Authors

Mitsuyo Kakuta

Mitsuyo Kakuta 角田光代

Mitsuyo Kakuta  (1967–)  set her sights on becoming a writer from an early age. Her debut novel—Kōfuku na yūgi (A Blissful Pastime), written while she was a university student—received the Kaien Prize for New Writers in 1990. She has been working continuously as an author ever since, never having had to support herself with a separate job. Three nominations for the Akutagawa Prize serve as a measure of the promise with which she was regarded from early in her career. Then, at the encouragement of an editor, she shifted toward the entertainment end of the literary spectrum, where she garnered a much broader readership with works depicting the lives of women in her generation, from their mid-thirties to forties. After publishing two brilliant novels in 2002, Ekonomikaru paresu (Economical Palace) and Kūchū teien (Hanging Garden), she went on to win the Naoki Prize for the second half of 2004 with Woman on the Other Shore (tr. 2007). Her successes continued with The Eighth Day (tr. 2010), which received the 2007 Chūō Kōron Literary Prize and was made into a televised drama series as well as a movie; the book sold more than a million copies, vaulting her into the ranks of Japan's best-selling authors. In 2012 she added to her list of honors by earning the Shibata Renzaburō Award for her novel Kami no tsuki (Paper Moon), and the Izumi Kyōka Prize for her volume of short stories Kanata no ko (The Children Beyond).

Books by Mitsuyo Kakuta
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    Woman on the Other Shore

    This novel focuses on the life choices made by two women who meet for the first time at age 35 and discover that they had attended the same university's Faculty of Letters together. The odd-numbered chapters track events in the two women's present-day liv …

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    Paper Moon

    As the story begins, Rika Umezawa is traveling in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Her embezzlement of some 100 million yen has come to light, and she is on the run. The story then steps back in time to 1990, when she first started working for a suburban Tokyo bank …

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    Tree House

    This ambitious work takes a sweeping look at Japan's postwar history through the eyes of three generations of an ordinary family. The stage is a small Chinese restaurant on the edge of the entertainment district near Tokyo's Shinjuku Station, and the stor …

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    The Eighth Day

    Centering on an infant abduction, this novel offers an acute look at mother-daughter rivalry. The story begins in February 1985. In the first half, Kiwako Nonomiya, 29, abducts the six-month-old baby girl Erina Akiyama and goes on the run. Erina's father …

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    Mother Complex

    This is a collection of eight short stories in which the author explores the fathomless hold that mothers have on their sons and daughters. In the title story (tr. 2010 as "Mazakon"), narrator Kubota is a 32-year-old office supply salesman. As the story …

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    Garden in the Sky

    The Kyobashi family?father Takashi, mother Eriko, 16-year-old daughter Mana, and 14-year-old son Ko?live in the sort of large suburban housing complex that’s filled with row upon row of virtually identical apartments. With a “no secrets and nothing of …

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    The Women in Me

    The story spans roughly two decades in the life of Waka Honda, from when she enters college until her late thirties when she achieves success as a novelist. In 1985, at the age of 18, Waka moves to Tokyo from the regional city where she grew up, and begi …

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    With a Story in Your Pocket

    This collection of book reviews and essays about authors by fellow author Mitsuyo Kakuta was created in much the same vein as her Watashi-tachi ni wa monogatari ga aru (Stories for Us All), and is an excellent companion volume to that work. In the book w …

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    Stories for Us All

    In her afterword to this collection of book reviews and other essays she has written about writers, author Mitsuyo Kakuta writes of her own literary debut. Winning a new-writer prize at age 23, she quickly realized that if she wanted to make a living by w …

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    Antiquarian Books School

    Known for his writings on antiquarian book collecting, Takeshi Okazaki is cast as a teacher who hands out assignments, and novelist Mitsuyo Kakuta as the pupil who undertakes them, in this collection of essays built around the duo’s exploration of antiq …

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    Kidnap Tour

    On the first day of her summer vacation, fifth-grader Haru goes to the convenience store for ice cream but is kidnapped on the way. The abductor is none other than her father, who disappeared from home some two months before. The good-for-nothing loser ap …

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