3 Recommended Women Writers Who Graduated Waseda Uni

Waseda University is famous for the number of graduates who became novelists and writers. Though Haruki Murakami is well known throughout the world, there are many women writers who were awarded many prizes including Akutagawa Prize and Naoki Prize, the most famous book prizes in Japan. Some of their novels were made into movies or drama series.

Eto Mori

Awarded Naoki Prize for Kaze ni maiagaru biniru shito (Plastic Sheet Soaring in the Wind) in 2006. She wrote novels, children literature, and picture books. DIVE!!, one the most popular works, is about boys in the diving club. It made into comics, animation, TV drama, film, and stage plays. Though she wrote many novels for teenagers, Plastic Sheet Soaring in the Wind is different. It is a collection of short stories and the one story about a woman working in UNHCR was made into TV drama. In the TV drama, some changes were added to the original and can be enjoyed more.

Mitsuyo Kakuta

Awarded Naoki Prize for Taigan no kanojyo (Woman on the Other Shore) in 2005. She wrote not only novels but also children literature, translation of picture book, and travel writing. One of the most famous works is Youkame no semi (The Eighth Day). It became TV drama series and a movie. The story is about a newborn girl who was kidnaped by the lover of her father, and the story covers her life after she grows up. This novel has three parts; the first two chapters focus on the kidnaper and the last chapter focuses on the kidnaped girl. The detailed description of kidnaper make us feel sympathy even though she is a criminal.

Yoko Tawada

Awarded Akutagawa Prize for Inu muko iri (The Bridegroom was a Dog) in 1993. She wrote novels, children literature, and poetry both in German and Japanese and her works were translated in over ten different languages. Two weeks ago, she received National Book Award for The Emissary (English version of Kentoshi). Kentoshi is a dystopian novel set in near future Japan after the great earthquake and nuclear power plant accident. It can be interpreted as Japan right after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster. Also, a declining birth rate and an aging population problem was included in this novel. In the story, people have no liberty to go overseas, learn English nor know about different countries. The unpleasant mood in the story reminds one of 1984 by George Orwell, but Japanese people’s character makes the story more interesting, unique and strangely peaceful.

These novels reflect problems that Japan faces now and how Japanese deal with them. I am sure that they give us a chance to learn about Japanese characters and society.

As it gets colder, why don’t you stay inside and try some Japanese novels?