Keigo Higashino 東野圭吾
Keigo Higashino (1958–) is arguably Japan's biggest bestseller machine today. After graduating from college with a technical degree he went to work for an auto-parts maker as an engineer, but wrote fiction on the side and began submitting his work for the Edogawa Rampo Prize competition; he made his literary debut in 1985 when he won the prize for Hōkago (After-School Hours). With this success under his belt he turned to writing full-time, and by the mid-nineties his works were drawing considerable attention. When he won the Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 1998 for the novel Naoko (tr. 2004; original title Himitsu), it became a huge hit, and in the years that followed he produced one bestseller after another. After five previous appearances on the short list for the coveted Naoki Prize, he finally won in 2006 for The Devotion of Suspect X (tr. 2011); the English translation of this work was also nominated for an Edgar award in 2012. He is best known for the Detective Galileo series, to which Suspect X belongs, and the Detective Kaga series, set in Tokyo's old shitamachi ("low city") area and to which Shinzanmono (Newcomer; winner of a Konomys No. 1 Ranking) belongs. Higashino also boasts an extensive and varied body of other works, including black-humor novels. The novel Namiya Zakkaten no kiseki (The Miracles of the Namiya General Store) received the Chuo Koron Literary Prize in 2012, Mugenbana (Dream Flower) the Shibata Renzaburō Award in 2013, and Inori no maku ga oriru toki (When the Curtain Falls on Prayer) the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for Literature in 2014.