Kyoko Hayashi

Kyoko Hayashi 林京子

Kyoko Hayashi  (1930–2017)  was born in Nagasaki, the third in a family of four daughters, but lived most of her first 14 years in Shanghai, where her father worked for a trading company. Along with her experience of the atomic bomb, her memories of Shanghai have proved fertile ground for her writings. She returned to Nagasaki in February 1945, where the students at her girls' school were mobilized to work in a munitions factory, and it was there, just 1.4 km from ground zero, that she was hit on August 9. Miraculously, she survived the initial blast, but suffered from radiation sickness and fragile health later. After dropping out of nursing school, marrying, and giving birth to a son, she began writing for a small literary journal. In 1975 her short story Ritual of Death (tr. 1984), an account of her escape from death at the time of the bomb, received both the Gunzo Prize for New Writers and the Akutagawa Prize. In 1978 she was notified that she had won the MEXT Award for New Artists for her collection of linked stories Giyaman bidoro (Cut Glass, Blown Glass), but she declined it, saying she could not accept an award from the state. She has continued to write about her experiences related to the A-bomb in such works as Yasuraka ni ima wa nemuri tamae (Rest Now in Peace), which was awarded the Tanizaki Jun'ichiro Prize in 1990, while also writing stories based on her China years in such works as Shanhai (Shanghai), which received the Women's Literature Prize in 1983.