Akiyuki Nosaka (野坂 昭如, Nosaka Akiyuki, October 10, 1930 – December 9, 2015) was a Japanese novelist, singer, lyricist, and member of the House of Councillors. As a broadcasting writer he used the name Yukio Aki (阿木 由紀夫, Aki Yukio) and his alias as a chanson singer was Claude Nosaka (クロード 野坂, Kurōdo Nosaka).

Akiyuki Nosaka
Akiyuki Nosaka pictured in the January 27, 1967 issue of Asahigraph.
Akiyuki Nosaka pictured in the January 27, 1967 issue of Asahigraph.
Native name
野坂 昭如
Born(1930-10-10)October 10, 1930
Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
DiedDecember 9, 2015(2015-12-09) (aged 85)
Tokyo, Japan
Pen nameYukio Aki
OccupationNovelist, singer, lyricist, and member of the House of Councillors
NationalityJapanese
Period1950s–2015
Notable works"Grave of the Fireflies"
RelativesSukeyuki Nosaka

Early life edit

Nosaka was born in Kamakura, Kanagawa, the son of Sukeyuki Nosaka, who was an official of the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Construction.[1] Together with his sisters he grew up as an adopted child of a Harimaya family in Nada, Kobe, Hyōgo. His foster mother, Aiko, was his maternal aunt.[1] Nosaka is part of the "Generation of the Ashes" (Yakeato Sedai), which includes other writers like Kenzaburō Ōe and Makoto Oda.[2]

One of his sisters died as the result of malnutrition, and his adoptive father died during the 1945 bombing of Kobe in World War II. Another sister died of malnutrition in Fukui. Nosaka would later base his short story "Grave of the Fireflies" on these experiences.

Career edit

Nosaka is well known for children's stories about war. Two of his short stories, "Grave of the Fireflies" and "American Hijiki", won the 58th Naoki Prize in 1967.[3] He is also noted for his preference for sexually explicit material and distinctive writing style, which has been likened to the comic-prose of the seventeenth-century Japanese writer Ihara Saikaku.[4] His novel The Pornographers was translated into English by Michael Gallagher and published in 1968. It was also adapted into a live-action film, The Pornographers, directed by Shōhei Imamura. In December 1978, Nosaka was credited for giving former rugby player-turned pro wrestler Susumu Hara his ring name, Ashura Hara.

He was elected to the Japanese Diet in 1983. The 1988 anime film Grave of the Fireflies, directed by Isao Takahata, was based on Nosaka's short story of the same name.[5]

Nosaka suffered a stroke in 2003 and although still affected by it, he kept writing a column for the daily Mainichi Shimbun.

On NHK's December 10, 2015 7:00 pm broadcast announcing Nosaka's death, a veteran journalist was quoted as saying Nosaka was notable for questioning what most people consider common sense, but Japan has now entered an era in which this is no longer possible.

Selected works edit

  • TV commercial and magazine articles (1950s)
  • The Pornographers (エロ事師たち, Erogotoshi-tachi) (1963); English translation by Michael Gallagher, ISBN 0-436-31530-0
  • "American Hijiki" (アメリカひじき, Amerika Hijiki) (1967); English translation included in The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories (2017), Jay Rubin ed.
  • "Grave of the Fireflies" (火垂るの墓, Hotaru no Haka) (1967); English translation by James R. Abrams, published in an issue of the Japan Quarterly (1978)[6]
  • The Whale That Fell in Love With a Submarine (戦争童話集, Sensō Dōwashū); English translation by Ginny Tapley Takemori (2015), ISBN 978-1-782690-27-6
  • The Cake Tree in the Ruins; English translation by Ginny Tapley Takemori (2018), ISBN 978-1-78227-418-6

References edit

  1. ^ a b Stahl, David (2010). Imag(in)ing the War in Japan: Representing and Responding to Trauma in Postwar Literature and Film. Leiden: BRILL. p. 173. ISBN 978-90-04-18298-1.
  2. ^ Rosenbaum, Roman; Claremont, Yasuko (2012). Legacies of the Asia-Pacific War: The yakeato generation. Routledge. p. 78. ISBN 978-1136936210.
  3. ^ 直木賞受賞者一覧 [Naoki Prize Winners List] (in Japanese). 日本文学振興会. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  4. ^ Molasky, Michael S. (2005). The American Occupation of Japan and Okinawa: Literature and Memory. London: Routledge. p. 165. ISBN 0-415-19194-7.
  5. ^ Bendazzi, Giannalberto (2015). Animation: A World History: Volume III: Contemporary Times. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-138-85482-6.
  6. ^ Osmond, Andrew (May 6, 2021). "Alex Dudok de Wit, Author of BFI Classics: Grave of the Fireflies". Anime News Network. Retrieved June 30, 2021.

External links edit