Tsumao Awasaka

Tsumao Awasaka 泡坂妻夫

Tsumao Awasaka  (1933–2009)  , whose pen name is an anagram of his real name, Masao Atsukawa, stands out as a distinctive presence among Japan's mystery writers. The Atsukawa family was in the trade of drawing family crests, which are customary for distinguished families in Japan, and after graduating from high school the young Masao joined the family business. At the same time he began making a name for himself as an amateur magician, and both of these spheres figure prominently in his fiction. In 1976 he submitted a short story, DL 2-go-ki jiken (The DL Flight 2 Incident), to a new-writer contest sponsored by the detective fiction magazine Gen'eijo (Phantom Fortress); it received an honorable mention and became his first published work. In 1978, his novel Midare karakuri (A Trick Goes Awry) received the Mystery Writers of Japan Award, securing his position as a writer to watch; in 1990 he won the coveted Naoki Prize for his story collection Kage kikyo (Bellflower Crest). Kijutsu tantei Soga Kajo zenshu (The Complete Cases of Magician Detective Kajo Soga, 2000), which presents a series of stories only a practicing magician could have written, may be considered his magnum opus.