Kaori Ekuni 江國香織
Kaori Ekuni (1964–) is the daughter of essayist and haiku poet Shigeru Ekuni, and grew up writing poems and children's stories. She studied for a year in the United States after finishing college, then returned to Japan and published her first children's story in 1987. After receiving a number of awards in the juvenile category, she shifted to writing for the general reader. She has won a large following for her novel-length love stories—from Twinkle Twinkle (tr. 2003) in 1991, to Tokyo Tawa (Tokyo Tower) in 2001, and Garakuta (Junk) in 2007—while at the same time garnering awards for her many powerfully resonant short stories—taking the Yamamoto Shugoro Prize in 2002 for Oyogu no ni anzen de mo tekisetsu de mo arimasen (Not Safe or Suitable for Swimming), and the Naoki Prize in 2004 for Gokyu suru junbi wa dekite ita (I Was Already Prepared to Wail in Lament). Her masterful 2010 novel Hoyo, arui wa raisu ni wa shio o (To Embrace, or to Pour Salt on the Rice) has been quickly recognized as one of her most important works. Translations of her books have been bestsellers in Korea. She is also well known as a translator of English picture books into Japanese.