Michael Ferrier

Michaël Ferrier (2018)

Michaël Ferrier (born 14 August 1967) is a French writer, novelist and essayist, living in Tokyo.[1]


Ferrier was born in Strasbourg. He comes from a French family and also from Mauritian Creole people and Réunion Creole people, with Indian, French, Malagasy and British origins.[2] After a nomadic childhood (Africa and Indian Ocean), he gained entrance to the highly selective École Normale Supérieure, at the age of 18, where he passed the agrégation in literature (highest teaching diploma in France) and graduated from the University of Paris.[3] He is currently Professor at Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan, and director of the Research Group Figures de l'Etranger (In the face of alterity: The image of the Other in arts and society).[4]


Ferrier has published several novels and essays, whose interdisciplinary work (in the fields of literature, art, music and philosophy) includes several books on Japan, which has become a standard reference in the field. [5] His first novel, Tokyo, petits portraits de l’aube, Gallimard, 2004, has been awarded the Prix Littéraire de l’Asie 2005 (Literary Prize from the Association of French Language Writers and the French Minister of Foreign Affairs). His novel Sympathie pour le Fantôme (Gallimard, 2010) portrays multiple voices (Ambroise Vollard, Jeanne Duval and Edmond Albius) and embraces the contradictions and complexity of French national identity. It has been awarded the Prix littéraire de la Porte Dorée (Literary prize of Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration, the French museum of immigration). [6] His book about Fukushima is a major study on the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear accident, that has roused the interest of writers and philosophers like Philippe Sollers and Jean-Luc Nancy (Fukushima, récit d'un désastre, Gallimard, 2012). Ferrier has also been awarded the 2012 Prix Edouard Glissant. [7]

Awards and honoursEdit

Michaël Ferrier was shortlisted three times for the Prix Femina and three times for the Prix Décembre.

  • 2005 Prix littéraire de l'Asie
  • 2010 Prix littéraire de la Porte Dorée
  • 2012 Edouard Glissant Prize
  • 2015 Franz-Hessel-Preis
  • 2018 Prix Décembre for François, portrait d’un absent


  • Tokyo, petits portraits de l’aube, Éditions Gallimard, 2004
  • Kizu, Ed. Arléa, 2004
  • Sympathie pour le Fantôme, Gallimard, 2010
  • Fukushima, récit d'un désastre, Gallimard, 2012
  • François, portrait d'un absent, Gallimard, 2018
  • Scrabble : une enfance tchadienne, Mercure de France, Collection Traits et Portraits, 2019
  • Mémoires d'Outre-Mer, Gallimard, 2015 = Over Seas of Memory, translated by Martin Munro, foreword by Patrick Chamoiseau, Nebraska University Press, 2019
  • Louis-Ferdinand Céline et la chanson, Ed. du Lerot, 2004
  • La Tentation de la France, la Tentation du Japon, Picquier, 2003
  • Le Goût de Tokyo, anthology, Mercure de France, 2008
  • Japon: la Barrière des rencontres, Ed. Cécile Defaut, 2009
  • Penser avec Fukushima (sous la direction de C. Doumet et M. Ferrier), Nantes, Editions nouvelles Cécile Defaut, 2016
  • Naufrage (about COVID-19 pandemic), Gallimard, Collection Tracts, 2020
  • Le monde après Fukushima, coproduction Arte/Kami Productions (Japon, 2012, 77 min)
  • Terres nucléaires, une histoire du plutonium, coproduction Arte France/Seconde Vague Productions/Kami Productions (France, 2015, 83 min)
  • Notre ami l'atome, coproduction Arte France/Radio Télévision Suisse/Kami Productions (France, 2019, 55 min)
In english
  • « Creole Japan; or, the Vagaries of Creolization », Small Axe, vol 14, number 3 33, Durham, Duke University Press, 2010 [8]
  • A special issue about japanese photography in art press, the international review of contemporary art, contains two interviews with japanese photographers: « Chihiro Minato: Only Once » and « Japanese photography: In Tokyo with Araki », art press, number 353, 2009
  • « Setouchi. Japan's Festival of the Inland Sea », art press, number 371, 2010 (about the Contemporary Art Festival curated by Fram Kitagawa)
  • « Art, eroticism and cannibalism in Japan », art press2, number 20, 2011
  • « Visualizing the Impossible: Art after Fukushima», art press, number 423, 2015
  • « Nature and Creation in Japanese Aesthetics », Wabi Sabi Shima, Of the Aesthetics of Perfection and Chaos in the Japanese Archipelago, Thalie Art Foundation editions, 2015 [9]
  • « France-Japan: The Coral Writers (From stereotype to prototype, in favor of rethinking a critical approach to Japan) », Contemporary French & Francophone Studies, Volume 21, 2017 - Issue 1: France-Asia, p. 8-27.


  1. ^ Back cover of Fukushima, récit d'un désastre, Gallimard, 2012.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ « L'écrivain sismographe », entretien avec Aurélie Julia, Revue des deux mondes, avril 2013
  4. ^ http://researchmap.jp/read0086276/?lang=english
  5. ^ Hommes et Migrations, N°1302, avril-mai-juin 2013 : Le Japon, pays d'immigration ? http://www.hommes-et-migrations.fr/index.php?/numeros/le-japon-pays-d-immigration/7146-le-japon-un-espace-insulaire-pluriel
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ http://www.univ-paris8.fr/10-ans-du-prix-Edouard-Glissant
  8. ^ http://smallaxe.dukejournals.org/content/14/3_33/33.abstract
  9. ^ http://www.thalieartfoundation.org/en/edition/wabi-sabi-shima-of-the-aesthetics-of-perfection-and-chaos-in-the-japanese-archipelago/

Further readingEdit

  • Akane Kawakami, "Walking Underground: Two Francophone Flâneurs in Twenty-First-Century Tokyo", L'Esprit créateur, Volume 56, Number 3, Fall 2016, Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 120–133.
  • Martin Munro, 'The Elsewhere and the Overseas in Michaël Ferrier's Mémoires d'outre-mer', Critical Review of French Contemporary Fixxion, Number 16, edited by Charles Forsdick, Anna-Louise Milne and Jean-Marc Moura, 2018.
  • Oana Sabo, The Migrant Canon in Twenty-First-Century France Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018 (chapter 3, ‘CONSECRATION The Prix littéraire de la Porte Dorée and Its Migrant Archive’, pp. 97-126).
  • Hannah Holtzman, ‘Les Français ne savent pas où me mettre’: Placing Michaël Ferrier’s petits portraits from Japan, French Studies, Volume 73, Issue 4, October 2019, pp. 561–577.

External linksEdit