Kenji Nakagami 中上健次
Kenji Nakagami (1946–1992) was born in the city of Shingū in Wakayama Prefecture. He went to Tokyo at 19 and worked as a manual laborer while also becoming a contributing member to the literary magazine Bungei shuto and publishing a quick succession of novels, poetry, and essays. His novella Misaki (tr. The Cape), which was awarded the 1976 Akutagawa Prize, creates a distinct world of its own set in the roji, or "alleyway"—the author's term for the ghetto where he grew up. Nakagami's birth region of Kishū, a rich storehouse of myth and legend, had a decisive impact on his writing. His wide-ranging interest in music, theater, folk arts, film, and other creative genres also gave multilayered depth to his works, marking a turning point for Japanese literature and making him one of Japan's most influential modern writers.