Jakucho Setouchi

« Back to list


Jakucho Setouchi

Jakucho Setouchi 瀬戸内寂聴

Jakucho Setouchi  (1922–)  , formerly Harumi Setouchi, has earned numerous literary accolades and continues to enjoy the unabated admiration of the Japanese public in her current status as a Buddhist nun. Her biography is as presented in her book Basho (Places). She was wed in an arranged marriage while still in college and moved to Beijing with her husband after graduation. When World War II ended, she returned to Japan with her newborn daughter. Before long she fell in love with a student of her husband four years her junior, leading her to abandon her husband and child. In the 1950s she began writing stories for girls' and children's magazines and participated in the publication of small literary journals. Her first recognition as a literary writer came in 1957 for the short story Joshidaisei Chu Airin (Qu Ailing the Coed), which received the Shinchosha Coterie Magazine Award. Natsu no owari (The End of Summer), a collection of linked stories detailing her own adulterous affair, was awarded the Women's Literature Prize in 1963, solidifying her reputation as a writer. In the years since, Setouchi has produced a prolific stream of romances and popular novels. In 1973, she was guided by fellow writer and priest Tonko Kon to take the tonsure, and changed her name from Harumi to Jakucho. She received the Tanizaki Jun'ichiro Prize in 1992 for Hana ni toe (Ask the Blossoms), a novelized biography of the classical poet-priest Saigyo. Among her other contributions to the study and dissemination of classical Japanese literature is her complete modern translation of The Tale of Genji. In 2006 she was decorated by the Emperor with the Order of Culture.

Books by Jakucho Setouchi
  • Book


    A grand summation of the author's oeuvre, this deeply resonant work is structured as an autobiographical novel, in which the 77-year-old Setouchi revisits places that have been important in her life. In fourteen chapters headed by place names?"Chapter 1: …