Yoshikichi Furui

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Yoshikichi Furui

Yoshikichi Furui 古井由吉

Yoshikichi Furui (1937–)  was born in Tokyo and graduated from the University of Tokyo with a major in German literature. While teaching at Kanazawa University, he translated the Austrian writers Robert Musil and Hermann Broch. He left the university in 1970 and quickly established himself as an author in his own right, winning the Akutagawa Prize in 1971 for the novella Yōko. His subsequent honors include the Japan Literature Grand Prize in 1980 for Sumika (Home), the Tanizaki Jun’ichirō Prize in 1983 for Asagao (Rose of Sharon), the Kawabata Yasunari Prize in 1987 for the story collection Nakayamazaka (On Nakayama Hill), the Yomiuri Prize for Literature (Fiction) in 1990 for the novel Kari ōjōden shibun (Accounts of Rebirth: A Provisional Draft), and the Mainichi Art Award in 1997 for Hakuhatsu no uta (White-Haired Melody). He includes very little social commentary in his novels, preferring to scrutinize the souls of individual characters. In recent years he has largely adopted the mode of the autobiographical “I-novel,” exploring the boundaries between life and death, sanity and madness, and true and false memories in his own distinctive style while recounting his personal day-to-day experiences as an aging author. Influenced by German literature, he is also one of Japan’s masters of magical realism. Among his more recent works are the story collections Shirowada (White Depths), Kane no watari (The Temple Bell), and Ame no suso (The Skirts of the Rain).

Books by Yoshikichi Furui
  • Book

    White-haired Melody

    This novel is a record of the daily experiences of a man approaching old age. It delves into the essential but hidden nature of his everyday life, employing prose that is relentless in its re-creation of detail. Each scene is recorded in such minute preci …

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  • Book

    The Temple Bell

    A collection of eight linked stories in which a writer in his mid-seventies?the first-person narrator who appears to be author Yoshikichi Furui’s double?ruminates over what he encounters in the course of his days. All but the title story recount events …

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