8 February 1959 |
|Genres||Novels, Short Stories|
|Notable work(s)||Bedtime Eyes, Trash|
Amy Yamada (山田 詠美 Yamada Eimi?) born February 8, 1959, is a popular but controversial contemporary Japanese writer who is most famous for her stories that address issues of sexuality, racism, and interracial marriage, topics not typically discussed openly in Japanese society.
Born in Tokyo as Futaba Yamada (山田 双葉 Yamada Futaba?), she lived in several places around Japan due to her father's job. This transient lifestyle forced her to confront issues of separation and bullying, issues that many of her protagonists also deal with.
According to her interview with the Japanese magazine Bungei, during middle school she was moved by African-American soul music and began to read any novels she could find written by black people, or featuring black people. She held a job in the Roppongi district of Tokyo, an area rich with foreigners.
After graduating from high school in 1977, she entered Meiji University's Literature Department, but dropped out before graduating. After a short stint writing and drawing manga, she began writing novels in 1980. Though her works garnered some attention, even receiving praise from Japanese literary critic Jun Eto (江藤淳 Eto Jun?), she only achieved widespread recognition in 1985, when Bedtime Eyes won the Bungei Prize. In writing Bedtime Eyes, Yamada drew upon her experiences with black people and black culture and combined them with the Japanese literary tradition.
In 1996, "Trash" was published in English translation by Kodansha International (translator: Sonya L. Johnson). In May 2006, three of Yamada's novellas (Bedtime Eyes 「ベッドタイム･アイズ」, The Piano Player's Fingers 「指の戯れ」 and Jesse 「ジェシーの背骨」) were published in English translation (translators: Yumi Gunji and Marc Jardine) as a single volume by St Martin's Press under the collective title Bedtime Eyes.
In Yamada's second collection of works, Jesse's Spine, Yamada depicts the experiences of a woman who is learning to adjust to life with her lover's child from another relationship. The writing style of this work has been compared to William Saroyan's novel, Papa You're Crazy. Through her depiction of the child's perspective on the world, her book was a critical success, earning her a nomination for the Akutagawa Prize for new authors. In her short novels Classroom for the Abandoned Dead, Afterschool Music, and I Can't Study, Yamada tackles the topics of childhood life, bullying, and school life. In an interview with Bungei Shunjū upon winning the Akutagawa Prize, Risa Wataya and Hitomi Kanehara named Yamada's Afterschool Music as one of their major influences, explaining that her works were one of the greatest depictions of modern Japan.
Bibliography of Major Works
- Bedtime Eyes (1985)
- : ベッドタイムアイズ (Beddotaimu Aizu)
- Jesse's Spine (1986)
- : ジェシーの背骨(Jeshī no Sebone)
- Soul Music Lovers Only (1987)
- : ソウル・ミュージック・ラバーズ・オンリー (Sōru Myūjikku Rabāzu Onrī)
- Classroom for the Abandoned Dead (1988)
- : 風葬の教室 (Fūsō no Kyōshitsu)
- Afterschool Music (1989)
- : 放課後の音符 (Hōkago no Kii Nooto)
- Trash (1991)
- : トラッシュ (Torasshu)
- I Can't Study (1993)
- : 僕は勉強ができない (Boku wa Benkyō ga Dekinai)
- 120% COOOL (1994)
- : 120%COOOL
- Animal Logic (1996)
- : アニマル・ロジック (Animaru Rojikku)
- 4U (1997)
- : 4U
- MAGNET (1999)
- : MAGNET
- A2Z (2003)
- : A2Z
- PAY DAY! (2003)
- : PAY DAY!
- 1985 Bungei Prize---Bedtime Eyes (Beddotaimu Aizu, ベッドタイムアイズ)
- 1987 Naoki Prize---Soul Music Lovers Only (Sōru Myūjikku Rabāzu Onrī, ソウル・ミュージック・ラバーズ・オンリー)
- 1989 Hirabayashi Taiko Bungaku Prize ---Classroom for the Abandoned Dead (Fūsō no Kyōshitsu, 風葬の教室 )
- 1991 Jyoryū Bungaku Prize---Trash (Torasshu, トラッシュ)
- 1996 Izumi Kyōka Prize for Literature---Animal Logic (Animaru Rojikku, アニマル・ロジック)
- 2000 Yomiuri Prize---A2Z
- 2005 Tanizaki Prize---Wonderful Flavor (Fūmizekka, 風味絶佳)
- Kelsky, Karen (1996). "Flirting with the Foreign: Interracial sex in Japan's "International Age"". In Wilson, Rob. Global Local: cultural production and the transnational imaginary. North Carolina, United States: Duke University Press. pp. 173–192. ISBN 0822317125.
- Marling, William H. (2006). How "American" Is Globalization?. Maryland, United States: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 98. ISBN 0-8018-8353-9.
- Jewel, Mark. "The Japanese Literature Home Page". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-09.