About the Author
Banana Yoshimoto wrote her first novel, 'Kitchen', while working as a waitress at a golf-course restaurant. It sold millions of copies worldwide, and led to a phenomenon dubbed by Western journalists as 'Banana-mania'. Yoshimoto has gone on to be one of the biggest-selling and most distinguished writers in Japanese history, winning numerous awards for her work. Yoshimoto has also published several volumes of short stories, including 'Shirakawa yofune' (1989; Asleep) and 'Tokage' (1993; Lizard). Nao-Cola Yamazaki has fast become one of Japan's most beloved writers. Her first book, 'Don't Laugh at Other People's Sex', won the Bungei Award, and was adapted into a major motion picture. Her books 'The Side Room of the Katsura Beauty Salon' (2008), 'Hand'[ (2009), and 'Niki's Abasement' (2011) were all nominated for the Akutagawa Award. Her work often describes the love and friendship of men and women in their twenties and thirties. She lectures on Modern Japanese literature at Kokugakuin College as an adjunct professor. Osamu Hashimoto graduated from the University of Tokyo and worked as an illustrator before becoming a writer. He first made it into print after receiving an honourable mention in the 1977 Shosetsu Gendai Prize for New Writers competition for 'Momojiri Musume' (Restless Rena). Since then he has published not only fiction but literary criticism and essays as well as modern Japanese translations of classics such as 'The Tale of Genji'. Hashimoto received the Kobayashi Hideo Prize in 2002 for 'Mishima Yukio to wa nanimono datta no ka' (Who Was Yukio Mishima?), a work of criticism. His first fiction prize came in 2005, when he won the Shibata Renzaburo Award for his short-story collection 'Cho no yukue' (Where Butterflies Go); in 2008 he was awarded the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award for his modern Japanese translation of 'The Tale of Heike'.