Hiroyuki Agawa

Hiroyuki Agawa (阿川 弘之, Agawa Hiroyuki) (December 24, 1920 – August 3, 2015) was a Japanese author. He was known for his fiction centered on World War II, as well as his biographies and essays.[1]

Agawa Hiroyuki
Hiroyuki Agawa
Native name
阿川 弘之
Born(1920-12-24)December 24, 1920
DiedAugust 3, 2015(2015-08-03) (aged 94)

Literary careerEdit

Agawa was born in Hiroshima, Japan. As a high school student Agawa was influenced by the Japanese author Naoya Shiga. He entered the Tokyo Imperial University to study Japanese literature. Upon graduation in 1942, Agawa was conscripted to serve in the Imperial Japanese Navy, where he worked as an intelligence officer breaking Chinese military codes until the end of the war. He returned to Hiroshima, where his parents had experienced the atomic bomb, in March 1946.

After World War II Agawa wrote his first short story Nennen Saisai (Years upon Years, 1946), which was a classic I Novel, or autobiographical novel, recounting the reunion with his parents. It follows the style of Naoya Shiga, who is said to have praised the work. August 6 as Agawa notes in a postscript, combines the stories of friends and acquaintances who experienced the bombing into the testimony of one family. Occupation censorship at the time was strict, but the story passed because, the author later observed, "it made no reference to the problems of after-effect and continued no overt criticism of the U.S." Agawa came to popular and critical attention with his Citadel in Spring (春の城, 1952), which was awarded the Yomiuri Prize. (He later revisited the same theme of his experiences as a student soldier in Kurai hato (Dark waves, 1974)). Ma no isan (Devil's Heritage, 1953), a documentary novel, is an account of the bombing of Hiroshima through the eyes of a young Tokyo reporter, handling, among other topics, the death of his Hiroshima nephew and survivors' reactions to the Atomic bomb Casualty Commission, the U.S. agency that conducted research on atomic victims.

Agawa's four major biographical novels are Yamamoto Isoroku (山本五十六, 1965), Yonai Mitsumasa (米内光政, 1978), Inoue Seibi (井上成美, 1986), and Shiga Naoya (志賀直哉, 1994). His other major works include Kumo no bohyo (Grave markers in the clouds, 1955), and Gunkan Nagato no shogai (The life of the warship Nagato, 1975).

Agawa was awarded the Order of Culture (Bunka Kunsho) in 1999.

He is the father of Sawako Agawa, popular author and TV personality, and Naoyuki Agawa, professor of law at Keio University.


Year Japanese Title English Title Genre/Comments
1946 年年歳歳
Nennen Saisai
From Age to Age
in ISBN 978-0-23113-804-8
I Novel; Agawa's first literary work; translation by Eric P. Cunningham
1952 春の城
Haru no shiro
Citadel in Spring
ISBN 978-0-87011-960-6
ISBN 978-4-7700-1460-3
Autobiographical novel; describes the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; translation by Lawrence Rogers, 1990.
1953 魔の遺産
Ma no isan
Devil's heritage Documentary novel; following the aftermath of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, translation by John M. Maki, 1957.
1955 雲の墓標
Kumo no bohyō
Burial in the Clouds
ISBN 978-0-8048-3759-0
Documentary war novel; based on the diary of Iwao Yoshii,[2] a former Kamikaze pilot. Trans. by Teruyo Shimizu, 2006.
Movie adaptation by Shochiku in 1957.
1957 夜の波音
Yoru no namioto
Short stories
1959 カリフォルニヤ
I Novel
1960 坂の多い町
Saka no ooi machi
Short stories
1961 青葉の翳り
Aoba no kageri
Short stories
1966 舷燈
I Novel
1967 軍艦ポルカ
Gunkan polka
Short stories
1968 水の上の会話
Mizu no ue no kaiwa
Short stories
1969 山本五十六
Yamamoto Isoroku
The Reluctant Admiral: Yamamoto and the Imperial Navy
ISBN 978-0-87011-355-0
ISBN 978-4-7700-2539-5
Biography; translation by John Bester, with some abridgment approved by Agawa, 1979
1973 暗い波濤
Kurai hatō
War novel (partly autobiographical)
1975 軍艦長門の生涯
Gunkan Nagato no shōgai
Documentary novel
1978 米内光政
Yonai Mitsumasa
1982 テムズの水
Thames no mizu
Short stories
1986 井上成美
Inoue Seibi
1994 志賀直哉
Shiga Naoya
2004 亡き母や
Naki haha ya
I Novel



  1. ^ 作家の阿川弘之氏が死去 文化勲章受章者、正論執筆メンバー (in Japanese). sankei. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  2. ^ Agawa, "「楯立つらしも」考", Yuki no shingun, p.269 ISBN 978-4-06-273088-4 ISBN 9784062083287