itoi has a shapely figu …

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    The Mukōda Barber Shop

    The story takes place in fictitious Tomazawa, a town that once grew to a population of 80,000 in the middle of a flourishing coal-mining district in Hokkaido. Since the advent of cheap oil, the town has fallen on hard times and suffers from severe depopul …

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