Ryu Murakami 村上龍
Ryu Murakami (1952–) was born in Sasebo, in the shadow of a U.S. Navy base. He moved to Tokyo after finishing high school, eventually entering Musashino Art University, where he began writing fiction. He took the literary world by storm in 1976 when he published his maiden work Almost Transparent Blue (tr. 1977) about a young man living in a town dominated by an American military installation; the work garnered him both the Gunzo Prize for New Writers and the Akutagawa Prize, and became a tremendous bestseller. Quitting college to focus on his writing, he began publishing one formidable work after the other, each sparking new controversy. He received the Noma Prize for New Writers in 1980 for his novel Coin Locker Babies (tr. 1995); the Yomiuri Prize for Literature in 1998 for his horror novel In the Miso Soup (tr. 2003); the Tanizaki Jun'ichiro Prize in 2000 for Kyoseichu (Symbion); and both the Noma Prize for Literature and the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award in 2005 for Hanto o deyo (Leave the Peninsula), an international thriller about a North Korean invasion of Japan set in the near future. He has also branched out into film, directing adaptations of a number of his novels, and has been an early presence in Internet publishing and ebooks as well.