Yuichi Takai

Yuichi Takai 高井有一

Yuichi Takai (1932–2016)  is a native Tokyoite. He lost his father, a painter, when he was just 11. During the war, the family house was destroyed and Takai was evacuated from Tokyo. His mother died in November 1945, three months after the war's end. These two deaths—particularly that of his mother—affected Takai deeply. His first book, the novella Kita no kawa (River of the North), describes his experience of being evacuated and his mother's suicide; it won the Akutagawa Prize in 1965. While continuing to work as a reporter for a news agency, Takai produced a succession of books that made him a key figure of the "introverted generation" of writers from the mid-1960s. Elected to the Japan Art Academy in 1996, Takai has also served as president of the Japan Writers' Association. Among his prizewinning novels are Toki no ushio (Tides of Time), winner of the Noma Prize for Literature; Kono kuni no sora (This Country's Sky), winner of the Tanizaki Jun'ichiro Prize; Yoru no ari (Night Ants), winner of the Yomiuri Prize for Literature; and Takarakana banka (Sonorous Elegy), winner of the Osaragi Jiro Prize. Perhaps because of his wartime experiences, Takai creates characters who combine urbanity with emotional restraint and compassion.