Authors

Kikuko Tsumura

Kikuko Tsumura 津村記久子

Kikuko Tsumura  (1978–)  hails from Osaka, and the wit of her characters’ dialogue and the subtle rhythms of her prose have much to do with her command of the region’s Kansai dialect. Tsumura aspired to become a novelist from her student days and continued writing after getting a job out of college. She made her debut in 2005 with the Dazai Osamu Prize winner Man ītā (Man Eater), which was later retitled and published as Kimi wa eien ni soitsura yori wakai (You’ll Forever Be Younger Than They Are). In 2008 she received the Noma Prize for New Writers for Myūjikku buresu yū!! (Music Bless You!!), and she won the 2009 Akutagawa Prize for Potosu raimu no fune (The Lime Pothos Boat), the third of her works to be nominated. Further laurels include the 2011 Oda Sakunosuke Prize for Wākāzu daijesuto (Workers’ Digest), the 2013 Kawabata Yasunari Prize for the short story Kyūsuitō to kame (The Water Tower and the Turtle), and the 2016 MEXT Award for New Artists for the novel Kono yo ni tayasui shigoto wa nai (There Is No Easy Job in This World). Her own experiences of struggling to find employment fresh out of college in Japan’s long-flagging economy, and then almost immediately quitting her first job, have prompted Tsumura to focus on the occupational concerns of the young, enabling her to carve out a niche as the author of a new generation of novels about the working world.

Books by Kikuko Tsumura
  • Book

    Music Bless You!!

    This coming-of-age story follows Azami, a music-loving Osaka teen, through her last year of high school, from a little before summer vacation to graduation the following spring. Lanky for a Japanese girl her age at over 170 centimeters (roughly 5 feet 7 i …

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  • Book

    There’s No Easy Job in This World

    The first-person narrator, a woman in her mid-thirties who quit her previous job after experiencing symptoms of burnout, tries out five unusual workplaces one after the other for one month at a time. Each receives its own chapter in the story. First is a …

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  • Book

    Spirit Odyssey via Brazil

    The opening work in this collection of seven stories, Kyūsuitō to kame (The Water Tower and the Turtle), was awarded the Kawabata Yasunari Prize for the year’s best short story in 2013. In the title piece, author Kikuko Tsumura transports the reader i …

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