Hiroko Takenishi

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Hiroko Takenishi

Hiroko Takenishi 竹西寛子

Hiroko Takenishi (1929–)   is a native of Hiroshima who suffered the effects of the atomic bomb at the age of 16. Since she was at home at the time, she escaped major injury, but the experience of losing so many of her classmates and others close to her had a decisive influence on her development as a writer. After graduating from college in Tokyo, she took a job at a publishing company where she edited an anthology of Japanese literature, an experience that awakened her interest in writing. In 1964 she won the Tamura Toshiko Prize for Okan no ki (A Record of Comings and Goings), marking her debut as a professional writer. She went on to write many works of fiction and criticism that established her reputation in the world of literature. In works like the novel Kangensai (Music Festival, 1978), which won the Women's Literature Prize, and the short story Heitai yado (Soldiers' Lodging, 1982), winner of the Kawabata Yasunari Prize, she depicts victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Since 1994, Takenishi has been a member of the Japan Art Academy. She is known for her profound knowledge of Japanese classical literature, and her collection of essays on the subject, Zoto no uta (Poems Exchanged), won the Noma Prize for Literature in 2003.